To reference this document please use:

Love, T. (1997). Appendix 5 of Social, Environmental and Ethical Factors in Engineering Design Theory: A Post Positivist Approach. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Western Australia, Perth.

A.1.     Appendix 5: Four lists of the characteristics and skills of human engineering designers

A.1.1     Cross (1989)

Cross (1989) defined the necessary skills of designers as,

·         Creativity.

·         Intuition.

·         The use of technical drawing conventions.

·         The ability to associate mental concepts of artefacts with technical drawings and other representations.

·         The ability to think subjectively.

·         The ability to refine by iteration.

·         Analysis.

·         Knowledge.

·         Skills with methods of engineering science.

·         The ability to deal with problem and solution together.

·         The ability to sketch and model to externalise and clarify complex situations.

·         To be able to evaluate against design criteria.

·         The ability to live or function in an area of uncertainty.

·         The ability to communicate with specialists.

A.1.2     Eder (1995)

Eder (1995) claimed that creativity in design depended upon designer’s being able to draw on all the following skills simultaneously,

·         An adequate knowledge of relevant objects and principles (including tacit knowledge).

·         A knowledge of processes - especially design and problem-solving processes. These should be intuitively or consciously available to the designers.

·         Adequate judgement.

·         An open minded attitude along with a sense of care and attention.

·         Sufficient motivation.

·         An ability to communicate appropriately.

·         An appropriate level of stress.

·         Recognition and ownership of the existence of a problem.

Eder argued that the characteristics and skills that he listed were prerequisites for creativity but that they did not guarantee it. He claimed that creativity occurs as a natural tension between the intellectual and intuitive mental modes and suggested that a problem is first recognised in the rational aspects of the mind, then a sense of dissatisfaction in the intuitive mental mode causes a rational solution to be found. Although Eder brings feelings into his argument, via dissatisfaction and satisfaction, he does not include physical feeling — for Eder, ‘feelings’ are totally cerebral.

A.1.3     Glegg (1971)

For Glegg (1971) the mind of a designer had three realms of activity:

·         The inventive: which can be encouraged by filling the mind and the imagination with the context of the problem and then relaxing and thinking of something else.

·         The artistic: which is to do with style.

·         The rational: disciplined thinking applied over the entire field of design from theoretical analysis to economic realities.

A.1.4     Nevill and Crowe (1974)

For Nevill and Crowe (1974) human engineering designers had the following main characteristics,

·         A very large (in fact, the principal) source of information regarding the problem space, (perhaps stored in long term memory as a list structure).

·         A very flexible capability for extensive processing of small quantities of information.

·         The ability to concentrate on only one thing at a time.

·         The ability to utilise illogical thoughts, to pretend, to dream, to fantasise.

·         The ability to operate with incomplete information, draw inference, make intuitive leaps.

·         A large set of experiences indicating how things can and ‘should’ be done.

·         Certain strong habits, inhibitions or patterns of thinking and designing.

·         A significant number of conceptual blocks including those of perceptual, emotional, cultural and environmental nature.

·         Many prejudices and preconceived ideas about the world, most of which are subconscious.

·         Performance significantly dependent upon emotional state.

·         Highly stimulated and motivated by interactions with others.

·         A finite quantity of energy, limited attention span and availability, gets tired, bored, frustrated, sleepy.

·         Very broad communicative abilities, sensitive to realm of beliefs and feelings.

·         Finds it basically enjoyable to use a large powerful machine that has the characteristics of a personal friend who offers unconditional acceptance and support.