Exploring innovation in the engineering profession

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Engineers from all sectors of the profession recently convened for a workshop in Ottawa to explore engineering’s role in progress and innovation.

Held on October 1-2, 2016, as part of the Engineering Change Lab initiative, the workshop challenged participants to tackle systemic issues such as ethics, diversity, collaboration, culture and innovation. According to Engineers Canada, participants leave the workshops with practical hypotheses to test out and work on implementing progress between workshop sessions.

Lab participants also examined how university curricula for engineering could be modernized to fill the gap between education and industry. Employers have remarked that engineering students are graduating with strong technical skills, but that more communications, collaboration and leadership education is needed to help them effectively apply the skills in a corporate setting and contribute to organizational goals. This way of testing hypotheses on a small-scale, then scaling up, is a critical component of the Lab’s experimental approach to large, system-level issues.

“The thinking behind the Engineering Change Lab is an intriguing dichotomy of returning to our roots, as well as moving forward,” said Mark Abbott, MBA, CMA, PMP, P.Eng., Engineering Change Lab secretariat. “Historically, engineers have been regarded as on the cutting edge of socio-technological change. Focuses have shifted over the decades and the Lab is a concerted effort to reclaim a position as innovation leaders.”

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Engineering Change Lab was established in 2014 by Engineers Canada and Engineers Without Borders Canada as a platform for collaboration across the profession.  For more information, visit: www.engineeringchangelab.ca.

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