How expert engineering teams use disciplines of innovation

Petre, Marian (2004). How expert engineering teams use disciplines of innovation. Design Studies, 25(5) pp. 477–493.



Innovation happens deliberately more often than it does by inspiration. This paper describes disciplines applied by effective multi-disciplinary engineering firms in nurturing innovation in order to produce intellectual property in a variety of domains, from telecommunications to medical instruments. The report arises from a series of in situ observations and interviews in 12 engineering consultancies in the UK and US over 2 years. It describes strategies that expert designers use to ‘get out of the box’ of familiar thinking, to identify gaps in existing products, and to go beyond ‘satisficing’. It describes the supportive engineering culture in which these strategies are embedded. Finally, it identifies the characteristics which distinguish the highest-performing teams.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 3360
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0142-694X
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Facilitating Communication across Domains of EngineeringGR/J48689EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
    Advanced Research FellowshipAF/98/0597EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
  • Extra Information
  • Design Studies Award for Best Paper in 2004
  • Keywords
  • engineering design; expertise; design studies; innovation; empirical studies
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Research Group
  • Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Depositing User
  • Marian Petre