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Lecture will say that engineers should look to the arts

According to Sir John O'Reilly, who will give the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Mountbatten Memorial Lecture on 20 November 2014, engineers should embrace the arts.

Sir John will point out that the arts are often key to creativity and an important component of innovation, something that is crucial in creating new products and boosting future economic competitiveness.

His lecture, entitled Full STEAM ahead for growth: knowledge, innovation and industrial strategy will argue that it is vitally important to recognise the role of the arts, notably design and aesthetics in creativity and critical thinking. This is hugely relevant when it comes to conceiving people-centred solutions or innovations.

Sir John said: “We depend on engineering and technology for pretty much everything these days. For example in just the IT area with have the likes of internet shopping; computer-supported air traffic control; smartphones for business and friends; tablets for watching TV and so forth.

“In all of these areas, the ability to innovate is crucial for success. We often - rightly - hear of the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) but we need to ensure we don’t miss a trick by not giving due weight also to the arts.

“Engineering and technology is an increasingly diverse and creative domain - hence STEAM. When you bring in the arts you include some important people-centric aspects that can be crucial to success: in practical use and in the market.”

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