From Make and Test Projects in Engineering Design: Creativity, Engagement and Learning

The situations you have studied in your texts and laboratories are established situations. The situations I have to deal with in everyday life are emergent. Your thorough understanding of established situations is worthless for the things that are really problems to me in everyday life.

Robert Boguslaw, The New Utopians, 1965

Dilbert-Melbourne Age newspaper 22/04/03 [Copyright: United Features Syndicate Inc.] Used with permission.

In this cartoon Adam Scott, the artist inventor of Dilbert, captures the essence of engineering synthesis. Everybody designs sometimes. Nobody designs always.

Suppose we were asked which of these three is the odd one, a waterfall, a buttercup, and a steam locomotive. One answer would be, the locomotive because it alone is man-made, another would be, the buttercup, because it alone is alive. But the third possible answer would also be justifiable: the buttercup and the locomotive show evidence of design, but the waterfall does not - its shape simply happens, it has no symmetry, it is not contrived to have any function or to serve any end. [1.1]

The above mental hook was used by Michael French in his introduction to the Designed World in Invention and Evolution; Design in Nature and Engineering. Most creative writers are well aware of the value of mental hooks for gaining the attention of their audience before delving into the details of a story. The spirit of this book is to act as a mental hook into the act of designing. One might wonder...

Copyright Springer-Verlag London Limited 2006 under license agreement with Books24x7

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