Making connections between disparate sources to gain insight is a key component of the entrepreneurial mindset. This is the second of what we call the 3C’s (Curiosity, Connections, Creating Value).
For engineers to succeed in a world in which data is exponentially increasing, they will need to broaden their thinking and see multiple viewpoints and solutions. Faculty can help students build a mindset that connects multiple spheres of context, systems, data, and even experiences.
One valuable aspect of connections is systems-thinking. This is an approach that allows engineers to see multiple viewpoints and solutions. Even when scoped to a local community or organization, systems-thinking is an essential element of an entrepreneurially-minded individual.
Another valuable aspect is the intersection of ideas. Associative thinking, engineering based biomimicry, and others can emphasize connections to you and your students.
Help students broaden their thinking, see the landscape, and map the intersection of ideas. Use this starter pack of resources shared by faculty:
What if we taught our students to see connections?
Dr. Sarah Wodin-Schwartz, Assistant Teaching Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, asks us to imagine what the world would be like if engineering faculty inspired students to see connections between their technical skills and the world around them.
Through her teaching approaches, Dr. Wodin-Schwartz is inspiring her students to do just that, and in the process, is instilling in them a mindset that will make them change-makers.
How can faculty inspire students to make connections? Design exercises so that students: