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The Creativity Imperative and the Technology Professonal of the Future (TPOTF)

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We live in a creative era, but engineering and technology education, generally, is locked in a cold war time warp. Ths presentation considers the history of the current paradigm, why it must change, …

We live in a creative era, but engineering and technology education, generally, is locked in a cold war time warp. Ths presentation considers the history of the current paradigm, why it must change, and provides six suggestions of how to change.

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  • 1. The Creativity Imperative & the Technology Professional of the Future (TPOTF) David E. Goldberg Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Illinois 61801 USA [email_address]
  • 2. History, Logic, and Transformation
    • Times are fast paced and scary; many calls for reform.
    • An engineer/techie’s two passions: action & logic.
    • Action without adequate framework in times of change may not serve well.
    • Need reflection on history and assumptions of the engineering/tech academic enterprise.
    • Agree on framework  passion for logic leads in common direction.
    • How’d we get here, where is here, & some thoughts on the tech pro of the future (TPOTF)
  • 3. Roadmap
    • The world is flat & all that.
    • Cold war (CW) curriculum in internet world?
    • Kuhn, paradigms, and the CW engineer
    • The academy & 3 missed revolutions.
    • Technoeconomics behind the revolutions.
    • A landscape of Os: 3 Os and the missing O.
    • Postmodern systems & the qual-quant divide.
    • 2 frameworks: Pink & Illinois TV research.
    • 6 thoughts on the TPOTF.
  • 4. The World is Flat & All That
    • Widely asserted that world is flat and returns to creativity are increasing.
    • For example:
      • Tom Friedman, The World is Flat.
      • Richard Florida, Rise of the Creative Class.
      • Dan Pink, A Whole New Mind.
    • Implications of past and present for TPOTF.
  • 5. Myth & Embrace of Science
    • World War 2 myth: Science won the war (bomb/radar).
    • World War 2 reality: Engineering won the war (P-51, Liberty ship, engineering, manufacturing, logistical prowess).
    • Liberty Ships: 16 shipbuilding yards, 230 days down to 42 days each, 2751 made
    • See DEG 1996 article Change in Engineering Education.
    • Effect on academy profound.
    • Computer science chose to call itself a “science.”
  • 6. Cold War Curriculum in Internet World?
    • Post WW2, US was only major nation not devastated by war.
    • US actions influential beyond borders.
    • In final days of the Vannevar Bush era.
    • Headed US wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development.
    • Report, The Endless Frontier, set stage for NSF and ongoing funding of scientific research.
    • Curriculum, funding, P&T, and institution adapted to this change.
    Vannevar Bush (1890-1974)
  • 7. Bigger & Centralized was Better
    • WW2/CW organizations were big and centralized.
    • Economies of scale dominated organizational economics.
    • Hierarchy dominated organizational thought.
    • Universities followed suit, funded in part from new stream of research monies & new imperative to pursue same.
  • 8. Papers, Proposals, & Grants (PPGs)
    • Tech academy sought stature & influence through applied science.
    • Aped the basic sciences.
    • Tech faculty judged by PPGs: papers, proposals, & grants.
    • Two effects:
      • Short term : New source marginal revenue.
      • Long term : Disconnected from practice & marginalized in academy.
    • Contrast: B-schools seek stature in arena of practice— the business community .
  • 9. Thomas Kuhn & Paradigms
    • Widespread use of term “paradigm” traces to Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962.
    • Argued that science proceeds in fits and starts, not gradually.
    • Old paradigms, ways of thinking about the world, are overturned by revolutions, not gradually.
    Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996)
  • 10. Paradigm of Tech Academy
    • The following assumptions were/are sacrosanct in many universities:
      • Basic engineering science is the key to college success.
      • Government funds superior to industry or foundation funds.
      • Faculty demonstrate mettle as individuals in narrow specialty with peer-reviewed journal papers in top journals.
    • Question one of these  incredulous stare, derision, and ridicule.
    • These beliefs are not themselves scientific.
    • They are a paradigm or a mindset that appeared to be successful in the 50s and 60s.
    • Example: Defense of “the basics” is defense of paradigm.
  • 11. Function & Dysfunction of Paradigms
    • Paradigms are helpful because they become an unquestioned habit:
      • Masses work under the paradigm without question.
      • Share its values and form cohesive, unified organization.
    • When times change, paradigm is THE major obstruction to change.
    • The paradigm was major contributor to success of many universities in 1960s and 70s.
    • Now a major obstacle to change.
    • Tech academy victim of its past success.
    Copyright © 2007 by David E. Goldberg
  • 12. The Missed Revolutions
    • The paradigm was OK for WW2 & Cold War.
    • Slow to adapt to external changes thereafter.
    • Missed revolutions since WW2:
      • Quality revolution.
      • Entrepreneurial revolution.
