Observe, Conceive, Design, Implement and Operate: Innovation for Sustainability
Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
Innovation within organisations permits the transformation of knowledge into applications for the development of new knowledge and new organisations that are able to respond to the needs and changes of the society. However, how can we establish a framework for acquisition of the skills needed to manage successful initiatives for innovation in organisations and how can we guarantee the sustainability of these innovations? In order to provide an answer to these questions, this chapter presents a proposalfor the promotion of sustainable innovation based on the engineering cycle of Observe, Conceive, Design, Implement and Operate (OCDIO). For this purpose, we reviewed examples of innovation in some world class universities, analized cases of education for innovation and developed a case study. We conclude that the OCDIO cycle was set up in a framework that enables the development of sustainable innovations through a permanent cycle ofobservation and adjustment ofthe systems designed to resolve problematic situations. The phase of observation allows the professionals facing the challenges of innovation inside organisations to obtain the relevant information for the conception, design, implementation and operation of sustainable engineering systems that take into account the relevant economic, social, technical, environmental and cultural aspects.
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“...The world is becoming increasingly more complex and connected, the advance of science is accelerating, and socio-technical problems are abundant” (Steiner, Ramirez, Hernandez, & Plazas, 2008, p 141). This rapid process of change implies that organisations and society in general should be ready to constantly adapt to their changing conditions and evolve in order to survive in their environment. In order to accomplish this goal, innovation has become a key element that enables organisations to respond to the increasingly demanding and complex conditions of the market (Evans, Parks, & Nichols, 2007).
Innovation within organisations permits the transformation of knowledge into applications for the development of new knowledge and new organisations that are able to respond to the needs of the society (Edmondson & Nembhard, 2009). “In the future, only companies that make sustainability a goal will achieve competitive advantage. That means rethinking business models as well as products, technologies, and processes” (Nidumolu, Prhalad, & Rangaswami, 2009. p. 1). In this sense, new companies with an innovative spirit are able to take the place of established companies which have become old and tired, creating an innovative attitude that generates a higher level of development (Thurik, 2009).
However, how can we establish a framework for the acquisition of the skills needed to manage successful initiatives for innovation in organisations? In addition, how can we guarantee the sustainability of these innovations? In order to provide an initial answer to these questions, we need to develop a way to introduce innovation into the education ofthe professionals that are going to be part of organisations, promoting the development of innovative ideas from different fields of action or simply favouring a continuous process ofinnovation in the daily running of organisations. We have to keep in mind that innovation generates value in many different ways, and not only in terms of the final sale price; it also adds social value, intellectual value, improves the competences of the organisation (not only commercially but in terms of the quality of production) and helps to clearly define the objectives of the organisation (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2004).
Traditionally, engineering as a profession has been one ofthe disciplines in charge of leading the processes ofinnovation generated in theAcademy or in the production sector. For this reason, many schools of engineering have highlighted the importance of the development of skills in order to tackle the challenges of innovation in the market, so that these skills may be used in the future to create successful projects (Siller, Rosales, Haines, & Benally, 2009). One initiative that had been gaining ground in recent years is the CDIO cycle, which aims to structure education in engineering based on the cycle of observe, conceive, design, implement and operate. This proposal is intended to assist the transformation of innovative ideas into real projects using the CDIO cycle (CDIO, 2010; Crawley & Brodeur, 2008). The aim is that the engineering professionals of the future will have effective communication and teamwork skills and an innovative attitude, which will allow them to successfully carry out sustainable innovation proposals based on the proposed cycle (Hernandez, Ramirez & Carvajal, 2010). Sustainability is achieved through a permanent cycle of observation of the designed systems within a process of constant adjustment (Carvajal, Ramirez, & Hernandez, 2010; Carvajal, Ramirez, Torres, & Arias, 2010). After several years of research, and obtaining pragmatic innovation results from student teams, a group of researchers proposed the introduction of an additional initial phase of observation into the CDIO framework (Steiner, Ramirez, Hernandez, & Plazas, 2008).
These researchers believe that a person (or a group of people) trying to develop an initiative for the purpose of innovation in any context must observe his/her context in order to attempt to
understand it (market needs, restrictions in the systems, economic, technical, environmental and human conditions, the current situation, etc.). In order to innovate you have to know your customer, his community, his ideas (OECD, 2004). Based on such an understanding, a solution with which to tackle the observed situation is conceived; the solution is designed, taking into account the restrictions and projections for the future, and then the design is implemented and materialised in order to operate it. The cycle restarts, and the project is observed as it runs with the purpose of improving it in each iteration, thus making the solution (project) sustainable.
This chapter starts by presenting cases of innovation training initiatives developed by prestigious institutions which operate in this area. It continues by presenting the OCDIO cycle as a framework for the development of sustainable innovation. Later, it presents the progress of innovations in Colombia such as the framework of the proposed OCDIO cycle. Afterwards, this research presents innovations and innovation training initiatives, and discusses the particular case of the School of Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes. Finally, this chapter presents the results of the application of the OCDIO proposal in specific engineering contexts. We conclude this research suggesting future work in this initiative and presenting some reflections on it.
The concept of innovation has several interpretations and meanings. Schumpeter (1936) propounded that innovation is the commercial or industrial application of something new: product, process or production process, market source of offer, organisational form. Cozzens and Kaplinsky (2009, p. 58) added to that definition by stating that “innovation provides the private producer with competitive advantage or allows the social producer to better meet the needs of consumers with a given resource cost”. For Chesbrough (2003), innovation is an invention implemented and taken to the market. However, Zoltan, Au - dretsch and Strom (2009) have stated that an innovative spirit allows new companies to take the place of those companies that are unable to develop innovative activity and promote a higher level of development.
