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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