Updated – July 14, 2022
Photo source: The Colorado Chautauqua
2022 Engineering Ideas Institute, September 26 – 28, 2022
In 2019, the leadership of Engineering Change Lab – USA (ECL) conceived the idea of the Engineering Ideas Institute.
Our goal for the Institute is to annually convene diverse change leaders from across the Engineering Community for a longer-form, deeper exploration of the most important issues that will define the future of engineering.
Participants in the third edition of the Engineering Ideas Institute will learn, share perspectives, provoke new ways of thinking and find avenues for action related to two important topics described below. Advancing our knowledge in these two areas aligns with ECL’s mission to catalyze action in the engineering community through deep learning and interdisciplinary collaboration. We invite you and your associates to join us for the Institute.
The Regenerative / Circular Economy Opportunity and the Future of Engineering
The first focus area for the Institute will be regenerative practices, circular economy innovations and biomimicry as keystone strategies for addressing the engineering challenges of the 21st century. It is not enough for those of us in the engineering community to minimize the negative environmental and social impacts of our work. Our communities and society need our leadership in restoring damaged environmental and social systems and building resilience to future challenges. The elements of this discussion will include the following.
- Advancing understanding and building capacity related to systems thinking and living systems approaches.
- Exploring regenerative practices that protect, restore and replenish human capital and natural resources.
- Understanding how circular economy concepts are transforming agro-forestry, water, urban development, building design and industrial systems.
- Learning to use nature and leverage biomimicry as sources of inspiration for engineering design and models for regenerative and circular economy practices.
- Considering and discussing how these trends will impact engineering organizations (stakeholder engagement, talent requirements, organizational structure, financial metrics, etc.).
Provocateurs for this focus area will include:
- Daniel Lawse, Principal and Chief Century Thinker, Verdis Group. Daniel will describe his work that is centered on regeneration of living systems, including utilizing biomimicry as one aspect of living systems. He will also provide examples of how building capacity within people can help push organizations to set regenerative (net positive) goals rather than just reduction (net zero) goals.
- Maury Salz, Retired President of CLAAS Omaha and Past President of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). Maury will describe ASABE’s initiative to transform our food and agricultural systems to a circular economy. He will emphasize ASABE’s desire for cross-disciplinary collaboration to meet their circular economy goals.
The Engineering Community as Leaders of Change
The second focus area for the Institute will be the engineering community’s role as leaders of change for the benefit of society. We will use both provocations and case studies to identify principles, capacities and strategies for leading change and engaging in adaptive work in a variety of settings from education to practice to public policy. We will also explore the first five years of ECL and our ongoing initiatives to harvest insights and lessons learned about catalyzing change. We will follow the approach outlined below.
- Case Studies.
- ASCE Future World Vision (FWV). FWV offers the opportunity to learn how visionary scenarios of the future can be vehicles for deep change. This case study will again illustrate systems thinking as a fundamental enabler of deep change. We will also examine how scenarios like FWV can be an inspiration for culture change within engineering and an attractor for young people considering the engineering community as a potential career.
- Macro-Ethics. Sometimes it takes courageous, individual action to catalyze change. We will look at the case of engineer Frances Haugen and Facebook for lessons learned about when this type of action is necessary.
- The First Five Years. ECL is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2022. Reviewing our first five years will provide the opportunity to learn where we have had a positive impact, where we need to increase our impact, and how the tools for leading change that we have explored (dialogue, scenarios, polarity mapping and innovation matrix) can assist us in leading change.
Provocateurs for this focus area will include:
- Jerry Buckwalter, Chief Innovation Officer, American Society of Civil Engineers. Jerry will describe how ASCE views their Future World Vision initiative as an inspiration to change the culture of civil engineering.
- Juan Lucena, Director Humanitarian Engineering Undergraduate Programs, Colorado School of Mines. Juan will discuss his efforts to subvert and change engineering education, through instilling a greater sense of understanding of the economic and political systems that impact engineering.
- Rex Miller, Coach, Researcher, and Practitioner, MindShift. Rex will describe his experiences in leading change initiatives.
The 2022 Engineering Ideas Institute will take place from September 26 – 28, 2022, and will again be held at The Colorado Chautauqua on the outskirts of Boulder, Colorado. This proved to be a great venue for the Institute last year, and we will again design our program to take advantage of this beautiful and historic setting. You can register for the Institute at the link below. There is limited onsite housing available, so if you would like to make an early reservation, please reach out to Mike McMeekin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Individuals and organizations that participate in ECL discussions and events are committed to continually exploring new ideas and elevating their contributions in support of a thriving, resilient movement to catalyze action in the Engineering Community, and, through our n of combining learning from thought leaders with collaborative discussion, you will gain valuable insight and knowledge that you can take back to your organization.
The pre-event reading list for the Institute is now available at this link.