Creating Value

No one needs our graduates to tell them what’s in a textbook, crunchable by a computer, or Googleable from a phone. Our students need to add value beyond commodity information - to find problems, to generate technically competent, creative, societally beneficial solutions to unmet needs, and to advocate for those solutions. That’s why I believe the entrepreneurial mindset is important for my students.
- Margot Vigeant, Associate Dean and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bucknell University

What if every engineering graduate focused first on creating value?

Valparaiso meterboard SERF

Your students may have many reasons for choosing engineering as a profession. Their reasons may range from a desire for fame and fortune to wanting a rewarding career. 

Teaching your students the importance of creating value helps redirect their mindset and motivation. Their engineering solutions will become more impactful, benefiting individuals, groups, and society as a whole. 

These aren’t just ideals. The increasing complexity of the challenges facing our world tell us that engineers must be outstanding problem solvers, designers, and value creators in a variety of settings. The solutions, designs, and systems they create need to solve real problems. They must provide benefits to a variety of stakeholders who may have broad interests in financial, social, and environmental outcomes.

An engineering education with emphasis on employing an entrepreneurial mindset includes value creation. It improves the odds of career and product design success. Yet the concept of creating value for customers is often missing from the engineering curriculum. 

Our Engineering Unleashed community resources help you bring the concept of creating value into your classroom.

Baylor University student

Create Value - Start Now

Dr. Patsy Brackin, Program Director for Engineering Design and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, shares how she and the faculty at Rose-Hulman are creating value in unexpected places. 

Through her design examples, she explains why Create Value and Start Now should be the mantras of educators across higher education.

How To Create Value in the Classroom

Creating value goes beyond problem solving. Engineering education often focuses on quantitative skills. However, solutions to many of the most challenging problems require higher level design, entrepreneurial mindset, and value creation skills. 

Help establish value creation as a habitual part of a graduate’s mindset and as an instinctual driver by designing exercises so that students: 

  • Become empathetic ethnographers, or observers of unmet needs
  • Habitually reframe problems as opportunities
  • Ask questions that reveal authentic demand
  • Develop archetype users of engineering solutions
  • Offer solutions to problems, testing novel ideas with others to obtain formative feedback
  • Create value from underutilized resources
  • Extend existing solutions to new situations

The KEEN Framework

Tandem bike

The KEEN Framework describes Creating Value in terms of these two areas:

  • Identify unexpected opportunities to create extraordinary value. 
  • Persist through and learn from failure.

Resources

How do you create value that's meaningful? The solutions, designs, and systems created must solve technical problems and provide benefit to a variety of stakeholders who may have broad interests in financial, social, and environmental outcomes. The Engineering Unleashed community has created resources you can use in your classrooms: 

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