The idea of biomimicry is a very timely one. We've seen a lot of biomimicry-based innovation on this web site, in the form of robots that mimic biological life forms. More recently, I've often heard it said that customers can be a good resource for innovation, if the customers are correctly trained to help the design engineers.
Joseph, I enjoyed your article and appreciate the three methods that you touched on. However, I was a bit confused regarding the use of "brainstorming" and "approaches to brainstorming" as to me, they seem quite similar. Could you please provide a good working definition of brainstorming as it pertains to your article? I think that would clarify it for me - thanks!
What does TRIZ stand for, is it an acronym? Whatever path you take for inspiration in a design is a good way. Unlike Edison, I say calculate and simulate is the best way to go. Never try the "10,000 things that don't work" first.
Brainstorming generally refers to an unfettered flow of ideas, with quantity being more important than quality. The thought is that many ideas will result in one or more good ones, and the concern is that the ideas should not be evaluated or critiqued during the brainstorming session as this might tend to slow the flow.
One of the disadvantages of brainstorming is that the conversation can go off on a tangent. The other approaches suggested here tend to focus the brainstorming in particular areas, generally resulting in more useable suggestions.
All of this is explained in more detail in Unleashing Engineering Creativity, and we'll touch on it during our Weblive training session on 25 April at noon Eastern time. You can sign up for the course for free at www.eogogics.com. I hope to see you there.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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