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Beyond Problem Solving to Creating Value: A Priority for Engineering Educators

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

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Paper Authors


William A. Kline Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Bill Kline is Professor of Engineering Management and Associate Dean of Innovation at Rose-Hulman. His teaching and professional interests include systems engineering, quality, manufacturing systems, innovation, and entrepreneurship. As Associate Dean, he directs the Branam Innovation Center which houses campus competition teams, maker club, and projects.

He is currently an associate with IOI Partners, a consulting venture focused on innovation tools and systems. Prior to joining Rose-Hulman, he was a company co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Montronix, a company in the global machine monitoring industry.

Bill is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Illinois College and a Bronze Tablet graduate of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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Douglas E. Melton Kern Family Foundation Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Douglas Melton is a program director for the Kern Family Foundation and works with the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) which has partner institutions who are developing educational experiences to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in their undergraduate engineering students. Doug Melton served as a faculty member for seventeen years within the department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. There, he also served as the program director for Entrepreneurship Across the University. Prior, Doug was the Director of Research & Development for Digisonix Incorporated. His disciplinary specializations include signal processing, acoustics, and wireless communications.

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The increasing complexity of the challenges facing our society and world suggest that engineering graduates must be outstanding problem solvers, designers, and value creators in a variety of business and social settings. While being a good designer is a hallmark trait of an engineer, current approaches to teaching and practicing design need improvement as 40% (or more) of products introduced to the marketplace fail to find success.

Engineering education often focuses on the quantitative skills of problem solving yet solutions to many of the most challenging problems require higher level design, entrepreneurial mindset, and value creation skills. The designs and systems created must solve technical problems and provide benefit to a variety of stakeholders who may have broad interests in financial, social, and environmental outcomes.

The priority for engineering educators becomes developing and teaching a design approach that educates students in this broader mindset and skillset of technical problem solving, design, and value creation. The approach must be comprehensive and scalable to tackle the most challenging and complex problems yet also manageable by undergraduate engineering students. Recent work has developed a systems-based approach for design that combines a focus on design process and information and an emphasis on value creation. The value creation mindset focuses on stakeholders, features, and series of views to represent the designed system or product.

This paper reports on recent work on concepts of value and a design approaches focused on creating successful products and systems. Examples of new product development and analysis of unsuccessful products are provided. The paper proposes a framework for future work including developing and assessing several aspects of a methodology to improve results in design, problem solving, and creating value.

Kline, W. A., & Melton, D. E. (2018, June), Beyond Problem Solving to Creating Value: A Priority for Engineering Educators Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29848

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