Dennis McKeag, Wesley McKnight

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Creativity and innovation are topics frequently mentioned in the context of engineering and engineering design, but are rarely seriously addressed in education or professional practice. In a modern world whereby new technology is increasingly complex and incomprehensible to the lay person, and to many non specialist engineers, it is essential that creativity techniques are adopted that provide the user not only with products and processes that have more practical functionality and features, but also provide the user with enhanced experiences and excitement. Increasingly the need is to provide these benefits rather than concentrate on practical functionality and aesthetics, as has generally been the norm in the past. To be innovative the new product has to be commercially viable and this issue is also addressed. This paper will cover the key the generic elements of creativity and innovation in the context of engineering design, namely creativity approaches and techniques, theories and concepts, and user centred design, and place them in the context of a student design experience. The paper does not attempt to be a reference bible on all the creativity and innovative tools, techniques, rather it gives a flavour of what can be achieved and the references provide a gateway to further learning.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTechnological University Dublin
Number of pages351
ISBN (Print)1-900454-28-9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 4 Sept 2008

Bibliographical note

This paper is based on an MEng final year innovation project in collaboration with Heartscape Industries, Bangor, Co Down.
Reference text: 1. Stuart Pugh; Total Design – Integrated Methods for Successful Product Engineering; Addison-Wesley, pp 44-66; isbn:0-201-41639-5; 1990
2. D. McKeag & R B Clarke; A system for the efficient management of the Design/Development process; Proceedings of The Institute of Mechanical; Engineers, Volume 203, pp 198-194; 1989
3. D. McKeag; Embedding Creativity and Innovation in the Engineering Curriculum; Paper 1260, SEFI 36th Annual Conference, July 2-July 5 2008; Aalborg, Denmark.
4. Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations (5th edn), London, Simon & Schuster
5. Ford Motor Company internal document.
6. (
7. QFDnet – Quality Function Deployment Software Tool – User Guide; Ford Motor Company; 1992
8. CES Materials Selector; © Granta Design Limited; 2002


  • Creativity
  • innovation
  • design
  • engineering
  • concepts
  • techniques
  • user centred design.


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