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Improving Innovation By Enhancing Creative Capabilities In Electrical And Computer Engineering Technology Students

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Design in the ECE Curriculum

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.698.1 - 15.698.10



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Paper Authors

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Jeffrey Richardson Purdue University

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Leslie Reed Reed Environmental

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Improving Innovation by Enhancing Creative Capabilities in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology


This project evolved from an existing research effort in electrical and computer engineering technology in which the gap between the creative capabilities students brought to bear when solving technological problems, and the level of creativity demonstrated in a capstone design project, was explored. The original study was largely exploratory and was designed to measure broad influences on creative behavior in a technological project management environment. Continuing that effort, the current project involved the development and implementation of a series of lectures and skill sessions designed to assist students in developing creative capabilities in an electrical and computer engineering technology project management course. The project was designed to assist students develop more innovative ideas for capstone design projects.


The evolutionary and diffusive nature of modern technology suggests that most challenges, opportunities and problems in 21st century life will have strong technological components. A powerful tool for generating value in the global economy and capitalizing on rapid technological advancement is the process of innovation where creative ideas are put into action through the development, adoption and implementation of new or significantly improved ideas, goods, services, processes or practices that are useful in some way1. An organization with broadly distributed innovation capabilities, including tangible resources, such as financial and physical assets; intangible resources, such as brand and reputation; and human-based resources, such as knowledge, skills and capabilities, is well-positioned to meet the challenges of the 21st century business environment2.

Creative capabilities, a subset of human resources, are defined for the purpose of the research as individual skills, abilities and behaviors necessary for an individual to participate in creative work in a given domain. Every individual has a preferred locus of creative work and brings to that work a unique set of creative capabilities and personal histories that influence their interaction with the innovation process3. The human element is the most powerful and elusive force in the process of innovation, and it is theorized that all individuals have the potential to be more creative; that creative capabilities can be supported through more focused, systematic and deliberate educational efforts; and that maximum benefit will be obtained if efforts to enhance creative capabilities are grounded in a given domain4.

Technology educators must provide technology content knowledge and technical tool skills to prepare students for the highly technological job market. It is equally important, however, to provide students with the opportunity to learn adaptive and innovative approaches to problem solving in technology5. Creativity as an outcome is ultimately judged by the novelty, effectiveness, and elegance of the products generated and it is only through reference to these products that society labels ideas, processes and products as creative. The judgment of creativity

Richardson, J., & Reed, L. (2010, June), Improving Innovation By Enhancing Creative Capabilities In Electrical And Computer Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16626

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