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) (2000, p. 44) of the United States of America (USA) defines innovation as “the transformation of an idea into a marketable product or service, a new or improved manufacturing or distribution process, or even a new method of providing a social service”.
Although reaching a consensus regarding the definition of innovation is outside of the scope of this chapter, the proposed definitions allow us to create a framework with which to introduce a concept that is more relevant for us: the innovation process.
Davenport reinforced the idea of innovation processes by stating that it is clear that innovation is the introduction of something new, but that “we presume that the purpose of introducing something new into a process is to bring about major, radical change” (Davenport, 1993, p. 10). Innovation processes are combinations of structures for the development of work oriented towards achieving visible and measurable results with a clear business objective (Davenport, 1993).
Taking into account that it is more important to focus on the processes of innovation than the concept of innovation, we will then present the OCDIO cycle with the aim of answering our two questions relating to the necessary skills for innovation processes and the sustainability of innovation.
Several schools of engineering across the world are working to structure innovative engineering curricula, which will include the challenges of engineering in the 21st century as identified by organisations such as the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). The objective of these curricula is to respond to the needs and requirements of existing organisations regarding the professional education of engineers in particular. At the same time, an awareness of the development of the necessary competences for innovation has been developed as one of the pillars of economic development and the growth of society.
Institutions such as the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Olin College), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers), the KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Linkoping University (Linkoping) have developed successful initiatives for the purposes of education in innovation; the first three in the USA and the remaining three in Sweden (Bankel et al., 2005).
MIT, Chalmers, KTH and Linkoping, as well as being known for their success in the field of innovation, lead the CDIO initiative that had been spreading to several universities around the world (Crawley & Brodeur, 2008). Olin College, which does not belong to the CDIO initiative, has developed a curricular structure which is consistent with elements of the CDIO framework.
The cases of these universities allow us to understand the role of education (in this case in engineering) as a key element in the development of the competences required for sustainable innovation in organisations.
Let us begin with the case of the engineering curricula at MIT that have been structured around three large domains: “science and technology, culture and society, and the prior preparation and aspiration of students” (MIT, 2006, p. 1).
Based on these domains, MIT has created a flexible curriculum in which the students receive a solid education in basic sciences (mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics). The students can choose from different education cycles in humanities, arts and social sciences. Alongside these components of the curriculum, the students receive specific education in an area of engineering of their choosing.
During their education, the students apply the concepts and skills they acquire in the different areas of their curriculum in their undergraduate curriculum by developing real engineering projects. These projects are developed based on the CDIO framework guidelines, combined with the “.. .research teams that confront the great scientific challenges that we face today” (MIT, 2006, p. 7).
The education model at MIT aims to aims to develop skills which can be integrated with the knowledge the students possess. Therefore, they expect that innovative ideas will emerge as a result ofthe intersection between science and technology, humanities, arts, social sciences and the academic interests of each student (MIT, 2010).
Meanwhile, Chalmers bases its curricula on the “knowledge triangle”, the base of which is composed of education and research. On the top of the triangle is innovation, which forms a primary objective of education at Chalmers (see Figure 1). This innovation is developed within the framework of the five areas of advancement: energy, the science of materials, nanoscience and nanotechnology, production, and transport. In order to achieve this goal, Chalmers structures its curricula around a sound education in the basic sciences that provides the students with enough knowledge to build an excellence profile in an active field. “Excellence profiles are areas where we take a national responsibility with the potential to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. They are positioned in the international forefront of research, education and innovation with a mission to meet the long-term needs from society and industry” (Chalmers, 2010a).
“Active fields on the next level describe research areas within or between excellence profiles. They include excellence centers, research programs [sic], clusters of research groups and international networks, coupled with education and innovation activities in collaboration with research institutes, industry and society. The research is very often carried out at several departments in joint effort where both applied and basic sciences are vital parts” (Chalmers, 2010b, p. 2). This model indicates that Chalmers is the leading university in Europe for providing support for the creation of businesses’. Chalmers is well known for the development of systems of innovation based on the creation of companies that exploit research applications in the commercial arena (Chalmers University of Technology, 2010c).
These activities are closely connected with government efforts, the business sector and initiatives by the University itself (Chalmers University of Technology, 2010c). “Chalmers is an open arena in which the forces of innovation are gathered together. And Chalmers’ researchers are also successful as regards creating a stimulating collaboration between the business world and the university” (Chalmers University of Technology, 2010a).
Figure 1. Chalmers’ knowledge triangle
KTH and Linkoping, as Swedish universities, have structured their curricula in the same fashion as Chalmers, which, in part, accounts for their position as the three universities (along with MIT) leading the development ofthe CDIO framework.
Regarding innovation, “KTH is to be positioned as an entrepreneurial university that values innovation and entrepreneurship in education and stimulates the creativity and innovative attitude of students and researchers” (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2009, p. 31). Meanwhile, Linkoping aims to continue developing its skills as a university which combines basic and applied research in innovative contexts.
Olin College (USA) was established in the autumn of 2002 as a result of an initiative to prepare “...students to become exemplary engineering innovators who recognize [sic] needs, design solutions, and engage in creative enterprises for the good ofthe world” (Kerns, 2001). Olin College does not see itself as a teaching institution where the faculty teaches something new to a group of students who are only going to be in the University for a couple of years (Kerns, 2001). In this sense, the faculty and the students “.will nurture a culture ofinnovation, inquiry, problem-solving, entrepreneurship, research, [among others], to ensure the faculty stay current with the latest developments in their field, that they are encouraged to explore interdisciplinary areas, and that faculty transmit the results of this intellectual vitality to students both in and outside of the classroom” (Kerns, 2001). In addition, Olin College developed the conceptual framework known as the “Olin triangle” (see Figure 2a). “At the peak of the Triangle was Superb Engineering, supported by the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (“AHS”) (encompassing Design, Creativity and Innovation) and by Entrepreneurship (including Philanthropy and Ethics)” (Greis, 2009, p. 25; Kerns, Miller, & Kerns, 2000).
