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Collaborative Research: Identifying and Assessing Key Factors of Engineering Innovativeness

S. Purzer, K. Jablokow, D. Ferguson, M. Ohland, and J. Menold
2014, American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) 2014 Annual Conference & Exposition

Significant resources are spent nationally and locally to foster innovativeness of engineers, yet confusion remains about critical knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to enable innovativeness throughout the engineering innovation process. This collaborative research project combines expertise in cognitive diversity with expertise in assessment and entrepreneurship to characterize and assess innovativeness in practicing engineers and engineering students. First, we conducted a large-scale interview study involving forty-five engineering innovators with diverse backgrounds in engineering discipline, gender, ethnic, and geographic diversity. These interview data were analyzed to determine the key characteristics of engineering innovators. Next, we conducted an in-depth literature synthesis to understand different ways in which these innovative engineer characteristics were currently identified, and we have begun to assess existing needs for new engineering innovativeness assessment instruments. These studies will inform the development of scales designed specifically for measuring engineering innovativeness.