In today’s rapidly changing world, problem-solving and critical thinking skills are becoming more crucial than ever. One specific skill that can help individuals creatively solve problems is engineering thinking. In schools and universities, we teach math, physics, biology, programming, and many other tools. This is great! Knowing tools is extremely important. Unfortunately, despite its high demand, the current education system often neglects this very important skill called Engineering Thinking.
The consequences of this neglect are significant. Without engineering thinking, students are not fully equipped to tackle real-world problems they may encounter in their future careers. Many students may find themselves unprepared to analyze complex problems and think creatively.
In simple words, we are limiting the potential of our future generations.
Finally, the lack of engineering thinking will eventually contribute to a lack of innovation in society. Engineering thinking is a key driver of innovation, and without it, we may be missing out on opportunities to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
To address these issues, it is essential to teach engineering thinking as part of the standard education. This means providing students with opportunities to engage in hands-on problem-solving activities, teaching them the scientific method and critical thinking skills, and exposing them to the interdisciplinary nature of engineering thinking.
Easier said than done… Indeed, this is not a very trivial task.
But, first, let’s try to understand what Engineering Thinking really teaches us.
Engineering thinking teaches us (and I mean ALL of us) how to solve problems using a systematic approach that involves structured thinking, creativity, and scientific principles. It involves identifying a problem, breaking it down into manageable parts, analyzing and gathering relevant information, generating ideas and potential solutions, evaluating the options, selecting the most feasible solution, and implementing it.
Of course, we can’t ignore the importance of collaboration, communication, and iteration. This skill encourages individuals to work in teams and seek input and feedback from others. It also emphasizes the need to test and refine solutions continually, using data and feedback to improve the process and outcomes.
However, the one question we could not find a good answer to is “Where the ideas are coming from?”. In two words, the only good answer out there is “Crowd Sourcing”. This many times called brainstorming when a group of people comes together to try and generate ideas. The problem with this is that brainstorming is by definition unstructured thinking. It just gives a feeling that it works.
To answer the previous question I want to default back to Engineering Thinking.
Here are just some available problem-solving tools and platforms. Each and every one of these are very helpful in there own way.
Design Thinking refers to the set of cognitive, strategic, and practical procedures used by designers in the process of designing, and to the body of knowledge that has been developed about how people reason when engaging with design problems. it is also associated with prescriptions for the innovation of products and services within business and social contexts.
Some will say that design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving that helps individuals and organizations identify and solve complex problems. There are many design thinking resources and courses available online, such as IDEO’s Design Thinking for Educators and Stanford Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking.
MindMeister is a collaborative online mind-mapping tool that one can use to brainstorm and visualize ideas. It’s an excellent tool for problem-solving as it helps individuals and teams organize their thoughts and ideas in a structured and efficient way.
Kahoot! is an educational game-based platform that can be used to engage young students in problem-solving and critical-thinking activities. Teachers can create quizzes, surveys, and discussions to help students develop problem-solving skills and encourage collaborative learning.
I personally love this platform, it is targeted to develop our kids, our future!
Synthesis is another amazing platform that teaches kids critical thinking. It offers team-thinking games that turn kids into effective decision-makers and communicators.
Trello is a project management tool that you can also use for problem-solving projects. It allows individuals and teams to create boards, lists, and cards to organize and prioritize tasks and ideas. Trello is particularly helpful for visual thinkers and those who prefer to work in a more structured way.
Trello is a great tool, and it does help a lot with problem-solving projects, but purely as a project management tool.
As you can imagine, I am not writing this article for nothing. We want to show off.
PRIZ Innovation Platform is an innovative solution that aims to accelerate and enhance problem-solving and innovation. Unlike other innovation management systems that center on idea management, PRIZ Guru acknowledges the significance of engineering thinking as a crucial element of the innovation process. Drawing on scientific principles, PRIZ offers an all-in-one machine-assisted innovation platform that streamlines systematic problem-solving and helps to uncover hidden opportunities. With a comprehensive ecosystem of tools and processes, PRIZ Guru supports and enhances engineering thinking, while promoting seamless communication among stakeholders involved in the innovation process.
I want to highlight the main component here, “Engineering Thinking”, and the tools and processes to support that. At PRIZ, we promote it, we expand our entire ecosystem to support it, and we teach it.
I want to encourage everyone to invest in our future generations and provide our students with the skills and tools that will allow them to enter their careers as skilled engineers. It can and should be thought!
Engineering thinking is a crucial skill that can help individuals creatively solve problems using science. By neglecting this skill in the current education system, we are limiting the potential of our future crew, hindering innovation. We are leaving students unprepared for the complex problems they may encounter in their future careers. To ensure that our future generation is equipped to tackle these challenges, it is essential to prioritize teaching engineering thinking as part of the standard education system.
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