By Connor Feist
To be honest, I, and many others signed up for this class expecting it to be an easy A that would help boost our GPA. I was surprised at the amount of coursework but even more so I was surprised at how much this course has changed the way that I think in my everyday life. If I had to rank the course out of ten, which I’m being forced to do, I would give it an 8 of 10. I would have liked to see more diversity in the way that the material was presented for this course to receive a 10 of 10. The professor did indeed switch up the way he taught throughout the semester, but for a perfect score each week would have needed to be something new and exciting rather than PowerPoint slides. I learned a lot about myself in this class in the aspect that as an engineer I don’t always think creatively but more so as a robot repeating a certain procedure to output the correct answer. In this class I learned that pushing myself to think outside of the box and creating new ideas can lead to exciting, innovative ways of solving problems.
The lecture of week 07 “Developing High-Performance Creative Organizations” was one that I thought was intriguing and ranked it 8 of 10. For me, one of the big things that I got out of this lecture was one of the steps, I believe step 2, that said, “Make innovation part of the performance review system”. I think this is a fantastic idea that would get employees to think outside of their comfort zones. I think a lot of people these days, I can even tell in some of my engineering courses, are purely robotic. They read and repeat, which I personally find no pleasure in doing. Having this as part of the performance review system would show the employees that not only is the company asking them to think creatively, but if they choose not to their can be direct repercussions. Incorporating innovation and creativity into a business model would only do positive things for the business and perhaps invoke a bridge of exploration in which the company moved from one stage, platform or consumer group to another.
The lecture of week 08 “Processes, Tools, and Principles for Managing Creativity and Innovation – IDEO & TRIZ” was another lecture that I enjoyed and I ranked it 9 of 10. I learned first hand how diversity in a team only serves to add more ideas and improve a product output when working collectively. Obviously, working with a team allows you to bounce ideas off each other and allow the intervention of the devil’s advocate (someone who disagrees simply to impose a different viewpoint of the scenario. The one thing that had the largest impact on me from this lecture was how different my ideas about how to improve the cart were from other students. In some cases, teams didn’t have any of the same ideas that I we did - every single idea was for a different process or part of the shopping cart. This goes to show that diversity improves the evaluation and refining process and can improve the overall product that is output.
The lecture of week 10 “Personal Space & Creativity” was my favorite lecture and it received a perfect score of 10 of 10. My main learning take away was that the set up of a room could change almost everything that happens within it. From where people stand, to how much they eat, to how they feel and what they talk about. I will definitely take room setting more seriously when in an interview or at a party from now on. Obviously Professor Hill has been in architecture for a long time and is a tenured and experienced architect that knows everything there is to know about the set up of rooms and how they affect our feelings and experiences, but I had no idea!
The largest impact that was made on me from the live lectures was the week 07 lecture about promoting high-performance creative organizations. I have always thought in the back of my mind about starting my own company one day, but the thing that always holds me back is how can what my company does be better than current companies in the market or competitors that will enter the market. I think listening to this lecture and learning how valuable creativity is the answer to my question. Personally I think creativity and innovative thinking is a skill that is very difficult to judge but is also widely uncommon. There are not many people in this world who think on the wavelengths of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. But those who do, have the sky as their limit and when surrounded by the right environment and promoting their way of thinking they have been able to change the world through the technology age.
Of the three lectures that I have selected, I think something very applicable to someone who has already graduated in my field of study would be teaching people to scan the environment, which they are currently working in for new trends, technologies, and perspectives. As seen in the PowerPoint – diversity is the spice of live and is integral in success. No one person, group, or mindset will ever achieve something more spectacular than a plethora of persons, groups or mindsets. Always viewing the horizon and moving forward is something that divides the good companies from the great ones. Pertaining to customer wants and being flexible and not rigid is a difficult thing for a company to do but it will only make it better in the long run. After all, referencing Darwin, only those who advance, only those who are strong, will survive.
The first thing that hit me head on in Online lecture of week 07 “Developing High-Performance Creative Organizations – Part 2: Business Models, Structures, and Strategies” was the concept that whatever you think you see or whatever you assume may not be. There is always risk in everything that you do and if you can’t find the risk then you haven’t looked hard enough. It is about calculating your risks and thoroughly investigating on what you need to know. VUCA was also an interesting part of this lecture that I had never heard about before. Volatility – having your company be able to change at a moments notice is something that not many companies are great at, but is something that will help surpass them. Uncertainty - it is always there; the lack of predictability that makes decisions tough. Complexity – the chaos of issues that also makes decision making difficult and risky. Ambiguity – the haziness of reality and the mixed readings and confusion that can take place.
