AAEE 2017 Keynote Address: Why do we do engineering?

Trevelyan, J. (Speaker)

Activity: Service and engagementPublic lecture, debate or seminar


Why is it that students find it hard to explain the value of engineering?
Why do most engineers find it hard to explain the value of their work to employers and investors, even governments? What's the social value contributed by engineers?

These are fundamental questions and students don't learn answers in their studies.

Why not? A lack of theory makes it hard to teach answers.

Working with Bill Williams in Portugal, James set out to investigate value creation in the engineering enterprise and together they discovered a major gap in business and economics literature. Engineering value creation has been associated with innovation and entrepreneurs. However most engineers have few if any innovation opportunities so the means by which they contribute value is unclear.

Using data from their research studies on engineers over 15 years several countries, they identified many ways in which engineers create and protect existing value, without any innovation.

Many engineering projects fail because engineers don't understand how much value is created and protected in seemingly mundane and boring activities.

In this talk, James will explain their new theory that explains engineering value creation and how educators could make this a part of any normal engineering coursework.

The theme for AAEE-2017 is “Integrated Engineering”, which covers a range of sub-themes, such as:
Integration of theory and practice in the learning and teaching process
Interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary engineering programs and learning environments
Integration of teaching and research in the engineering training process
The role and impact of engineering students and educators in the wider community
Systems perspectives on engineering education.
Integration is also about connections, e.g. between students and teachers, between students in learning together, and between educational institutions and industry and wider society in the engineering education process.
PeriodDec 2017
Event title28th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AAEE 2017): Integrated Engineering
Event typeConference
LocationSydney, Australia, New South Wales