To be creative in the engineering profession and combine it with problem-solving skills, one doesn’t need to possess some hereditary quality. Creativity is a skill that can be learned, expanded, and applied to daily tasks at both professional and personal levels. Throughout years of experience, engineers develop problem-solving aptitudes of their own. However, this process can be greatly enhanced by learning creative problem-solving techniques. This gives a new dimension to the subject of gaining experience and training in engineering and geoscience.
In this course, I cover principles of creative problem solving. The topics covered include problem definition, idea generation techniques, and critical thinking methodology. The course is intended for new and experienced engineers, geoscientists, technicians, managers, and anybody who wants to attain a new horizon in expanding his/her cognitive abilities. After taking this course, you should be able to recognize ill-defined problems; identify the real problem; remove mental blocks; and generate and examine alternative solutions in a systematic manner. Techniques like brainstorming, vertical thinking, lateral thinking, analogy, cross-fertilization, and TRIZ are discussed along with numerous examples of real engineering problems, for which creative solutions are obtained using the techniques discussed in the class.
The course enables the participants to:
- Systematically apply principles of critical thinking in analyzing a problem;
- Identify an ill-defined problem and proceed to a correct problem definition;
- Recognize mental blocks to creativity and solution generation;
- Generate creative solutions to a given problem using techniques like TRIZ, lateral thinking, brainstorming, vertical thinking, brain-writing, and analogy; and
- Evaluate alternatives and select the most appropriate solution based on given constraints.
New and experienced engineers, geoscientists, technicians, executives, and managers.
Professor, Sharif University of Technology
Mirmosadegh Jamali is a Professor of Civil Engineering and a member of Engineers and Geoscientists BC with 32 years of academic and engineering experience. His work experience includes working as an engineer in the fields of structural and hydrotechnical engineering in consulting companies in Iran and Canada for several years. Apart from teaching and doing research in Hydrotechnical Engineering, he actively explores the area of creativity and problem solving in engineering. He currently teaches the graduate course Innovation and Creativity in Engineering at Sharif University of Technology.
Dr. Jamali has been involved in several research collaborations with researchers at UBC and MIT. He obtained his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering from Sharif University of Technology, his PhD in Coastal Engineering, and a master’s degree in applied mathematics both from UBC.