Figure 2. Olin College’s triangles
Based on the “Olin triangle” framework, Olin college has designed an engineering curriculum structured around four years of education, as follows: “.two-yearfoundation course and project work, a third year of specialization in which the student focuses on a particular area of interest and a fourth year (realization) during which the expertise is applied to a project of professional caliber” (Greis, 2009, p. 25; Kerns, Miller, & Kerns, 2000).
In the first two years, the students work in proj ects based around “. integrated course blocks (ICBs), large course blocks that combine two areas of study (say, engineering and biology) and an interdisciplinary project” (Greis, 2009, p. 26). “The ICB.. .provides teamwork opportunities for faculty and students.. .the fourth-year senior capstone project, pairs student teams with businesses to develop a solution that incorporates the students’ specialized [sic] skills and meets the business clients’ requirements and schedules” (Greis, 2009, p. 26). In their final year, the “.students not only learn the fundamentals of engineering science, but also can apply these techniques to the solution of real-world problems” (Greis, 2009, p. 26).
Through this curriculum structure, Olin College aims to “.prepare leaders who can predict, create, and manage the technologies ofthe future” (Kerns, Miller, & Kerns, 2000, p. 105). Olin College has presented a second triangle in which the courses are related (in terms of curricular content) with competences (skills such as team work, effective communication and an innovative attitude, among others) and the incorporation of spaces in the development ofprojects. Olin College considers that the development of competences through the application of content in real projects permits the creation of innovative ideas, while spaces based only in courses with disciplinary content (traditional spaces) do not necessarily guarantee such innovation.
Another common element in the listed universities is their participation in their innovation systems. These tight links with companies, business people, local and national governments, research groups and international networks of innovation have allowed these institutions to generate meaningful contributions to the economic and social development of Sweden and the USA. This relationship among the actors in their innovation systems has resulted in the success of innovative projects that have become productive organisations with a direct impact on the economic indicators in these countries. In later sections, we will present the experience of Colombia regarding the running of its own innovation system.
We have presented the innovation process as raised by Davenport (1993); this concept is tightly linked with the idea of educating professionals and developing their competence s in order to develop innovation processes. The leading team of universities in terms of the CDIO have structured their educational programmes around the integration of areas of knowledge such as the arts, humanities, social sciences and exact sciences. At the intersection of these areas is where these universities have managed to capitalise on opportunities for the development of innovative projects that include engineering as a basis for their development. At the same time, the development of innovative ideas is based on the framework of CDIO that began in courses included in the engineering curricula. Lately, these universities have begun to hope that their alumni develop similar processes in the organisations that they go on to work for.
The core ofthe CDIO framework is the development of skills to be used at each of the stages of the proposed cycle. These skills are acquired by the students through their study programme and used by them throughout their entire professional career. In this way, we can start to form an answer to the question regarding the creation of a framework for the acquisition of skills for the successful development of initiatives for innovation in organisations. This is because CDIO is the framework for the development of competences that will allow workers to conceive, design, implement and operate systems (proj ects) for innovation in their organisations.
Regarding our second question, we will propose an initial stage in the CDIO framework: observation. This stage has been proposed by the research team of Universidad de los Andes in order to guarantee the sustainability over time of the innovations achieved through the OCDIO framework.
Engineering as a profession has been experimenting with changes in its education-learning models, with the purpose of educating the engineers who will face the challenges of this particular discipline in the 21st century (Siller, Rosales, Haines, & Benalli, 2009; ABET, 2004). One of the most relevant changes has been moving from the knowledge transfer paradigm to the development of professional skills paradigm (Hernandez, Caicedo, Duque, & Gomez, 2004; Siller et al., 2009; Witt, Alabart, Giralt, Herrero, Vernis, & Medir, 2006). Examples of these changes have been reviewed by various global institutions such as the NAE (Siller et al., 2009) and the ABET in the USA. Nonetheless, the teaching-learning of these skills is difficult, especially for faculties that are looking to find a balance between the need to include or increase the technical content in the curriculum (Siller et al., 2009) and the formation of engineers who are able to apply such content and acquire new skills through what is known as lifelong learning (McCowan, 2002).
In response to the new challenges involved in education in the field of engineering, a group of globally renowned institutions (MIT, Chalmers, KTH and Linkoping) developed a proposal based on the CDIO cycle for engineering projects (Crawley & Brodeur, 2008). The proposal has three main principles: (i) scientific breakthroughs and technological developments; (2) internationalisation; and (3) the skills and attitudes of first-year students of engineering.
Scientific breakthroughs and technological developments: With regard to technological developments, the question is whether schools of engineering have enough resources to be able to develop applied research, or if there is a way to integrate engineering programmes into industry developments. The closeness between engineering programmes and the industry is fundamental to a country’s technological development. The CDIO initiative allows students to experience learning in pragmatic terms in the midst of a social context in which engineering can add value (Cutkosky & Fukuda, 2004; Froyd & Ohland, 2005; Lloyd et al., 2004).
Internationalisation: Globalisation demands that engineers have the capacity to adapt very quickly to contexts that are different from their own. Such is the case in European student exchange programmes such as the Erasmus European programme and the Socrates programme, where professionals with the ability to adapt to different environments are sought after. In the USA and Canada, the same thing happens with Chinese and Indian students (CDIO, 2010). According to the Asociacion Colombiana de Facultades de Ingenieria (Colombian Association of Engineering Faculties, ACOFI), engineers are being drawn to developing countries other than their own. In this sense, additional efforts should be made in order to include analyses of different contexts as an integral component of their training.
