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Crises Stimulate Opportunities

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TJ McDermott
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Developing depth requires the basics
TJ McDermott   10/1/2013 10:57:22 AM
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To develop the engineering depth described in the article, to develop the multidisciplinary engineering groups, the basics need to be be taught and learned first.  There's no getting around that.

Engineering students MUST learn mechanics and dynamics, strength of materials, electrical theory before they can even begin to be useful.  There must be a solid foundation on which to build.

Rob Spiegel
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Name a problem -- then solve it
Rob Spiegel   10/1/2013 11:00:14 AM
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Interesting article, Kevin. I think the first step if meeting the challenge to create a sustainable future is to break down needs into specific problems. The Bill and Melinda Foundation did a good job of this when they challoenged the engineering community to come up with a waterless toilet. The challenge worked -- in part because it was so specific. Here's some info: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/bill-and-melinda-gates-fo_n_1783013.html

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Disruptive vs. Incremental Solutions
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/1/2013 12:46:08 PM
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When Patents are granted -- one of the most barometric scales for indication of novelty -- the "grant" usually is "incremental" over an existing known process or method.  In sharp contrast, disruptive solutions are called disruptive for a good reason.  "Disruptive" burns-down those Silos you mentioned and upsets the apple-carts. "Disruptive" unseats long-standing leaders, and even topples industry giants. I attended a MAYA seminar a few years ago, and embrace most of the concepts and teachings.  Unfortunately, I found them to be intuitive and obvious.  The unfortunate part is that for 99% of people, they are NOT intuitive and obvious.  So, one big opportunity will be to introduce Human-Factors Engineering into Curriculums.  I believe this would be a great enabler of your intended long-term goal implied by the article.

naperlou
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Re: Developing depth requires the basics
naperlou   10/1/2013 1:29:45 PM
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TJ, I have to agree with you.  I am in the second round of the college search.  My younger one is looking at computer science and computer or electrical engineering.  My older one started in aerospace engineering and has since gone to compter science, and is now starting a first job.

One thing I have noticed is that many schools teach basically the same curriculum for the first two years and then students can choose their major without taking more than the usual four years.  Of course, there are schools that do not do this, or that make it hard to change.  I do agree, though, with the need for a common core background in engineering.  I also think that a model based (or system engineering) approach is critical for moving forward.  In the aerospace business projects were staffed by just such multidisciplinary teams as Kevin mentions.  Stretching across this was a systems engineering function, with a very strong methodology in my experience.  This should be taught to all students, along with the industry tools used to realize it.  Using tools does not mean not learning the theory, though. 

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