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Practical Creativity and Innovation in Systems Engineering by Avner Engel

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Part IIntroduction

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

1.1 Introduction to Part I

The aim of this book is to acquaint engineers in general and systems engineers in particular with the practical art of creativity and innovation. Systems engineers are people with a capacity to understand many engineering, scientific, and management disciplines. In addition, systems engineers tend to examine issues in a holistic way considering the total system life cycle. This capacity is obtained through formal education, as well as experience in leading multidisciplinary teams in creating, manufacturing, and maintaining complex systems within sustainable environments.1

The basic premise of this book is that creative abilities of human beings are not fixed, inborn traits but, rather, change over their lifetime. For example, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, George Land tested the level of creativity among children and adults.2 The results, presented in Figure 1.1, are quite shocking. According to the study, 98% of five‐year‐old children could be categorized as geniuses in terms of their abilities to look at problems and come up with new, different, and creative solutions. This percentage drops to 2% within the average adults’ population. Land and Jarman (1998) concluded from this longitudinal study that non‐creative behavior is learned.

Figure 1.1 Age versus imagination

Fortunately, creativity skills can also be learned. ...

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