Engineering is a profession all about technical calculations, problem solving, design work and creativity. However, it is often that last feature, creativity, is ignored or even forgotten about when describing an engineer. Accusing engineers of a lack of creativity and imagination is commonplace. However, to say engineers are not creative is an oxymoron. Engineering creativity is behind creating almost everything we use on a daily basis, and engineering tackles some of the world’s most complex problems. Here are 4 reasons why engineering is the most creative profession.
Engineering Makes Everything
Engineering is the lifeblood behind modern society. Look around you. The computer in front of you, the chair you sit on, the room you are in – all the product of engineering. Engineering creativity and ingenuity have been at work for decades refining the things that we take for granted every day. Just think how a forklift operates. The kind of thought which went into formulating its design, the kind of problems which were solved in realising its construction. These everyday products and materials seem bland and unimaginative. However, the creativity required to first envision these things working and the method used to perform the task required of them should not be underestimated.
Engineers are problem solvers. The actual problem solving ranges from finding out the best way to transport a material from A to B to figuring out how to balance the needs of maintaining a consistent and efficient energy supply whilst reducing nationwide carbon emissions. Whatever the problem, engineers require a unique perspective and creative imagination.
Engineers solve the most complex problems imaginative. Right now, there are 1000s of engineers working on challenges which the human race has struggled with for centuries. Without a creative mindset, engineers can’t do what they do. Without engineering creativity, we could not meet some of the most challenging objectives of human kind existence.
Engineering took us to the Moon (and could take us beyond)
Engineering creativity is behind some of the greatest accomplishments of mankind’s existence. None have been quite as huge however as the moon landing. The Apollo space programme was the product of over 400,000 engineers, scientists and technicians. There were plenty of different challenges which needed overcoming as part of the programme.
One engineer, John Houbolt, using both persistence and technical calculation managed to convince NASA’s hierarchy that the eventual method of landing men on the moon, Lunar Orbit Rendevouz, was the best method after it had been tossed out as ‘too dangerous and complex’. Another engineer, Marshall McClure, successfully found out why the engines were failing on the Saturn V test rocket by merely asking the question ‘would the engines work the same on the ground as in space’. Thomas Kelly successfully reduced the weight of the initial design of the landing shuttle to feasible limits by asking the question ‘do we need the seats?’
To conclude, the point of these 3 examples is that engineering creativity is rarely the product of one mind. Collaboration is key to the success of engineering projects. Only through working together can engineers solve mankind’s greatest problems and drive the human race forward to new horizons. This collaborative ingenuity got mankind to the moon, and with the same aptitude and creativity could drive us to explore further.
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Engineering creativity can do anything (almost)
The final reason engineering is the most creative profession is that engineers can do anything. Within reason of course. Engineering is all about using logic and freedom of thinking to solve problems and design systems. Engineers tackle some of the worlds greatest challenges. Because of this mindset, engineers come up with a workable solution for almost anything and meet almost any demand.
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