The skills and attitudes of first-year students of engineering: One ofthe main concerns of schools of engineering is the level of knowledge in basic sciences which is applied in projects developed by engineering students (Cutkosky & Fukuda, 2004). It is necessary to generate curricular processes in which knowledge of engineering and basic sciences is integrated into the development of real projects. This requires a widespread effort at every educational level (school, undergraduate and postgraduate). With this in mind, the CDIO initiative promotes the development of hands-on activities that allow the integration and implementation of a scientific basis into real projects.
Taking into account the challenges highlighted by the NAE and the ABET, which have been discussed in multiple schools of engineering throughout the world, and the principles ofthe CDIO cycle, the School of Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes has proposed a curricular space which is designed to develop some ofthe skills proposed by the ABET together with students, professors and businessmen. As a contribution to the CDIO framework, we have proposed an additional initial phase of observation.
This phase allows a careful investigation process based on a literature review and creativity workshops that allow us to explore the technological conditions that surround us and to approach potentially problematic situations that could be addressed from the point of view of different fields of engineering. This first phase of what we have decided to call the OCDIO cycle provides the necessary information to start the conception of ideas as proposed in the CDIO cycle.
The CDIO framework starts with the conception of an idea that will later be designed, implemented and operated through a proj ect. “The Conceive stage includes defining customer needs; considering technology, enterprise strategy, and regulations; and developing conceptual, technical, and business plans” (Crawley & Brodeur, 2008, p. 138). These activities are important immediately prior to the design of a solution and are the basis for the structure of a project that executes the design. However, a research group ofUniversidad de los Andes proposed that before an idea can be conceived, a rigorous observation stage is required (Ramirez, Carvajal & Hernandez, 2010). In this stage, opportunities for innovation are identified, as, by observing the world around us, its variables, its agents and the iteration among them, we can understand the different complexities that surround us and we can propose mechanisms (solutions) that could absorb part of that complexity (innovations) (Vest, 2000). For this reason, we believe that the first stage in the OCDIO cycle should be the observation stage.
Connecting these ideas with the proposals of the CDIO leadership team, it is possible to argue that in the crossover between the social sciences, arts and humanities lies opportunities for the development of innovative ideas. However, for the identification of such ideas to be possible, the development of the observation processes we have previously discussed is absolutely necessary.
If we move to the final stage of the cycle (operate), we find that it is necessary to develop a new process of observation of that solution (or system) which has been designed, implemented and is now operating. Based on these new observations, we could conceive, design, implement and operate new solutions or improvements to the same solutions in the OCDIO cycle.
This stage of the initial-final observation process allows us to ensure the sustainability of the solutions developed in the CDIO framework. However, the question remains of why this is so. The reason is that in a constant and systematic process of observing the results and the behaviour of implemented and operating solutions, there is the possibility and opportunity to improve with each iteration, by finding the shortcomings and obstacles that can then be overcome in new versions of the OCDIO cycle. In this way, we can guarantee that over time, innovative engineering solutions will adapt to these new conditions, challenges and requirements identified in the observation process.
Therefore, we have established that the CDIO cycle is an adequate framework for the acquisition of the skills required for successful innovative ideas. We have included an initial stage of observation that guarantees the sustainability of those innovations over time. In this way, we will carry on building an answer to the two questions that guide this chapter.
In the next section, we will present the details of the educational contexts in which we used the OCDIO framework for the development of sustainable innovative ideas. For this, we believe it to be important to present the context in which these education spaces are developed. Therefore, we will present elements of the Colombian innovation system as the environment of the School of Engineering of the Universidad de los Andes.
There are plenty of opportunities to develop sustainable ideas for innovation in countries with the current characteristics of Colombia. We will present the main reasons for this fact in the following section.
One indicator of a country’s competitiveness in terms of research and development is the publication of scholarly articles as a measure of scientific activity and knowledge production (Jaramillo, Lugones, & Salazar, 2001). Between 1997 and 2002, the Colombian participation in bibliographical production in Latin America relating to publications in indexed journals was 2.42%, which is higher than that of Bolivia (0.33%), Costa Rica (0.96%), Ecuador (0.45%), Paraguay (0.11%), Peru (0.85%) and Uruguay (1.35%) (Jaramillo, 2003). However, Colombia ranked below the production of countries such as Argentina (18.10%), Brazil (43.77%), Chile (7.99%), Mexico (18.54%) and Venezuela (4.08%) (Jaramillo, 2003). Figure 3 shows the increase in the Thomson Scientific (ISI) publications in Colombia between 1975 and 2005.
Figure 3 shows that between 1980 and 1995, the number of publications in Colombia, as is usual in a developing country, increased slowly. Since 1995, with the appearance of science and technology policies and investment in international cooperation (see Figure 4), a rapid and sustained increase in the number of publications emerged. From then on, the increase inclines, once again, towards moderation. The question that arises is why the behaviour of Colombian publications changed after 2005. It seems that the country reached its peak in terms of production capacity, and does not have the institutional infrastructure to support any further increase in new knowledge production.
When comparing the results for Colombia with those of more developed countries, such as Brazil, similar patterns are found but with significant differences in the number of publications, which in the case of Colombia is in the hundreds whereas in Brazil it is in the thousands (see Figure 5). Furthermore, both countries have a growing number of publications, but in Brazil the growth in faster than in Colombia. The relevance of Brazil is based on two reasons: (i) Brazil is the most developed country in the region (South America); and (ii) economically speaking, Brazil is one of the strongest countries in the world (it is a member of the G20).
