Paper at SEFI-Conference 2018

At the SEFI-Conference in Copenhagen I presented a paper with the title "Creative Heuristics in Engineering Education". The paper also appeared in the Proceedings of the conference. Here is the abstract:


Creativity is one of the key skills of the 21st century in engineering. However, many current curricula in engineering education do not adequately incorporate creativity. If creativity is taught in engineering, the focus is usually on creativity techniques. Creativity techniques are either too broad for engineering problems and mainly rely on association (e.g. brainstorming) or are focused on invention, but very complicated and hard to learn (e.g. TRIZ). The paper proposes the use of heuristics containing process rules, as they are useful in highly uncertain environments, easy to learn and provide direction and instruction for engineers. The focus is on functional creativity for engineered products. Functional creativity usually starts with a specific problem (insight or inventive problem) and leads to products with a useful purpose. That means that functional creativity puts a stronger weight on usefulness than on originality, as in a typical industrial setting. A literature analysis of existing frameworks in creative problem solving and insight psychology is conducted to find the main heuristic principles of creative problem solving. Moreover, a meta-analysis of existing collections of heuristics in invention from historical analysis, inventor insights or principles underlying creativity techniques provides useful creative heuristics. As a result, the paper develops a framework for creative heuristics in engineering with four main principles. The framework contains a collection of creative heuristics in engineering allocated to the main principles and can be used in engineering education to support students in inventive projects. A first test in a master course elicited positive feedback.


The paper can be found on Researchgate: