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Evaluating Innovations from a Critical Thinking Approach

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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


Sarah Jane Grigg Clemson University

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Dr. Sarah Grigg is a senior lecturer in General Engineering at Clemson University. She is a human factors design engineer specializing in process improvement and error mitigation across various contexts including engineering education, healthcare, and transportation. She received Ph.D., M.S. and B.S. degrees in Industrial Engineering, a Certificate in Engineering Education, and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Clemson University.

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One strategic initiative at Clemson University is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among faculty and students. One of the channels for introducing students to innovation and entrepreneurship at Clemson University is a course offered through the General Engineering program, ENGR 2200: Evaluating Innovations: Fixtures, Fads, and Flops. This general education course was designed to actively engage students in deep thinking about the relationships between innovation and society. The goals of this class are two-fold: 1) students gain an understanding of how societal and technological trends drive innovation, and 2) students learn and apply critical thinking techniques to critically analyze the impact of innovations on society and identify opportunities for innovation. The course content introduces engineering students to foundational theories of innovation, product development, and consumer behavior which are used to analyze the success of consumer products and other technological innovations. A SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Activities for Large-Enrollment Undergraduate Programs) environment is utilized in this course. SCALE-UP is a highly collaborative, hands-on classroom format where the primary emphasis is on learning by guided inquiry rather than by traditional lecturing. Student engagement is fostered using this approach as students are able to work together in small groups to uncover their own thought and biases before discussing difficult or controversial topics surrounding engineering innovation with the class as a whole. While the course is taught specifically with engineering design in mind, the course has attracted students from varying majors which has fostered collaboration and creativity in idea generation. The combination of critical thinking methodology with innovation concepts has led students to not only expand their knowledge of potential applications of engineering, but has lead several students to initiate communication with faculty members regarding their ideas for research opportunities, innovation competitions, and initiated their own projects via applying for University Innovation Fellows program.

Grigg, S. J. (2018, June), Evaluating Innovations from a Critical Thinking Approach Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30445

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