The academic development of Brazil is closely related with its innovation system that, as a result of the relations between the different actors that participate in it, generates a high level of knowledge and sustained economic growth.
Colombia has been advancing in terms of the structure and consolidation of its innovation system since the nineties; however, this initiative has not yet been as successful as the Brazilian equivalent.
Colombia has made new efforts via legislative initiatives to foster scientific and technological innovation. Examples of these efforts include several bills that are being discussed in the Colombian Congress and which aim to improve the institutional infrastructure regarding science, technology and innovation. There is an initiative for the creation of a Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, a National Trust for the Funding of Science, Technology and Innovation and a National System of Science, Technology and Innovation. These initiatives ratify the clear need for Colombia to be introduced into the knowledge society and to improve its position in the regional context and worldwide.
These initiatives are aligned with Colombian history regarding the creation of an innovation system which will be consolidated in the coming years. Figure 2 shows the milestones that allowed Colombia to advance towards its incorporation into the knowledge society, which demonstrate their efforts to develop social, institutional, human and financial capital. In this manner, the National
System of Science and Technology (SNCyT) and the National Innovation System (SIN) have been consolidated, with the aim of supporting and improving knowledge production and its subsequent application in order to foster economic growth.
Two characteristics ofthe incipient Colombian innovation system in terms of human capital are presented by Gomez (1999) as the common aspect for Colombians: on one hand, their capacity to solve individual problems and, on the other hand, their incapacity to solve collective problems. The latter issue is aggravated because of a lack of resources and investment. For the resolution of collective problems, there is a clear need for engineering and other disciplines to immerse themselves in topics such as security, environment, infrastructure, public health, and knowledge, among others. Public goods related to knowledge are those that “are most urgently needed in Colombia. This lack makes extremely expensive the production of private goods” (Gomez, 1999). These assessments by Gomez pose two challenges: increasing the investment in knowledge development so as to enhance competitiveness, and increasing the ability of Colombians to work in teams, aiming towards the same collective goal.
With regard to the first challenge, private investment in technology in Colombia, according to the National Planning Department, oscillates between 15% and 20% of the national budget, whereas in countries such as Mexico and Brazil that percentage in 2003 was 29.8% and 39.8% respectively. In the period 2002-2004 in Colombia, an average of 0.03 patents per 100.000 inhabitants were issued, while in Chile the same indicator was 0.13 and in Argentina it was 0.53. The total expenditure on investigation and research as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product GDP in 2004 in Colombia was 0.37%. The number of researchers per 100,000 inhabitants in Colombia was 109 in 2003. These indicators show that Colombia is on the right track but lacks the driving force required to boost its economic growth.
Figure 3. Increase in Colombian ISI publications (Source: General Research Office of the Universidad de los Andes)
Figure 4. Milestones in the creation of the Colombian innovation system
Figure 5. Brazilian ISIpublications
In countries such as Colombia, companies should coordinate with national research groups and universities in order to find sources of proposals for new products, processes and services (National Research Council, 2007) which would reduce the gap between these organisations and multinational companies with specialised departments and a budget for research and development. This joint work may be modelled on the processes developed by the universities presented above.
Regarding the second challenge, proposals like the one set out by the School of Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes seek to strengthen the competences of teamwork, observation and conception in constantly changing scenarios (negotiation processes and technology, among others). This has a huge impact on the competitiveness of companies, fostering a culture of innovation in new generations of professionals as an essential practice for the economic development of their country. This will allow the national industry to participate to a greater extent in the international market.
Taking this into account, we will present the generalities of the OCDIO proposal and contex - tualise it with an example of its application in the School of Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes.
In the aforementioned scenario, the University of Los Andes has been a key actor. The School of Engineering has made explicit its aim of contributing to the country’s competitiveness through innovation. The strategic postulates (mission and vision) of the School Development Plan 2002-2005 refer to innovation capacity based on technology as one of the core characteristics that its undergraduate alumni must have, and to adding value to companies as one of the focal points of the School of Engineering. It also express it intention to have a positive impact on the competitiveness of the country through research. For the period 2006-2010, the School kept on track in terms ofthe previous plan concerning innovation, but introduced an additional element: the level of participation that it must have in the technological renovation processes in national industry. These principles are based on the University’s interest in participating in the Colombian innovation system and becoming a relevant actor in the transferral of knowledge from the academy to the production sector.
There are several diverse initiatives created by the School with the objective of developing its capacity to promote and support innovation in national industry. In the 1990s, it participated in the establishment and direction of INNOVAR, an institution dedicated to the incubation of businesses with the potential to succeed. In the same decade, at the end of 1993, it created the Innovation and Technological Development Centre (CITEC) with the expectation of helping to increase the welfare of citizens through its participation in the industrial development of the country. The CITEC established its objective as the execution of projects with a high component of innovation, oriented towards the solution of problems in the field of engineering.
In 2000, the newly available infrastructure of facilities and laboratories and the realisation ofthe importance of working closely with the production sector motivated the School to reflect on how to formally incorporate the innovation process into the institutional dynamic. Under the name of InnovAndes, a proposal was prepared for the creation of an innovation centre building upon the experiences gained through the CITEC, with the aim of boosting the development of the graduate School through applied investigation. The idea was to open spaces up for effective interaction among research groups and companies, with the aim of solving the relevant problems in the field of Colombian engineering.
Other initiatives such as the Centro Guia (Guidance Centre) or the Red de EmpresasAsociadas a la Universidad de losAndes (Network of Companies Associated with the Universidad de los Andes), both in an alliance with the Business Management School, also tried to offer the participating companies a way to resolve their management and competitiveness problems through the transfer of the appropriate technology.
