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A Half Brain is Good: A Whole Brain is Much Better

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Android TA: Course Automation and the Fate of the Professor

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.55.1 - 25.55.21



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Paper Authors


Stuart G. Walesh P.E. S. G. Walesh Consulting

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Stuart G. Walesh, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, D.WRE, and F.NSPE, is an independent consultant providing management, engineering, education/training, and marketing services. Prior to beginning his consultancy, he worked in the public, private, and academic sectors serving as a Project Engineer and Manager, Department Head, Discipline Manager, marketer, legal expert, professor, and Dean of an engineering college. Walesh authored or co-authored six books and many engineering and education publications and presentations. His most recent book is Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, a text and reference book, published by Wiley and ASCE Press. Walesh facilitated and/or made presentations at several hundred workshops, seminars, classes, webinars, and meetings throughout the U.S. and internationally. Over the past decade, Walesh has been active in the effort to reform the education and early experience of engineers.

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference; San Antonio, Texas; June 10-13, 2012 A Half Brain is Good: A Whole Brain Much BetterThis paper asserts that engineers could be more creative and innovative, argues that theyshould be more creative and innovative, and offers ideas on how to enable them to bemore creative and innovative. Views of various futurists are used to argue the world isexperiencing a shift from the knowledge age, with its left-brain foundation, to otherpossibilities such as the conceptual, opportunity, and wicked problems ages which alsorequire strong right-brain capabilities.The commonality among various future scenarios is the need for whole-brain thinking.Maintaining U.S. global leadership, enhancing national security, and achieving personaland organizational success will increasingly require right-brain individual and groupqualities such as adaptability, collaboration, creativity, empathy, entrepreneurship,innovation, synthesis, and visualization to supplement strong left-brain capabilities.After offering a brief brain primer, the paper introduces tools and techniques whichrecognize that, while creative and innovative ideas lie within most of us, we needmechanisms to release them within individuals and groups. Many methods are identifiedand some are illustrated. The presentation concludes with ideas on how creativity andinnovation knowledge, skills, and attitudes might be introduced to engineering students.

Walesh, S. G. (2012, June), A Half Brain is Good: A Whole Brain is Much Better Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20815

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