Innovation, Engineering, and Arts

Engineering transcends competencies in mathematics and physics - the beauty of this industry lies in its capacity for creativity. The essence of engineering is problem solving, working with and designing systems to make existing creations and processes more efficient.  My mother would always tell my brother and I that “necessity breeds innovation.”  Some people see a problem or a hole in a market and change course;, engineers see an opportunity ripe for exploration.

This innovation of course covers various subsets of engineering, including:

  • Software engineers passionate about developing exciting applications while considering how to make these apps more inclusive and accessible
  • Mechanical engineers pioneering automation solutions to ease factory workers’ lives while boosting production efficiency
  • Civil engineers diligently planning out improvements for city infrastructures, and so on

The title of “Engineer” carries many meanings and possibilities - artist, innovator, designer, builder, solution creator, sometimes even doctor.  

For that reason, it is extremely valuable to cross-train in skills related to the arts and design to cultivate a more innovative mindset.  For engineers who like to build with their hands, sculpture is a great route as it often applies many of the same concepts to build self sustaining structures or because of how easily 3D modeling can be integrated.  I actually had the inverse experience - studying art is what drew me to the world of engineering and manufacturing.  I worked as a 3D Printing Engineer at Shapeways, one of the largest 3D printing manufacturers in the world.  The only difference I find between sculpture and engineering is that the former places stronger value on aesthetic and intangible meaning (concept/backstory/emotional impact), whereas the latter places stronger value on function.  However, that balance is more level than the average person realizes, as form is function too.  

This is why you find many engineers are proficient in music, acting, sculpting, graphic design - and of course fields of engineering that are directly connected to these arts such as acoustic engineering.  Fashion engineers exist to improve the production of fabric and can also invent new ways for fabric to connect to change how garments fit on various bodies.  Innovation has allowed humans and society to progress to what it is today, with engineers often at the forefront of these creations.  There is always room for improvement, no matter your field - if you feel that “engineer’s block” in your work, consider engaging in the arts to reconnect to that creative thinking that supplements your innovation.

Back to blog

Leave a comment