Assessing creativity in design : emerging themes for engineering : Engineering Subject Centre teaching guide

Jon Adams, Justin Carter, Peter Childs, Paul Cosgrove, Fiona Dean, Chris Evans, Michael Goatman, Vicky Lofthouse, Rajkumar Roy, Dave Smith, Avril Thomson

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    This resource is part of a series of Engineering Subject Centre teaching guides aimed at the busy engineering academic. This Guide is intended to provide a short introduction to the assessment of creativity in the design process. Each section covers a key issue in the debate and accompanying vignettes provide examples of current practice. The resource, edited by Dr Peter Ball of Cranfield University, was developed and compiled by a group of academics with a shared interest in the topic from a workshop on creativity held at the Engineering Subject Centre. Dr Marianne Guldbrandsen of the Design Council has provided the Foreword.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationYork, UK
    PublisherHigher Education Academy
    ISBN (Print)9781904804833 online
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Bibliographical note

    This subject guide is freely available to download on the publisher The Higher Education Academy website at: Editor Peter Ball's abstract: A lot of attention is being given to creativity in both education and engineering related practice. It is a feature of all courses irrespective of the language used. Academics develop the creative thinking and skills of students and often use creativity as part of the assessment criteria.
    But how do we assess this concept of creativity that we refer to? First we need to define what we really mean by it and appreciate the different perspectives from people to process to product. Is it something that people are born with or can it be taught? Is it about the flair and elegance of the journey that the student demonstrates or it is it purely about the destination they arrive at? Does creativity apply only to the appearance of a product or does it extend to the simplicity of unseen internal components?
    It is necessary to consider the diversity in practice across the disciplines ranging from art to industrial design to engineering design. How do values differ and therefore how do we view the assessment differently? For example, how can we encourage risk taking and assess the outcome. The breadth of our examination of this area should include ethics and employability. UK-SPEC includes creative aptitudes for competence at all levels of professional registration and particularly for CEng level (Engineering Council, 2010). QAA benchmark statements for engineering refer to creativity in the opening statement on the characteristics of an engineering graduate (QAA, 2006). The Design Council activity seeks to foster creativity to support the UK design sector ( Against this backdrop how do we have engineering, technology or design in their titles? What are the metrics we useassessing creativity in design: emerging themes for engineering and to what extent do we encourage risk? How do we engender ethical behaviour and prepare our graduates for employment?
    This resource is intended to provide a short introduction to the assessment of creativity in the design process.
    Those who are knowledgeable in the field may recognise and value the variety of perspectives it contains and appreciate the difficulties inherent in assessing creativity. Those who are new to the area may view the resource as a starting point – an introduction to an ongoing and stimulating discourse.
    The debate on how to assess creativity in engineering teaching led to a workshop in December 2008. Academics active in the field and keen on progressing the debate contributed to the workshop and many in turn have contributed to this resource that captures strands of the debate as well as gives depth to them, using examples of current practice as well as considering areas that need further development.
    Significance, Rigour and Originality: - This document addresses the issue of embedding creativity into the activities of engineering and management that is the focus of the ‘Cox Report on Creativity in Industry’ 2005 by Sir George Cox. It brings together 14 academics from different institutions to present contributions from their constituency, and then reflects on the evidence presented. It is underpinned by comment from The Design Council. The initiative begun with a workshop hosted at Loughborough University and led by Peter Ball of Cranfield University, from which it was decided on the subject contributions to be made by each of the participants, which was subsequently assembled into this resource. The resource offers the input of 14 contributors from different disciplines with a substantial amount of referenced material. The rigour lies in the bringing together of this wide variety of contributions and its particular value lies in the breadth of questions that it brings to the subject. The created resource represents one of the most original contributions to the discourse of ‘Creativity in Industry’, to which a considerable amount of material was created between 2005 and 2010, by producing a significantly direct way of introducing a wide range of issues that could relate to the subject, and expanding the debate to an extent that many more intense studies have not achieved. It has also provided a reference for use by education, scholarship and industry that can be used to stimulate investigation of issues and facets of the subject in local contexts and so makes a considerable contribution to expansion of the subject.


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