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Incubating Engineers, Hatching Design Thinkers: Mechanical Engineering Students Learning Design Through Ambidextrous Ways Of Thinking

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Creativity and Innovation in Engineering Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

15.726.1 - 15.726.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16990

Download Count

169

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Paper Authors

biography

Micah Lande Stanford University

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Micah Lande is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering and Design at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. He is researching how engineers learn and apply a design process to their work. Micah is a co-Editor-in-Chief of Ambidextrous, Stanford University's Journal in Design. His academic interests include design and engineering education, design thinking and foresight thinking, creativity and innovation, and interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity in higher education. Micah has a B.S in Engineering from Stanford's Product Design program and has a M.A. in Education from the Stanford School of Education program in Learning, Design and Technology.

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biography

Larry Leifer Stanford University

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Larry Leifer is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering Design and founding Director of the Center for Design Research (CDR) at Stanford University. A member of the faculty since 1976, he teaches the industry sponsored master's course ME310, "Global Project-Based Engineering Design, Innovation, and Development;" a thesis seminar, "Design Theory and Methodology Forum;" and a freshman seminar "Designing the Human Experience." Research themes include: 1) creating collaborative engineering design environments for distributed product innovation teams; 2) instrumentation of that environment for design knowledge capture, indexing, reuse, and performance assessment; and 3), design-for-sustainable-wellbeing. His top development priority in the moment is the Hasso Plattner Design-Thinking-Research Program and associated "Electronic Colloquium on Design Thinking Research," a peer commentary journal.

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

Incubating Engineers, Hatching Design Thinkers: Mechanical Engineering Students Learning Design Through Ambidextrous Ways of Thinking

Abstract

Design Thinking and Engineering Thinking are complimentary yet distinct aspects of mechanical engineering design activities. This paper examines these distinctions in the context of mechanical engineering students designing in a project-based learning course at Stanford University. By qualitatively analyzing and plotting student teams’ prototyping activities, the students’ work patterns can generally be assessed along a framework of Ambidextrous Ways of Thinking.

Introduction

Innovation is a difficult challenge. Today, in technology product development, it often takes many players from many areas (business, engineering, etc.) working together to create something anew. Along the way, competing voices and values often surface from groups and individuals borne from their disciplinary and epistemic roots. The best equipped can navigate safely among these political issues.

This paper focuses on mechanical engineering design, and, in particular, Design Thinking and Engineering Thinking and how these activities may be distinguished. Design Thinking and Engineering Thinking are both vital aspects of mechanical engineering design activities and serve as underlying practices for doing and teaching innovation.

A theoretical framework relating these concepts and some findings are presented from empirical observations of what Design Thinking and Engineering Thinking activities look like in Mechanical Engineering 310 Global Team-Based Design Innovation, a year-long, project-based learning course at Stanford University, where graduate mechanical engineering students model industry work practice.

Distinctions between the Design Thinking and Engineering Thinking mindsets will be proposed and catalysts for mechanical engineering students learning design thinking will be presented. The implications herein point to educational benefits to mechanical engineering students developing judgment through an ambidextrous navigation of Design Thinking and Engineering Thinking activities.

Ambidextrous Ways of Thinking Framework

Previous efforts by the authors to classify student activities have produced this working framework modeling Ambidextrous Ways of Thinking 1 as accessed by mechanical engineering design students. As shown in Figure 1, it is visually represented as a matrix showing relative position of Design Thinking 2, Engineering Thinking 3 4, Production Thinking 5, and Future Thinking.6 Along the Y-axis is a spectrum from incremental innovation to breakthrough innovation.7 Along the X-axis it is measured in time, from short-term to long-term. The activity

Lande, M., & Leifer, L. (2010, June), Incubating Engineers, Hatching Design Thinkers: Mechanical Engineering Students Learning Design Through Ambidextrous Ways Of Thinking Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16990

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015