San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Engineering Technology and Graduate Studies
25.217.1 - 25.217.13
Assessing the Applicability of Technology Studies through an Examination of Innovation, the Systems Integration Model and Systems Integrator RoleThis paper will examine the role of a major tier 1 research university in defining and developingthe 21st Century Technologist through graduate technology studies. To assess the role oftechnology studies, and the attendant definition and development of the 21st CenturyTechnologist, requires an understanding of innovation, the systems integration model and therole of the systems integrator. This paper, therefore, will examine a model for, and a definitionof, innovation, the innovation process, the systems integration model (both general and functionspecific) and its connection to the innovation process, and, the role of the systems integrator.Technology and the process of creating it, innovation, is moving at a thunderous pace throughoutworld societies. Our rate of technological advancements dwarfs any previous period in ourworld history. It is nearly inconceivable what will be created next, as organizations small andlarge are busily working to create the next iPhone, robotic life-like animal, electric car, clonedDNA structure, or, death ray.What is innovation? Is there a process to follow for innovation? How do you measure thesuccess of following an innovation process? If innovation is a process, then it possesses multipleactivities with attendant products as output of the process. To a large extent, innovation and themanifestation of the innovation process is intrinsically interconnected to the role of the systemsintegrator. Systems integration is the higher level of cognitive understanding of the manyseparate, yet highly related disciplines/functions of a product or service. The basic element ofsuccessful systems integration is the vision of interrelatedness of these many attendantknowledge domains; vision, that acts as the common thread through the innovation process. Theevolution of this concept resides between the philosophical underpinnings of leadership andinnovation, and, the tactical realities of curriculum design, development and implementation.To fully appreciate the value of our world’s collective knowledge in advancing U.S. innovation,we must first accept a definition of technology and innovation; one that stands aside from that ofscience and engineering. To truly have a discipline, there must be a body of knowledge.Technology leadership is no different. But what does it mean to have a discipline in technologyleadership? What would the basic body of knowledge in technology leadership look like?Systems Integration, as a discipline, is well founded in industry and exists at many levels. Tothis end, the tactical implementation with courses and curriculum implications is hinged on astrategic decision of which level of systems integration one is most interested in pursuing;namely, discipline-specific systems integration (e.g. software systems integration), or, the higherlevel systems integration function (systems integration).If one chooses the path of a discipline-specific systems integrator, then the core curriculum willbe domain-specific and offer courses as an umbrella which provides systems integrationknowledge. If, on the other hand, the strategic interest is to educate graduates in whole systemsintegration, then we would want to pull together into a single curriculum those related disciplineswithin the college or university.
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