Findings and Creativity and Relevance in Civil Engineering

by J. C. Santamarina And K. Akhoundi
Year: 1991


Santamarina, J. C. and Akhoundi, K. (1991). "Findings and Creativity and Relevance in Civil Engineering." ASCE Journal Of Professional Issues, Vol. 117, No. 2, pp. 155-167


National needs, world power restructuring, and global problems demand creative solutions and innovative strategies. Creativity is the generation of ideas that are novel to the individual or to the group involved in the task. Creative productivity depends on the depth and breadth of information and on the individual's capacity for unrestricted thinking. Akin to the creative act, there is also a creative attitude, which can be stimulated or inhibited. The study of the personalities of creative individuals has revealed common cognitive and motivational traits. Neurological explanations for most of these phenomena are still lacking, however, findings already point to the importance of nurturing the brain at all ages. Several steps have been recognized in the creative process. The same steps are identified in the scientific method, and in a wide range of engineering methods. Inhibitors and stimulators of creativity can be readily found in the practice of civil engineering. Computer systems can be designed to stimulate engineers' creativity. Education and the proper design of the work environment can help develop and maintain creative abilities, with the right blend of critical thinking and engineering curiosity.