The Universidad de losAndes (and particularly the School of Engineering) had been working to reinforce the activities of teaching and investigation related to innovation. The University cited conducting high level research as one of its institutional aims, which means producing its own knowledge about relevant problems.
With this objective in mind, the School focussed on activities such as strengthening its master’s and doctorate programmes, using its own resources for research, subscribing to international scientific databases, upgrading its infrastructure, equipping its laboratories with the latest technology and educating and assigning its professors staff for research purposes.
In 2007, the university created the Vice Rector’s Office of Investigations, which was focussed on managing the accomplishment ofthese objectives.
As a result ofthese initiatives, the Universidad de losAndes has experienced a sustainable growth in indicators such as the number of ISI publications (see Figure 6), placing itself in 5th place in the ranking of Ibero-American research institutions.
The results presented in Figure 6 accompanied a significant growth in the rate of production of ISI articles per professor: 0.36, 0.45 and 0.59 for 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. In the same way, 20 of the 130 research groups at the University are in the highest category of the National Administrative Department for Science and Technology (Colciencias) in terms of the quality and frequency of their publications and researches results.
Model of Education in Innovation in the Field of Engineering: The OCDIO Cycle in the Context of Undergraduate Students of Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes
Taking into account the national context and the context ofthe Universidad de losAndes, the School of Engineering has been consolidating a space for the development of engineering projects from the first semester until the end of the undergraduate programme (see Figure 7).
* 100 С
Figure 6. Growth of the number of ISI publications of the Universidad de los Andes
1988 1990 1992 1994 1998 2000 2004 2006
Source: General Research Office of Universidad de los Andes
Figure 7 presents the undergraduate engineering programme and the points in the course at which certain projects are developed. These projects are developed across the curriculum and aim to be a way of integrating the students into the curriculum. In the following sections, we will develop two of these points in the course as part of the OCDIO model of education for innovation.
In the first semester, the students of all of the engineering programmes undertake a project which is based around a specific topic that is defined according to the context of the different introductory courses to the engineering programme. This active learning scheme is called ExpoAndes. At the end of the semester, around 150 groups of students present projects that aim to provide an initial approach to innovation in engineering with regard to a specific problem (Ramirez & Hernandez, 2008). This phase ofthe undergraduate programme is intended to start the development of an innovative attitude through activities with an emphasis on the observation and conception of engineering projects. Activities intended to foster the design of these projects are also supported, although with less emphasis. Without a doubt, the main strength of ExpoAndes is its capacity to generate in the students the ability to come up with teamwork solutions. There are some very interesting issues concerning this matter. In the evaluation of the ExpoAndes process, the most positive opinions regarding teamwork belonged to the students in the final semesters of their undergraduate programmes. The a priori hypothesis ofthe research team is that these were the students that first had the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary teams. This was the first phase of change for ExpoAndes, in which engineering projects were undertaken by teams composed of students of industrial engineering, chemical engineering, computing and systems engineering, and general engineering.
Figure 7. Projects in the education of engineers at the Universidad de los Andes
This process required a complete integration ofthe students with the group and with the professors in charge. The identification and resolution of the problems being addressed showed that knowledge from each discipline was necessary. Another interesting result concerns the development of the students’ communication skills, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the teams. It is noticeable that the teams (both the ones composed of students from the programme as well as those
composed of students of different engineering programmes) were unable to develop their oral expression skills. The researchers relate this to the fact that the students presented their projects only once, in a very demanding and pressure-filled open exhibition with more than 2000 guests (including parents, business people, engineers and professors). Even though the students have shown some resourcefulness in presenting their projects in the proper way, it would be sensible to create opportunities for smaller oral presentations during the semester. In this way, permanent systematic training of this skill would be guaranteed.
Regardless of its limitations, ExpoAndes presents itself as an opportunity for professors to guide the students in the process of observation, identification and design using an engineering approach. Although it is clear that the students will be unable to solve a problem like engineers in the first semester, we want to them to experience what they will be doing in their professional lives. The results show that there are good perceptions of different relevant actors regarding this matter.
A learning process such as ExpoAndes aims to develop an innovative attitude in the engineering students from the first semester, so that the students will be able to identify opportunities to add real value to their society. The senior students perceived that the greatest strength of ExpoAndes is the development of the capacity for innovation applied to the resolution of a problematic situation. The students who had just gone through ExpoAndes had contrasting opinions.
One hypothesis (which may be too strong) is that these contradictory results may be associated with the different approaches that ExpoAndes has employed in recent years. The new students had to design their solutions using only their knowledge of their own engineering discipline. The question that arises is whether or not interdisciplinary teamwork promotes innovation in the design of an engineering solution. These preliminary results may indicate that this is in fact the case. In that sense, it is important to explore in depth such a strong asseveration in the middle of a learning process. In this way, ExpoAndes is an initial opportunity for students to develop their capacities as entrepreneurs.
There is a significant and potentially big research opportunity in exploring whether or not this competence develops in the same way for the students of each different engineering programme. The preliminary results show, for example, that the perceptions of students regarding their innovative attitudes were more positive for chemical engineering students than industrial engineering students. This result is interesting if we take into account that in the industrial engineering department, the students have more courses in which to develop an entrepreneurial attitude.
This may lead us to assume that, at least initially, the industrial engineering students were more critical of what they did in the first semester, because they had more opportunities to develop opportunities for entrepreneurship. This discussion is important, but should be explored in future research.
The next point at which the students engaged in the elaboration of an engineering project with a special emphasis is called the intermediate project. In this project (like in ExpoAndes) the students work in teams to develop more compelling proj ects than those they made in the first semester. In this process, the activities for the elaboration of their projects are defined with a strong emphasis on observation, conception and design. In addition, the aim of this project is for students to develop the first activitie s relating to the implementation of the prototype they have developed (see Figure 8).
