טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentMerdler Moti
SubjectCharacteristics of Creativity and System Thinking in
Practical Engineering Students' Final Project Work
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Shlomo Waks


Abstract

Creativity research in general and within the context and framework of engineering-technology in particular, contains various aspects which are often contradictory in nature. On the one hand, creativity should be nurtured by fostering open-ended, flexible and even associative thinking moving away from functional fixedness presumably by generating fluency. On the other hand, applicable innovative ideas must consider technological limitations, marketing feasibility and engineering constraints. Although such contradictory demands would call for an assimilation of ideas and knowledge from various different fields, these must still be integrated by lateral-vertical thinking tools.

Multifarious creativity has its hallmark on motivation aspects as well. While intrinsic motivation is recognized as an essential drive for creative behavior, still engineering-designed products reflect extrinsic motivation of both customer and manager, be it in a real product-development situation or within an instructional framework, such as a design project. On the whole, it seems that both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation should be synergized in order to maximize the benefit that arises from the creativity involved in the act of designing. To examine these and other aspects and to learn from their interaction is in fact the main goal of this study.

The factor of creativeness is an advantage that enhances the commercial competitiveness of technologically engineered products. However, this advantage is futile if the implementation of the creative idea is unsuitable and non effective. Therefore, although a creative product is the goal of all design processes, not every process will, in fact, result in a creative product. As the product's complexity rises along with the need to fulfill customer objectives, it also raises the issue of disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge integration and its implications on producing a creative product. Since it is mostly unlikely that one person could possess both disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, it is important to examine the ways in which these knowledge components are integrated so as to achieve creativity that is realized in a creative product.

This research study examines expressed product creativity in the disciplines of electronics, software and industrial engineering (management and marketing). This study offers retrospective overview of the creativity manifested by practical engineering students in designing a summative project's product and examines the tentative hypothesis that the integration of knowledge from different fields contributes to creativity.