Preface

The aim of this book is to acquaint systems engineers with the practical art of creativity and innovation. The concept of creativity has evolved throughout history. The Greeks considered poetry the only legitimate creative practice. That is, poets, as opposed to artisans, merchants, and even nobility could create poetry freely with no restrictions or rules. Later, the Romans considered the visual arts as a creative practice, too. However, during the Middle Ages, creativity evolved to strictly mean God's creations. Therefore, the concept of creativity was no longer applicable to any human activity. Thereafter, during the Renaissance and beyond, creativity slowly progressed to imply freedom of expression in the arts. Only at the turn of the twentieth century did the concept of creativity began to be applied to science and engineering.

The basic premise of this book is that creative abilities of human beings are not fixed, inborn traits but, rather, are changing over their lifetime. For example, researchers show that children exhibit remarkable abilities to look at problems and come up with new, different, and creative solutions. However, as they grow to adulthood, these abilities diminish substantially. Fortunately, creative skills can also be learned. Many studies show that well‐designed training programs enhance creativity across different domains and criteria. Hopefully, engineers adopting some of the creative methods discussed in this book will achieve improved creative ...

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