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The Innovation Competencies - Implications for Educating the Engineer of the Future

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

The Nature of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Session 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1230.1 - 24.1230.29



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Paper Authors


William A. Kline Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Bill Kline is Dean of Innovation and Engagement and Professor of Engineering Management at Rose-Hulman. He joined Rose-Hulman in 2001 and his teaching and professional interests include systems engineering, design, quality, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Prior to joining Rose-Hulman, his industry experience includes roles as cofounder and Chief Operating Officer at Montronix and development manager at Kennametal.

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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William D. Schindel ICTT System Sciences

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William D. Schindel is president of ICTT System Sciences, a systems engineering company, and developer of the Systematica Methodology for model and pattern-based systems engineering. His 40-year engineering career began in mil/aero systems with IBM Federal Systems, Owego, NY, included service as a faculty member of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and founding of three commercial systems-based enterprises. He has consulted on improvement of engineering processes within automotive, medical/health care, manufacturing, telecommunications, aerospace, and consumer products businesses. Schindel earned the BS and MS in Mathematics.

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The Innovation Competencies – Implications for Educating the Engineer of the FutureInnovation consistently ranks among the top strategic priorities for corporations. A recentBoston Consulting Group survey indicates that more than three-quarters of respondents placed itas either number one or among the top three strategic priorities for their organization. Theseresults continue a trend of the last several years and suggest that engineering graduates must beprepared to be skilled innovators and leaders in order to be successful in the technical workplaceof today and the future.Recent work has reported on defining the innovation competencies including an organizingframework, individual competency definitions, and associated rubrics being exercised in ourinstitution to educate future innovators. The innovation competencies for a technicalenvironment include competencies in a discipline, discovery competencies, and systemscompetencies. This work defined the educational outcomes sought but not how to achieve them.This paper focuses on the types of educational processes most appropriate to achieving thoseoutcomes. It proposes that the innovation competencies are best taught to and learned bystudents through a new and rebalanced combination of the teaching of content and an expandedconcept of experiences.Current practices suggest that engineering graduates must be proficient at both technical andprofessional skills with courses delivering content playing a central role in the educationalprocess. Experiential learning and including experiences in the educational process or are also awell-established practices but are often used to assist with mastery of content or are optional co-curricular experiences.This paper proposes that an expanded concept of experiences is required to educate students inthe innovation competencies. Characteristics and examples of these expanded experiences arepresented in the paper. These experiences must be carefully crafted to be team based, focus onexploration and experimentation, and must include interaction with multiple external systems.These concepts have implications for both educators and business leaders in developinginnovation competencies in both graduates and engineering professionals.

Kline, W. A., & Schindel, W. D. (2014, June), The Innovation Competencies - Implications for Educating the Engineer of the Future Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23163

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