Engineers aren't creative?

Creativity Cross Roads

The TEW Group are known as Application Engineers.

In simple terms, this means we are challenged with a problem that is solved by applying engineering in some form to find a solution. We can think of a TEW solution being a motion activated camera disguised as a rock which sits near vulnerable cable on rail trackside waiting to detect cable thieves.
We can also look at examples of TEW Industrial Automation equipment in solving a series of problems for a single customer, one in car headliner production, from initial press tooling and robot based ultrasonic cutting and trimming systems to operator assist displays, gluing integration and full assembly and quality checks.

So in applying a solution to a problem, what are the processes we follow?
Ultimately, especially at TEW, there is a creative phase which dictates everything that comes after it. It’s the time when people sit down in a room and thrash out ideas and theories.

But creativity is not a word that fits easily on an Engineers CV. Indeed creativity is not the first thing we believe engineers are all about, rather we feel they are more practical and prone to rational thought rather than blue skies; a little more scientist than artist?

Occasionally, the TEW Marketing team see an enormous advantage in a sojourn to a trendy local coffee shop to enjoy a short time away from the office and sit in the sunshine. In theory, we may be skiving for an hour but in truth, we know that creativity in any form is only constrained by routine. How many times, I ask, do we go to a trade show and complain that nothing took our fancy except we then can highlight a single product or idea that we loved and thought was fantastic.

Nottingham Inspiration (Above – Taking visual inspiration from your environment is never a waste of time. Nottingham is an incredible creative city.)

In his book, The Act of Creation, Arthur Koestler puts forward the theory that the creative process “consists in the discovery of hidden similarities” . In other words “ a leap of the imagination” or venturing beyond our normal thought routines. He also suggest that breaking regular habits of thought and actions are key to ideas “the prerequisite of originality is the art of forgetting, at the proper moment, what we know..”

It’s true therefore, to consider problems for engineers, like other problems, aren’t solved by slight modifications to existing solutions. That why, therefore, we can see on a daily basis our project engineers having heated discussions on the rationale of their own ideas while trying to impose them on their colleagues. Their ideas are from customers whose brief would be “we want to achieve this but have no idea how to get there” So, in much of what The TEW Group does, we couldn’t start with a less predetermined methodology. In fact they are on a daily basis , having their own blue skies coffee shop moment!
As we search for the magic ingredient or DNA that makes up The TEW group over the last 100 years, what should it be? Engineering excellence for our customers? Valuing our employees; with facilities that provide security, safety and well-being for our employees and their families?

We think it’s about creativity. It’s the act of creation that drives the application; that solves the problem; the skill of being able to overcome any obstacle with creative flow.

So engineers aren’t creative? I don’t think so.

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