      • IT revolution.
    • Teach the “revolutions,” but do not integrate lessons into academy or curriculum.
  • 13. A Technoeconomic Framework
    • Place revolutions in framework of underlying causes.
    • Missed revolutions enabled by technoeconomic effects:
      • Transport and communication improvements.
      • Network effects.
      • Transaction costs.
    • Puts past in perspective & project future trends.
    Karl Mark (1818-1883)
  • 14. Using the Free Market not Free!
    • Why has change been so relentless over past 50 years?
    • In institutional economics, a major determinant of organization size & structure are transaction costs.
    • Using the free market is not free.
    • Communication and transportation innovation reduce transaction costs.
    • Mantra “stick to core competence” is reaction to Xcost reduction.
    Ronald H. Coase (b. 1910)
  • 15. Arthur & Network Returns
    • Reduced X-costs -> small is good:
      • Outsourcing
      • Sticking to core competence as mantra.
    • Countervailing force: network returns:
      • Telecommunications.
      • Operating systems.
      • Interoperable search/advertising networks.
      • Big is better.
    Copyright © 2007 by David E. Goldberg W. Brian Arthur
  • 16. The Landscape of Os
    • The O’s as “hot” areas in 21 st century:
      • Bi O
      • Nan O
      • Inf O
    • First two are different than the third: Science push, easy for cold warriors.
    • Info is customer pull.
    • Suggests the missing O.
  • 17. The Missing O
    • Radically networked world is having profound cultural effects.
    • Postmodern systems engineering demands better understanding of HomO sapiens (let’s call it SociO).
    • Homo sapiens as engineering concern:
      • QC: design for homo sapiens (HS).
      • Postmodern systems:
        • HS-centered design: IT systems
        • Design a HS: engineered
        • Design like HS: Computational intelligence
    • Homo sapiens as actor, object, and collective.
  • 18. Humans as Error in the Loop
    • During the Cold War, humans were viewed as an obstacle to the proper functioning of a system.
    • Tom Wolfe’s, The Right Stuff, plot: engineers vs pilots.
    • Cold War: Humans are error in the loop.
    • Postmodern: Humans are the loop
  • 19. Soci O : Tech Pull, Humanities Push
    • Qual-quant socioknowledge gap an invitation to engineers.
    • New human-centered design requires transfer from humanities, social sciences, & arts.
    • Requires reassessment of engineering canon in areas touching systems and socio.
    • Invites new knowledge through tech pull & humanities push .
  • 20. TPOTF: How to Create One?
    • Where should we turn to create TP of the future?
    • Beyond Engineer of 2020 .
    • Consider two frameworks:
      • Dan Pink.
      • Illinois tech visionary (TV) research.
    • Category creators and how to create them.
  • 21. Category Creators v. Enhancers
    • Premium is on category creators —those who creates new categories of product and service.
    • This requires different skill set.
    • Right-brained thinking: integrative, creative, intuitive.
    • MFA + Engineer vs. MBA + Engineer.
  • 22. 6 Senses (Skills) for WNM
    • Design : Beyond function to meaning.
    • Story : Beyond data to narrative.
    • Symphony : Beyond specialization to integration.
    • Empathy : Beyond logic to empathy.
    • Play : Beyond seriousness to lightheartedness, games, & humor.
    • Meaning : Beyond material plenty to transcendence & meaning.
  • 23. Tech Visionary Research
    • Ray Price, Abbie Griffin, Bruce Vojak studied individuals responsible for bulk of new products.
    • Variety of industries, consumer, low-tech, hi-tech.
    • Looking for common threads.
    Ray Price
  • 24. Distinctive Findings of TV Research
    • TV personality.
    • TVs as problem finders in customer needs.
    • TVs as amateur market researchers.
    • TVs as market penetrators.
    • TVs as consumate corporate insiders.
    • TVs as consumate modelers.
    Copyright © 2007 by David E. Goldberg
  • 25. TVs as Problem Finders
    • “ Well there was this problem with being able to X.”
    • TVs universally start from interesting customer problems.
    • “ When you come across an area where your customer says this is too difficult to do, that is a license to go into business.”
    • Customer pull, not tech push.
    • Olin: User-Oriented Collaborative Design.
  • 26. 6 Thoughts toward Creative TPOTFs
    • TPOTF = tech professionals of the future.
    • Want category creators, TVs, & supporters.
    • 6 thoughts:
      • Cannot change in current departments alone.
      • Cannot do it with tech knowledge alone.
      • Cannot do it without human-centered design understanding.
      • Cannot do it by ignoring widespread tech ignorance.
      • Cannot ignore challenge of tabula rasa.
      • Cannot stick with PPG: papers, proposals & grants.
  • 27. Can’t Change in Departments
    • Have reasons, motivation to change.
    • Have will (in some quarters).
