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  • CULTIVATING THE O-SHAPED ENGINEER

Brass, Clare, 2015, Conference or Workshop, CULTIVATING THE O-SHAPED ENGINEER at 7th EESD 2015 conference (Engineering Education for Sustainable Development), Vancouver, Canada,, June 9 – 12, 2015.

Abstract or Description:

With roots in the realm of construction, products and the physical world, it is not surprising that design and engineering education is grounded within the paradigm of consumerism and growth, perpetuating an unsustainable system. With a primary sustainability focus on material improvements, students are rarely asked to question the context into which their designs will fit, or to explore how their designs can promote a different (more sustainable) future rather than just a less unsustainable one. While we remain within this economic paradigm, even the T-shaped designer, with a broad general knowledge and deep expertise in one specific area, at best has potential to reduce negative environmental impact rather than to create positive social and environmental benefit. As such, the T-shaped engineer is allowed little opportunity to creatively explore more sustainable alternatives using systems-level thinking.

This paper explores how we can prepare the next generation of designers and engineers to maximise their inherent skills to address the most intractable global issues, currently considered outside of their traditional remit. It questions the notion of the T-shaped designer, and proposes instead the O-shaped designer whose primary concern is circular systems, worldviews, synergies and relationships.

The paper examines some of the tools used in depth, explaining some unexpected but essential components. Through two case studies it will show how their application is generating sustainable innovation and delivering new O-Shaped calibre of design engineers, ready to rebuild the future.

Official URL: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/526...
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2016 10:49
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 10:49
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1793

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