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Teaching The "How" Of Engineering Innovation

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Entrepreneurship to Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1101.1 - 7.1101.10



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Paper Authors

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William Cockayne

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John Feland

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Larry Leifer

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

Main Menu Session 2002-1817

Teaching the “How” of Engineering Innovation

William R. Cockayne, John M. Feland III, Larry Leifer Center for Design Research, Stanford University

Innovative capacity is a function of ‘knowledge how’, not ‘knowledge 1 what’. In order to create greater value for society, the engineer of the 21 st Century needs to build on the traditional content-driven education by becoming fluent in multiple disciplines. Drawing on expertise from multiple fields will enable today’s engineer to become society’s cultivator and harvester of innovations. This pandisciplinary approach is critical in identifying and defining innovative solutions, which are historically discovered at the intersection of disciplines. The “pangineer” – or pandisciplinary engineer – is already at work in the field of smart product design, which integrates a range of disciplines including electronics, mechanics, product design and software. Moreover, the panengineer is leading society in the discovery and application of next generation biotechnology, nanotechnology and alternative energy products.

Energy Nano


Figure 1. Interdisciplinary Innovation – The greatest innovations occur at the intersection of domains.

Any discussion of the pangineer must begin with the current education of engineers. Traditional engineering education has typically presented content knowledge across multiple disciplines; however, to prepare students for modern challenges, the modern education system must now focus on delivering the context across and between the these content areas.

Knowledge how, or know-how, has always existed in engineering learning and practice. A common example recalled fondly by today’s practicing engineers are project-based classes, such as capstone design courses for Mechanical Design engineers. Such classes Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Cockayne, W., & Feland, J., & Leifer, L. (2002, June), Teaching The "How" Of Engineering Innovation Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10543

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