Short Version: Playing Well with Others in a Creative Era


Published on

A presentation to NAE Workshop: Understanding the Design Space on the conceptual obstacles to interdisciplinary work and some organizational solutions to overcoming them.

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Short Version: Playing Well with Others in a Creative Era

  1. 1. Playing Well with Others in a Creative Era David E. Goldberg Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, IL 61801 [email_address]
  2. 2. Fast Times at Global High <ul><li>Live in fast-paced, global times. </li></ul><ul><li>Premium on creative, interdisciplinary work. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering a broad, integrative activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, odd relationships with other disciplines. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering faculty paid well, but not at the center of academic discourse. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to understand our relations to others & develop ways to work with them more closely. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Roadmap <ul><li>Creative era as motive for playing well with others. </li></ul><ul><li>Conceptual barriers to playing well: envy, namecalling, and a paradigm. </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational/Institutional aids to playing well: meso-level dot-connectors & pairwork. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of playing well: ETSI, WPE, iFoundry & OIP. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Playing with Others in a Creative Era <ul><li>Engineering an integrative discipline: knowledge and knowhow from many sources. </li></ul><ul><li>Creative era: Flat worlds, whole new mind, & creative class. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased returns to category creators vs. category enhancers. </li></ul><ul><li>Renewed need to play well with other disciplines. </li></ul><ul><li>But it isn’t easy. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Relation to Math & Science <ul><li>What is engineering relationship to math & science? </li></ul><ul><li>Some say “engineering is applied science.” </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering academics are concerned with “rigor” and “the basics” (math, sci, eng sci). </li></ul><ul><li>But engineering is so much more. </li></ul><ul><li>Myth: radar and bomb won WW2. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering envious of math/science. </li></ul><ul><li>Especially in the academy. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Relation to Humanities, Arts & SS <ul><li>Humanities, arts & social sciences (HASS) increasingly important to engineering. </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, we use strange words. </li></ul><ul><li>Call HASS “soft” as contrasted to “rigorous.” </li></ul><ul><li>View engineering as superior to HASS. </li></ul><ul><li>We envy scientist/mathematicians and consider ourselves superior to HASS. </li></ul><ul><li>A epistemological classism. </li></ul><ul><li>A totem pole in our minds. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Trapped in Cold War Paradigm <ul><li>“ Paradigm” traces to Kuhn’s, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in 1962. </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering is stuck in cold war paradigm. </li></ul><ul><li>Defending “rigorous” curriculum is not an argument. </li></ul><ul><li>Offending HASS as “soft” is namecalling. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The basics” include science, but belief in “the basics” not itself scientific. </li></ul>Thomas S. Kuhn (1922-1996)
  8. 8. Solution: Emphasize Common Heritage <ul><li>Missing basics of engineering tie us to others. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional curriculum to senior design, they </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t ask questions (Socrates 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t label things (Aristotle 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t model qualitatively (Aristotle 102, Hume 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t decompose problems (Descartes 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t experimen t or measure (Locke 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t visualize/ideate (daVinci/Monge 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t communicate (Newman 101). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gifts to civilization dating back ~2500 years . </li></ul>Socrates (470-399 BCE)
  9. 9. Create Meso-Level Dot Connectors <ul><li>Departmental faculty have access to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Space </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clerical support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Getting different groups to play requires some work. </li></ul><ul><li>Dot Connector: Meso-level organizational structure </li></ul><ul><li>Gather people intellectually, virtually, and physically. </li></ul><ul><li>Easier in world of digital and social media. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: ETSI, iFoundry, APIE2. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Pairwork then Networks <ul><li>Went from solo to teamwork in the quality revolution. Skipped pairwork. </li></ul><ul><li>Georges Harik, early Google employee: pairs 20x more productive than singletons. </li></ul><ul><li>Get </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large opportunity for complementary skills. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Low coordination costs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maximal opportunity for marginal creativity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effective emotional leveling. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Great pairwork yields great networks. </li></ul>Wilbur Wright Orville Wright
  11. 11. Blogpost  ETSI  WPE  iFoundry <ul><li>ETSI = Engineering & Technology Studies at Illinois. </li></ul><ul><li>Started as lecture series & website in 2006 following blog post. </li></ul><ul><li>Grew to grassroots network of faculty. </li></ul><ul><li>Continues to interact & fundamental to educational & research initiatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Need new institutional forms for minimal support of interdisciplinary initiatives. </li></ul><ul><li>Led to WPE-2007, iFoundry. OIP, & APIE2. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Playing Well: Change Minds & Orgs <ul><li>Need to get our minds right. </li></ul><ul><li>Need to get our organizations right. </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity imperative of 21 st century is calling. </li></ul><ul><li>Links: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Summit on the Engineer of the Future 2.0 <ul><li>Grassroots meeting: 31 March – 1 April 2009 (Tuesday evening – Wednesday), Olin College. </li></ul><ul><li>Keynote: Karan Watson from TAMU. </li></ul><ul><li>Panel of young engineers and their transformational experiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorming breakouts. </li></ul><ul><li>Signing of the transformation proclamation. </li></ul><ul><li>Olin in Action, Thursday, 2 April 2009. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>