Figure 8. Application of the OCDIO proposal in the middle of study programme course with ICT
Both in the first semester and in the middle of the study programme, the project is intended to foster attitudes which are conducive to teamwork, the design of engineering solutions and effective communication, among other aspects. This is the reason why the CDIO framework with the proposed additional observation phase forms a good context for the design of these projects (Hernandez, Ramirez & Carvajal, 2010).
In particular, in recent years the OCDIO framework has been used in the course known as the “middle study programme project”. This course is taken by students in the fifth and sixth semester of the study programme. In the following section, we will present the details of the process developed by the students in each of the stages of the OCDIO cycle in the “middle study programme project”. In this course, the students work on problems related to information and communication technologies (ICT).
Over a period of six weeks, the teams engage in four activities that require the participants to develop observation skills.
The students make a presentation referring to the technological changes in the world and the central role of information technologies. For this purpose, a panel of engineer-entrepreneurs is assembled, and the research teams make presentations on tendencies and opportunities. Parallel to these national interventions, there are videoconferences with project development experts in
other parts ofthe world. With these presentations, the students not only begin to visualise potential areas for their engineering proposals both nationally and internationally, but also start to make connections with entrepreneurs who could eventually become their mentors.
In the next step, the students begin, on an individual basis, a bibliographical research process, in which they produce written technical reports about engineering proposals that may or may not have been particularly innovative. This second activity seeks to strengthen their research skills through a systematic review ofthe relevant texts, as well as strengthening their written communication skills. For that purpose, the students receive feedback on their reports from their professors. This process is repeated several times during the semester.
During the third and fourth weeks of the semester, the students participate actively in an observation for innovation workshop. During the first three hours ofthe workshop, the students observe and make comments on images of projects that have been acknowledged for their creative content and innovation. After this, teams of five students are drawn up, who have to identify during the following week a situation that has attracted their attention, essentially because it refers to the behaviour of a representative sample of people in the communities that surround them. The situations may be as commonplace as the behaviour of people riding on public transport, in an lift, inside the classroom, writing a text on a mobile phone, etc. Once the situation is identified, they must make an audiovisual record of the different behaviours at different times during the week. With the audiovisual material obtained by each team, all of the students get together and the chosen situations are presented. For three hours, each group produces a visual 3D presentation and an intervention proposal for the selected situation. The team should construct their presentation using materials such as paper, cardboard, photographs from magazines, etc. At the end of the session, each team shares their proposal with the rest of the students. The following week, each team must integrate the result oftheir proposal with the information gathered in the bibliographical research, stressing the added value supplied by information technologies. The entire process of observation for the innovation workshop is repeated, with each team choosing a different situation. The intention of the workshop is that the student will sharpen his/her observation skills and start to work successfully with other students in a team.
At the end of this observation stage, the students attend a presentation of the advanced projects of teams that are one semester ahead. The goal of this final activity of the observation stage is that the students who are beginning their projects observe and analyse the work of other teams that are ahead in their innovation proposals with information technologies. This phase ends with the presentation of ideas for the conception stage of the project.
In this stage (during four weeks), the groups must capture their observations and produce a project proposal that must be presented and refined based on the critique and contributions made by entrepreneurs, professors and students. This stage, like all of the following ones, is characterised by cycles of teamwork, feedback and coaching sessions with an engineer-entrepreneur and the professors.
After one week of work, a proposal with the initial project requirements must be generated. It must be presented in a written report that identifies the problematic situation in which the students intend to intervene using engineering tools, establishes the objectives of the project, defines the field of technological relevance and determines the niche in the market in which the proposal would have a potential impact.
Teamwork plays a fundamental role in this process of helping students to reach their learning goals.
Based on a communication-feedback process, a full session (poster-session) is held with the participation of the engineer-entrepreneurs, the professors and the students. In this session, each group presents its proposal orally and exhibits a poster with the main features of the proposal displayed on it. Each group has seven minutes for its oral presentation, which must be focussed on the results oftheir observations and the initial conception phase of their proposal. This is followed by immediate feedback (three minutes of questions and commentaries), and an evaluation given by the engineer-entrepreneurs and the professors based on effectiveness of the teamwork and the development of their innovation abilities. The efficiency of the teamwork is evaluated according to criteria which are related to the oral and written presentations, as follows: support material; oral expression; time management, structure of the document; written expression, and proper use of the bibliography. The development of innovation abilities is evaluated according to criteria which are related to: project content; project objective; state of the existing prototype; projects referred to; deliverable definition of the innovation with an information technologies showcase; knowledge and technologies involved, and work schedule. At the end of the presentations, the engineer - entrepreneurs offer another round of questions, this time more specialised, to each group.
At the end of the poster-session, each entrepreneur chooses the two projects that captured their attention the most. From then on, each entrepreneur follows their two chosen projects. The engineer-entrepreneur assists the team in the strengthening of their communication, teamwork and innovation with information technologies skills. These skills are assessed based on numerical criteria, in which 1 means that the student has not developed the skill and that he/she may still improve. Entrepreneurs may choose the groups that are of the most interest to them. At this point, the coaching process begins. Successful cases such as the ones presented by the University of Texas at Austin, UPC and Stanford University, provide evidence that if a couching process is conducted by entrepreneurs, the potential for innovation, effective communication, knowledge development and the capacity to work in teams increases considerably (Evans, Parks, & Nichols, 2007; NAE, 2000; Skogstad, Currano, & Leifer, 2008; de la Hoz, & de Blas, 2009).
