Changing Mindsets, Improving Creativity and Innovation in Engineering Education

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Berglund, Anders; Klasén, Ida; Hansson, Mats; Grimheden, Martin
Series: E&PDE
Section: Creativity in Design Education
Page(s): 121-126


Universities need to reconfigure and rethink existing engineering beliefs in order to keep promoting students that can target and capitalize on tomorrow’s opportunities. This put pressure on promoting the best possible Engineering Education, which means continuant upgrades and revisions to existing curricula’s and faculties’ pedagogical methods and processes. This paper summarizes the experiences and lessons learned from a nationwide initiative to rethink and redesign existing engineering programs towards more traceable innovative practices.

The Swedish Product Innovation Engineering Program (PIEp) and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in particular have a long tradition of successful exchanges involving research and education. PIEp is committed to a system change towards innovation and entrepreneurship in institutes of higher education and research. From PIEp an organized network of senior researchers, PhD students, lecturers and students is seen as the seed for this change. Activities are conducted in three areas; research in product innovation, education for product innovation and industrial collaboration for product innovation. Turning away from one-timer and mere embryonic attempts, PIEp visions a systems shift through long term dedication to influence higher engineering education curricula design.

KTH is currently performing a revision of all engineering program to fit the European Bologna higher education restructuring process. Encompassing both undergraduate and master level studies, the integration of engineering syllabus imperatives strive to converge with the internationally recognized CDIO standards and the new Swedish national degree specifications. The paper aims to summarize the initiative provided between PIEp, KTH and Stanford to stimulate Swedish Engineering faculty to embrace methods and tools for integrating creativity and innovation. Ultimately, building on the long experiences of successful workshops held by PIEp and KTH the overall ambition is to establish a change in mindsets, and by so influencing key participants to directly leave endurable footprints onto their respective Swedish Engineering Education Program.

The paper has a descriptive character blending ‘best-of-both-worlds’ concepts as it reveals how a nationwide initiative has set up a learning hub overseas together with Stanford University. Utilizing this source of entrepreneurial and inspiring environment the ambition is to equip Swedish faculty with experiences, success stories, lessons learned, personal opinions, to provoke and challenge existing program and curricula design. In summary, the full paper version entails the set-up, reflections and actions outline by Swedish university representatives to address implementation of more transferability between innovation characteristics in respective education programs.

Keywords: Product Innovation Engineering, Curricula, Course Program, Redesign, Creativity


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