Creativity in consulting engineering: how civil engineers talk about design

Hayes, Marion (2005) Creativity in consulting engineering: how civil engineers talk about design. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

An appropriate civil infrastructure is vital to the wealth and wellbeing of cultures. Appropriateness is increasingly defined in terms of sustainability, aesthetics, innovation and cultural suitability. These expectations pose challenges for engineers to use their creativity, aesthetic appreciation, knowledge and character to predict and respond creatively with their designs. However, a treadmill of cost innovation in construction projects makes improved design challenging. This tends to reinforce the misconception that engineers are dull and uncreative, even though historically they have displayed considerable imagination and ingenuity. This thesis is based on an in-depth study conducted at the Brisbane office of Kellogg Brown & Root P/L (a large consulting engineering firm). A contemporary qualitative approach is used to explore how creativity is manifested in an engineering design context, and how it relates to phenomena such as knowledge, innovation, project culture and organizational environment. In-depth interviews reveal the authentic meaning of design and creativity for engineers and other company staff. The study highlights an important distinction between design-based and cost-driven innovation and unveils multiple influences that can stifle or nurture personal and group creativity.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16263
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gregory, Judith & Klaus, Helmut
Keywords: Creativity, innovation, engineering design, aesthetics, sustainable building, organizational culture, project alliance, research and development (R&D), sustainability, eureka innovation, case study, qualitative research, tacit knowledge
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Department: Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Marion Hayes
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:59
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:45

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