Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers, Global Edition

Stuart Walesh  
Total pages
January 2017
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Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers, Global Edition
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For courses in creativity and innovation for engineers.

Emphasising the Importance of Innovation and Creativity for Engineers

This first edition of Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers was primarily designed for engineering students interested in acquiring knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA) that will help them be more creative and innovative. While intended primarily for engineering students, the widely applicable principles, ideas, tools, and methods introduced will also be useful for practicing engineers and as well as members of other disciplines.

The text argues for a “whole-brain” approach to the study of engineering, using neuroscience as a foundation. While the left brain (logical and analytic) is essential to the study of engineering, the author believes that engineering students and practitioners will be more successful if they learn to also engage in more right brain processing (intuitive and emotional). Similarly, they should draw on knowledge of conscious and subconscious thinking and view the brain as a muscle that can be continuously strengthened.

Building on that “Neuroscience 101” foundation, the text prepares future and current engineers to work smarter–either as individuals or within teams and organisations–by generating and developing new ideas. The nine chapter structure uses clear objectives, many examples, and numerous exercises to explicate its methods, ultimately enabling students and practitioners to realise that they’re already capable of creative - innovative thinking. They only need to apply the 20 methods described in the book to unlock their brain’s natural capabilities and then produce creative-innovative results for their benefit and for the benefit of others.


  • Eleven basic methods demonstrate the need for and importance of a “whole-brain approach” in the study of engineering. Formal education often emphasises left-brain thinking (verbal, analytic, logical, literal, temporal, and symbolic). Though left-brain thinking is incredibly valuable for engineers, students and their teams are more likely to be successful if they learn to also engage in right-brain thinking (nonverbal, synthetic, intuitive, emotional, nontemporal, and real). The included eleven methods enable students to make fuller use of intellectual resources, recognising that although creative and innovative ideas lie within most of us, individuals and groups need mechanisms to release them.
  • Seven characteristics of creative/innovative individuals highlight traits that students are likely to recognise in themselves.
  • Strategies and tactics for implementing creative and innovative ideas are presented.
  • Nine chapter structure progresses from definitions to neuroscientific insights and whole-brain methods, then to methods, examples, and strategies for implementation.
  • Learning objectives begin each chapter as lists that describe what the reader should be able to do after working through the chapter.
  • Approximately 60 Personal Note, Historic Note, or Views of Others text boxes appear throughout chapters. Personal Notes provide an opportunity to reinforce a chapter’s content with anecdotes; Historic Notes and Views of Others use history and the thoughts of others to strengthen the chapter’s message.
  • The body of each chapter ends with concluding thoughts or a summary followed by a list of cited references and by exercises.
  • Highly varied examples of creativity and innovation and their benefits appear throughout the text. All chapters (with the exception of Chapter 2) identify and describe 90 creative/innovative ideas, products, processes, structures, facilities, systems, and approaches. This strong examples/benefits thread is intended to inspire engineering students to work smarter and to achieve higher levels of creativity and innovation in all aspects of current studies and later in professional, personal, family, community, and other activities.
  • Over 80 exercises, which appear at the end of all chapters, provide opportunities for further exploration of ideas, information, and techniques presented in the chapters. Most exercises are well-suited for modest to major team projects.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Why Should You Learn More About Creativity and Innovation?
  • 2. The Brain: A Primer
  • 3. Prelude to Whole-Brain Methods
  • 4. Basic Whole-Brain Methods
  • 5. Overcoming Obstacles to Creativity and Innovation
  • 6. Characteristics of Creative and Innovative Individuals
  • 7. Advanced Whole-Brain Methods
  • 8. Creativity and Innovation Examples From Various Engineering Specialties
  • 9. Moving On: The Next Move Is Yours