June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
26.1650.1 - 26.1650.22
Using a Delphi Study to Confirm the Characteristics of an Engineering InnovatorFew empirical studies describe the individual behavioral characteristics that leadto discovery and implementation of innovations. Even fewer studies focus oninnovative behavior by engineers. Corporate engineering managers andengineering faculty as well as society as a whole are concerned about usinginnovations as a strategy for maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. companiesand encouraging innovative behavior in the professional development ofpracticing engineers. However, societal confusion exists about the definition ofan innovation, the process of producing an innovation and the behavior requiredto be successful as an innovator and an engineer.After spending two years interviewing over 50 engineering innovators about theirexperiences as an innovator, we identified, from qualitatively analyzing theinterviewee data, twenty unique characteristics of engineers who havedemonstrated extraordinary innovative behavior. We then initiated a ModifiedDelphi Study with 150 engineering innovators drawn from academic, corporate,and entrepreneurial organizations to examine the complex constructs associatedwith engineering innovativeness. Delphi Study participants were nominated asextraordinary engineering innovators from large, medium and small firms; frommany different types of engineering activities or professional classifications; andhad experienced all of the different phases of the innovation process.A Delphi Study is a social-constructivist approach to achieving consensusamong experts with diverse perspectives. Data is collected through a series ofanonymous structured surveys and then is shared with those experts. Typically,Delphi studies start with an open-ended survey to have the experts define theproblem subject. In our case we seeded the initial Delphi survey with the 20characteristics identified from our prior research and this type of Delphi Study isreferred to as a Modified Delphi Study.This paper discusses our Modified Delphi Study methodology and the analysisprocess executed for the first survey round. In this first survey in addition toranking the importance of the characteristics and their agreement with theexisting characteristic definition, Delphi Study participants provided over 600comments to help us clarify the characteristic definitions. The final result wassignificantly improved characteristic definitions and a confirmation that thecharacteristics developed from our interviews with engineering innovators wereunique. Finally we will discuss the next steps in our engineering innovativenessresearch.
Ferguson, D. M., & Jablokow, K. W., & Ohland, M. W., & Purzer, S., & Menold, J. D. (2015, June), Using a Delphi Study to Confirm the Characteristics of an Engineering Innovator Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24986
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: © 2015 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