I very much enjoyed Online lecture of week 05 “The Creativity, Innovation, and Design Nexus” because it was short and to the point. Not everything needs to be lengthy and filled with minor details – sometimes its even better to have just cut and dry. I give this lecture an 8 out of 10 because I enjoyed it but it didn’t necessarily have content within it that I hadn’t heard before. To give it a 10 it would really have to wow me. With that being said, a personal impact that it had on me was that in order to really be successful you need to be willing to take educated risks and be able to positively fail. That is something that I don’t think a lot of people have – the ability to fail over and over and continue to push.
Online lecture of week 10 “The Dream-Do Nexus: Startup Aggieland“ was all about start up Aggieland is something that I heard about a few months ago for the first time and I thought it was a fantastic venture for students to get involved with because of how much it can help them from a mentor stand point to get their ideas rolling into the real world. I had no idea Dr. V had such an integral part of getting this started, but I really enjoyed the lecture and the knowledge that it brought fourth. For that I am giving this lecture as well a 10/10. This is the first time I have given a perfect score for both lectures but these definitely deserved it!
The most surprising thing that I learned during this lecture was that Texas A&M had such a large university system. I was aware of the Kingsville and corpus Christi campuses but I had no idea that Tarleton state was part of our system at all! I also had no idea that start up Aggieland had mentors that would advise you and help you along the way with your ideas – I thought that it was just an area where students could come together and collaborate. Like I said before, I think this is a fantastic system and something that I can see myself getting involved in in the near future. I have a few ideas (both inside and outside of my industry) that I would like to explore and possibly bring to the floor. This was a very informative and inspirational lecture that I gained a lot of knowledge from. I would like to thank you for that, Dr. V.
I thinking without a doubt the final lecture about start up Aggieland had the largest impact on me. It urged me to think creatively and find something that I could call my own. I actually followed through with what I said in the weekly review about checking out start up Aggieland and sitting in on one of their seminars about elevator pitches. I gained a lot of knowledge from the speaker that will not only help me to be a more confident public speaker but a more effective one as well.
A future graduate from my major should definitely get involved in Start up Aggieland, not only for the experience but also for the knowledge that can be gained from older and wiser people that have worked in the real world and know how things are developed. One thing that I think a future graduate would get from this is that there is free advising at our fingertips that needs to be taken advantage of. Passing up on an opportunity like this is something that could cause serious regret in the future if action is not taken.
The personal branding profile was the first individual assignment that we were given this semester. My roommate, Henry Serry, and I decided that we would put a twist on this assignment and not just get to know ourselves, but to also see how well we knew our friends – or how much our friends allowed us to know about them. From the personal PBP questions and surveys that I answered I learned how much I really appreciate our planet that we live on and how badly I want to succeed in life so that I may be able to travel and visit as much of it as I can. The major takeaway from this assignment, however, was from the part of our project where I got to see how much I knew about one of my best friends. It was interesting to note that although I think I do know a lot about Henry, there are also a lot of internal emotions and thoughts about him that I do not know. This is important because in life one cannot just assume that they know everything about someone close to them. That is why communication techniques that our professor touched on multiple times this semester are such an intricate part of our lives. Being able to communicate effectively keeps everyone involved and on the same page allowing for projects and relationships to flourish.
Our first team assignment was the Team building and team branding creativity challenge. Before starting this assignment I had never met any of my team members or knew anything about them, but by the end I felt like most of us had created a friendship that was both work oriented and enjoyable. The biggest thing that I got out of this assignment is that as much as I think that I can accomplish on my own, I should always ask for a team member’s input or thoughts. I thought that I had a fantastic idea or path that we could take for each one of the challenges during this assignment but I quickly learned that my other partners had ideas that were just as good if not better than mine. Collectively we solved all of the assignments – most of them differently than I had envisioned. Also, by having individual parts in some of the sections I was able to see how creative other people answered their questions in comparison to mine. An eye opening experience to say the least.
Our third and final special assignment was used with the Google chrome application “Ideamaché” which I had never used before but became very familiar with before the end of the semester. Although I had functions that I would’ve enjoyed ideamaché to incorporate (such as a pathway function like Prezi) I found that it was a great tool to collage ideas together and brainstorm. My main learning objective was that jumping straight into an idea or assignment without knowing where you started could be detrimental to progress. Ideamaché allowed me to collect my thoughts and easily transition from one idea to another so that I could efficiently complete the task at hand.
The assignment that had the largest impact on me personally was the personal branding profile. Not only did it show me things about myself that I didn’t know, but by adding another portion to the project I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the way that I perceive others and vice versa.
