Blog by Raam Shanker

How Conformity Inhibits Good Engineering Design

Over the last two weeks we were introduced to the idea of conformity. Today we look at some of the undesirable effects of conformity. Remember the song “Another Brick in the Wall” by the legendary rock band Pink Floyd? Keep that in mind, especially the video.

In the fast-paced world of engineering, innovation is the key to unlocking groundbreaking solutions that push the boundaries of what is possible. However, there is a silent adversary that often stifles this innovation: conformity. When conformity takes hold in the engineering design process, it can hinder creativity, restrict imaginative solutions, and ultimately inhibit the development of exceptional designs. Let’s delve into how conformity impacts engineering design, the vital role of creativity, and examples of non-conformist designs that have redefined standards.


The Role of Creativity in Engineering Design

Creativity is the lifeblood of engineering design. It fuels the ability to think beyond conventional solutions and approach problems from unique perspectives. Creative engineers leverage their imagination to envision novel ideas, leading to the development of innovative products and systems. Creativity is not just about aesthetics or form; it is about finding efficient, effective, and sometimes revolutionary ways to solve complex problems.


In engineering, creativity manifests in various ways, from conceptualizing new materials and structures to devising novel methodologies and technologies. It is this creative spirit that drives progress, inspires breakthroughs, and shapes the future of engineering.


Conformity: The Risk to Creative Input

Conformity, on the other hand, is the tendency to align with established norms, standards, and expectations. While standardization can bring benefits such as safety, reliability, and interoperability, excessive conformity can be detrimental to the design process. Here are a few ways conformity can stifle creativity in engineering:


Suppresses Innovation: When engineers are pressured to conform to existing standards and practices, they may become reluctant to propose bold, innovative ideas. This can lead to incremental improvements rather than transformative breakthroughs.


Limits Problem-Solving: Creative problem-solving often requires thinking outside the box. Conformity narrows the scope of acceptable solutions, restricting the exploration of unconventional approaches that might yield better results.


Reduces Risk-Taking: Fear of deviating from norms can discourage engineers from taking risks. However, calculated risks are often necessary to achieve significant advancements and disruptive technologies.


Stifles Individuality: Engineering teams thrive on diverse perspectives and individual contributions. Conformity can suppress the unique insights and creative inputs of team members, leading to homogenized solutions.


Examples of Non-Conformist Designs

History is replete with examples of engineering designs that defied conformity and set new standards:


The Wright Brothers’ Airplane: When the Wright brothers set out to build the first powered airplane, they defied the conventional wisdom of their time. Their innovative approach to wing design and control systems led to the first successful flight in 1903, revolutionizing transportation.


The Tesla Electric Car: Elon Musk’s vision for an electric car challenged the dominance of internal combustion engines. Tesla’s innovative battery technology, sleek design, and advanced software have set new standards in the automotive industry, inspiring a global shift towards electric vehicles.


The Sydney Opera House: Architect Jørn Utzon’s daring design for the Sydney Opera House broke away from traditional architectural norms. Its unique sail-like structures and innovative use of materials have made it an iconic symbol of modern architecture.

In conclusion, while conformity can offer certain benefits, it is essential to balance it with creativity to achieve truly exceptional engineering designs. By embracing innovation and challenging the status quo, we can drive progress and shape a better future.

How about you do this?

At Equitus, we understand the importance of fostering creativity in engineering design. We believe that by encouraging innovative thinking and challenging conformity, we can develop solutions that not only meet but exceed expectations. If you’re looking to break free from the constraints of conformity and explore creative engineering solutions, get in touch with Equitus today. Let’s work together to turn bold ideas into reality and set new standards for the future.