    • Even have good models of change.
    • But departmental system is designed to resist change.
    • All traditional curriculum change is painful & at best, incremental.
  • 28. Why Can’t We Change: NIMBY
    • NIMBY = Not in my backyard.
    • “ It is OK to change the curriculum…”
    • “… .as long as you leave my course alone.”
    • Politics of logrolling: You support my not changing. I support your not changing.
    • Even though agreement for change is widespread, specific changes are resisted.
  • 29. iFoundry : Org Innovation for Change
    • Separate pilot unit/incubator. Permit change.
    • Collaboration. Large, key ugrad programs work together. Easier approval if shared.
    • Connections. Hook to depts, NAE, ABET (?), industry.
    • Volunteers. Enthusiasm for change among participants.
    • Existing authority. Use signatory authority for modification of curricula for immediate pilot.
    • Assessment. Built-in assessment to overcome objections back home.
    • Scalability. Past attempts at change like Olin fail to scale at UIUC and other big schools.
  • 30. Can’t Ignore Non-Tech Skills
    • Course: TEE at UIUC:
      • The joy of engineering
      • Money & you: engagement
      • Time management
      • Write for your life
      • Present, don’t speak
      • The human side of engineering
      • Ethics in matters small, large, and engineering
      • Master the pervasive team
      • Organizations and leadership
      • Technology opportunity assessment
  • 31. Can’t Leave Out Homo Sapiens
    • Human-centered design requires attention to all knowledge sources.
    • Humanities, social sciences, and arts will contribute.
    • Must build networks from tech/engin schools to those disciplines.
    • Engineering and Technology Studies at Illinois (ETSI) does this with lecture series and social network of trusted contacts.
    • The discipline of being interdisciplinary.
  • 32. Can’t Forget Tech Ignorance?
    • 1993 proposal for Hoeft Tech-Man program:
      • Qualitative technology: Building blocks and systems.
      • Quantity & measurement.
      • Qualitative and quantitative modeling.
      • Sketching, diagramming, and drawing for technology.
    • Start qualitative  motivate math-science death march.
  • 33. Can’t Ignore Tabula Rasa
    • Being a category creator is tough.
    • Face the blank slate or tabula rasa.
    • How do we design when we don’t know how to talk about what we are designing?
    • This is linguistic challenge.
    • It is also categorical challenge.
    • Philosophy as (1) methodological & (2) crisis response.
  • 34. Philosophy as Creative Method
    • Where in human history did large number of new thoughts take off?
    • History of tech & explosion of 5 th century BC in Greece.
    • Presocratics  Socrates  Plato  Aristotle.
    • Mechanisms of the new thought:
      • Socratic dialectic
      • Aristotelian data mining
    • Course: Creative modeling for Tech Vision.
    Socrates (470-399 BCE)
  • 35. Philosophy as Crisis Response
    • “ I think, particularly in periods of acknowledged crisis that scientists have turned to philosophical analysis as a device for unlocking the riddles of their fields. Some have not generally needed or wanted to be philosophers. …But that is not to say that the search for assumptions cannot be an effective way to weaken the grip of a tradition upon the mind and to suggest the basis for a new one.”
    • Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering: Delft (2007) & London (2008)
    Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996)
  • 36. Can’t Stick with PPGs Alone
    • Can’t do it with papers, proposals & grants (PPGs) alone.
    • From PPGs to AOKs: Artifacts, organizations, and know-how.
    • Have limited influence in science & tech worlds & engineers feel inadequately trained.
    • Emphasize artifacts & IP, real companies & practice-oriented books.
    • Practical approach: faculty dial-in, IP flows to company; overhead flows to U.
  • 37. Bottom Line
    • Need compact framework for thinking about change.
    • Elements:
      • Cold war engineering as paradigm.
      • Info/transport technology & transaction/network economics changed our world.
      • We live in creative era.
    • Need to catch up on missed revolutions and leapfrog to the TPOTF.
    • Agree on framework, logic will lead to appropriate action.
  • 38. More Information
    • iFoundry: http://ifoundry.illigal.uiuc.edu
    • iFoundry YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/illinoisfoundry
    • iFoundry SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/ifoundry
    • TEE, the book. http ://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470007230.html
    • TEE, the blog. www.entrepreneurialengineer.blogspot.com
    • TEE, the course. http://online.engr.uiuc.edu/webcourses/ge498tee/index.html
    • MTV, the course. http://online.engr.uiuc.edu/webcourses/ge498tv/index.html
    • Engineering and Technology Studies at Illinois (ETSI) http://www-illigal.ge.uiuc.edu/ETSI
    • 2008 Workshop on Philosophy & Engineering (WPE) http://www-illigal.ge.uiuc.edu/wpe
    • Illinois Genetic Algorithms Lab: http://www-illigal.ge.uiuc.edu/

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