• Engineering Styles – Creative diversity can be described by four key variables: creative level, creative style, motive, and opportunity.

Creative diversityKathryn Jablokow, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Design at Penn State University. Her teaching and research interests include problem solving, invention, and creativity in science and engineering, as well as robotics and computational dynamics.

  • Engineering Styles – ASME website in March 2011. Creative diversity can be described by four key variables: creative level, creative style, motive, and opportunity.
  • Creative level – the potential capacity that one brings to the creative process; this includes raw talent, experiences, education, and practiced skills.
  • Creative style – one’s cognitive preference for either adapting existing structures and methods to new uses, or innovating completely new structures and methods. Knowing someone’s creative level tells us nothing about their creative style.
  • cognitive style – adaptive creativity or innovative creativity – A well-known model of cognitive style is Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation theory. A normal distribution exists across this continuum, both for the general public and for engineering professionals. Our cognitive style remains fairly fixed over time, although we are capable of engaging in creative activities that are either more adaptive or more creative than we like, hence making us “uncomfortable.” Neither adaptive creativity or innovative creativity is better than the other; each can be beneficial depending on the problem and situation at hand. We perceive those with a differing cognitive style to have a lower cognitive level.
  • Motive – our willingness to stick with a problem until it is solved, and each of us is motivated by a different set of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
  • Opportunity – whether or not we perceive the conditions around us as being amenable to creative solutions.

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  • Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation – cognitive style – adaptive creativity or innovative creativity – A well-known model of cognitive style is Kirton’s Adaption-Innovation theory. A normal distribution exists across this continuum, both for the general public and for engineering professionals. Our cognitive style remains fairly fixed over time, although we are capable of engaging in creative activities that are either more adaptive or more creative than we like, hence making us “uncomfortable.” Neither adaptive creativity or innovative creativity is better than the other; each can be beneficial depending on the problem and situation at hand. We perceive those with a differing cognitive style to have a lower cognitive level.