The ideamaché project, in my opinion, would probably have the largest impact on a future graduate from my major. Being able to brainstorm efficiently, move from one idea to another and even find new solutions to problems are all qualities that a good engineer should have and ideamaché promotes all of these.
For one of my Reflect and Review assignments I read a TED talk titled “What does the future look like?” In this presentation Juan Enriquez spoke about the American economic crisis and how the ability to program cells and regenerate tissues coupled with the progress robotics is having will present a reboot for the American, and probably world, economies. It was a fascinating presentation and one that I paid very close attention to as I’m merely 21 years of age and am expecting to live for quite a few more years. My major takeaway from this speech however was not about the American crisis or robotics but something that Mr. Enriquez said at the beginning which was “The key to managing crisis is to keep your eye on the long term – while you’re dancing in the flames” – Phillip Hampton. This is very applicable to business models as well as life in general. My opinion of this quote is no matter what is happening in the present, no matter how good or bad it may be, we must keep looking to the future; the next step.
While searching for potpourri in Mr. Billingsley’s files I found an interesting article on a sundial that was printed from a 3D printer. I’ve heard of a lot of new inventions that have been created recently using a 3D printer so I clicked on the link. The first thing that caught my attention on the next webpage was a gif of the sundial actually rotating and displaying the time on a time interval. I’ve seen a lot of cool clocks in my day but this one is something that I’ve never seen before. What I began to takeaway from this article was the thought of imagining if we could create a larger version of this that could be displayed in large traffic areas such at Time Square or malls around the world. Obviously there is a problem when the sun goes down, but that could be fixed by implementing a light source that rotated identically to the path that the sun does. Overall this article surprised me and instantaneously I began to think towards the next step – thank you ENDS 101.
In week 10 my first reading I decided to explore Dr. V’s Potpourri and came across a TED talk from a 10 year old titled “Want to be inspired by a 10 year old?” She began her speech by explaining her goal of breaking the paradigm of “when I grow up I want to be…” and furthered by saying we are actually harming the youth by telling them to wait to accomplish their goals and dreams. WOW. Within the first two minutes this young girl had my mouth open. She is completely right. Why should we tell children to wait to accomplish their dreams when they can be doing just that in their youth? I took away from this little girls speech that fostering creativity is our job as their elders and mustn’t we forget that children are much more creative than some of us adults (being that they have few responsibilities and few to none worries in the world). They can think endlessly and perhaps bring things to light that older generations haven’t thought of.
I definitely got the most out of the first TED talk presented by Juan Enriquez. Being able to focus on the future amidst a turbulent time is a difficult task but a necessary one for any great leader. I consider myself a leader of men and to be able to acquire this attribute would be something spectacular.
For a future graduate in my area of study I believe that the last TED talk given by the 10 year old girl would have the largest impact. Overshadowing the youth solely because of age or experience is narrow minded and ignorant. Every opportunity should be given to younger generations because one day they will be in the shoes of the generation before them. Encouraging them to push their limits will only help them in the future.
My current field of study is petroleum engineering and it is an industry that is very impactful of the world economy as well as one that is ever changing and evolving. Each year there are large bounds made by engineers and scientists to make the extraction of hydrocarbons from the earth more efficient and safer. In the future I can see robotics having a large role in this industry because they can be implemented in regions that are not safe or capable of human involvement. I think there should always be a human overseeing the activity that is going on, which will be my career path, but the grunt work that is being done on site can and will be taken over by artificial intelligence in the foreseeable future.
In light of artificial intelligence taking a larger role in my industry I think that an advantageous thing that I would to become familiar with the newest implementation procedures that robotics will be taking over. The more familiar that I am with the way that they operate will allow the process to be more efficient. Another thing that I could do to prepare myself for the inevitable future would be to think about the possible problems that could occur in the future and have a plan to execute when those problems arise so that they can be fixed in a timely manner.
In order to get students to attend class and cooperate within the course’s live lecture, I think that Dr. V should have some form of attendance each class period that doesn’t just help you, but hurts you if you don’t come. I do enjoy and appreciate the accessibility of live and online lectures from eCampus, but in order to increase attendance at live lectures I think this is a must. One way for Dr. V and his TA’s to motivate students would be displaying showing their own creativity through the teaching process. I know that on occasion a guest speaker will come, or Dr. V will show a short clip, but having a video clip, ideamaché or another media for students to absorb would make the class more interesting. Perhaps Dr. V having a twitter/Facebook page to communicate with students and/or use a poll in class would make discussion fun, accessible and technological.