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Improvisational Design of Engineering Alternatives (IDEA)

Improvisational Design of Engineering Alternatives (IDEA)
Monday, September 24, 2012
Georgia Tech Campus | Klaus 1116W

Peter Ludovice is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech. His research involves the elucidation of structure property relationships for both synthetic and biological polymer systems, using an integrated approach that involves both molecular-level modeling and simulation, as well as experimental characterization. In his spare time, Ludovice is also a stand-up comedian, and he is well-known for effectively incorporating humor into classroom instruction.


As commodity industries move offshore, the U.S. economy becomes more
 dependent on its underlying innovation engine. This underscores the 
importance of improving technical innovation. While engineers are
 effective at organizing the design variable conflicts that require
 creative designs, they are not very effective at the creative thinking 
required to discover these novel designs. Humorous improvisation has been
 used effectively to produce the divergent thinking effective in creating
 novel ideas in non-technical areas. However, improvisation has not proven
 effective in producing novel technical designs. We have developed a new
 method for applying improvisation to improve technical innovation that
 addresses the inherent differences in the shape of technical and
 non-technical idea space. This method requires a convergent and emergent
 step, in addition to the divergent step inherent in humorous improvisation
 to be effective in technical innovation. This method has produced
 innovative technical designs in various workshops, and these results will
 be discussed, as well as how such a method may be integrated into
 engineering research and engineering education.

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