From the sixth week onwards, the design phase becomes more relevant in the development proj ect. Two-week cycles are defined by meetings with the engineer-entrepreneur who is assessing the project. The purpose at this stage is to make progress in terms of the relationship between the requirements ofthe selected situation and potential alternative solutions derived from the application ofinformation technology. The entrepreneur helps to analyse the project, encourages teamwork, provides oral and written expression tools to the students, and assists them so that the prototype has a concrete application that generates value in a determined area.
This teamwork between businessmen, teachers and students generates value within the learning process in the sense that each member brings the expertise and perspective of his or her own field to the collaborative task (Edmondson & Nemb - hard, 2009).
After the first two weeks of the cycle, there is a presentation and feedback session with the group of professors.
Over a period of four weeks, the design must be consolidated, based on teamwork and assistance from the professors and entrepreneurs. Ideally, by the end of this phase, the project will have its first prototype to illustrate the proposal and a defined implementation programme. This phase is the last one of the first semester in the teamwork and innovation learning period, and, at the end, there is a Public Showcase of Innovation with Informatics Technology in which the first results of the implementation ofthe proposal are displayed. The public display lasts for one day, with students and professors from the university attending, along with entrepreneurs invited by the School of Engineering and the engineer-entrepreneurs who have assisted with the projects.
The process described above takes place during the first semester of the third year of study in the engineering course. The teams can either pass or fail the semester. If they pass, they enter the second semester of the third year, in which there are four phases, each of which culminates in a communication-feedback activity.
The best projects participate in the Innovation Contest that takes place at the end ofthe semester. The jury for this contest is made up of entrepreneurs who evaluate the students’ development in terms of teamwork and innovation skills using criteria such as the establishment of an objective, target market determination, precision in the presentation ofthe solution design, sustainability analysis (economic and technological), innovation (design, price, technology), endeavour (planning, understanding the problem, understanding the solution).
The winners of the contest receive incentives to put their proposed prototype into operation. During the next year, they have access to a space in one of the faculty laboratories, economic resources (1500 US dollars) and the coaching of a board of directors made up of two entrepreneurs and a professor.
During the fourth year of the course, the teams can strengthen their proposals and plans using the academic resources that are at their disposal (courses, course projects, laboratories, coaching from entrepreneurs and their graduation project), thus attaining a very high level for competing in international contests of innovation using information technology and endeavour. During public presentations, the groups have to explain criteria such as “sustainability” which are very important in an education in engineering.
RESULTS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OCDIO PROPOSAL AT THE SCHOOL OF ENGINERING (UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES)
Through the aforementioned methodology for learning and developing engineering proj ects, it is intended that students will develop the necessary skills for eventually becoming innovators in their own organisations, as well as making those innovations sustainable over time. One of the groups which formed during this learning process was among the top four in a national entrepreneurship award (“SantanderAward: Entrepreneurship, Science and Innovation 2010”), which had more than 400 contestants. Similarly, another group, whose members are now graduates from the engineering programme, formed a company and recently became one of the five winners of the Ventures 2010 national contest, which had more than 1200 participants. DataTraffic received the award for the project with the greatest potential for growth, and received $10 million COP in shares granted by the Colombian Stock Exchange.
The projects summarised below were developed with the aim of providing innovative ICT solutions in the context of transportation in big cities.
Information System of Routs and Transportation (Sistema de Informacion de Rutas y Transporte, SIRT):
The intensification of urban development in cities during the twentieth century, caused by rapid population growth and the concentration of people in urban areas in search of opportunities, made engineers, architects, politicians and economists think about what the formula could be for building viable cities and making them sustainable over time. Such sustainability would largely depend on mobility. Nowadays, this issue is a priority in Bogota (Colombia), because we are at a critical point at which the decisions made today will have a major impact on the future. Bogota’s Master Plan for Mobility proposes that it is necessary to integrate different forms of public transportation, and therefore the passengers should have access to all available information regarding routes, stations and times of arrival. Currently, such information is not available for the public bus system (excluding Transmilenio), and therefore its users cannot easily find answers for questions such as which bus to take, where to take the bus and where to get off, or where to walk in order to reach their final destination.
From the perspective of a city in the not too distant future, using public transportation should be an enj oyable experience. From this perspective, SIRT was born with the intention of intention of making a contribution to the city, by enabling people to better organise their time. In order to achieve this, this group is proposing a solution that informs users of the estimated time of arrival of the next bus in two ways:
1. The user tells SIRT where he/she is located and where he/she wants to go;
2. The user tells SIRT where he/she is located and which route he/she wants to take;
The project is being carried out in phases. The first one was developed in the second semester of 2008. In this phase, a prototype was designed which informed the user of the estimated time of bus arrival using a Java based simulator. The information travelled across the cellular network (GSM) and text messages (SMS). The preliminary model of the prototype is presented in Figure 9.
This project develops innovative solutions using digital maps which generate value within the processes of its clients, through the development of solutions which are focussed on the areas of logistics, maintenance and marketing, among others, in order to increase control over the employees, supervise their functions and increase their efficiency.
In its short trajectory, DataTraffic has participated actively in the development of solutions for the Urban Development Institute, the Transportation Secretary Office, and the Bogota Emergency Telephone Number.
These projects are examples of the results of the sustainability ofthe OCDIO learning proposal for developing the innovation, company-building talents and skills of our students, and of the mentoring and advisory work carried out by teachers and businessmen who are interested in technology and encourage the building of knowledge. Both groups have been acknowledged by academic and business entities as projects with a high potential for sustainability. This sustainability has been conceived in the learning model comprised of the OCDIO cycle.
There are several results which appear to show that the students’ and professors’ attitudes to innovation were strengthened through the elaboration of projects in the first semester and in the middle of the study programme. The current synergy between professors and students shows a high level of connection between the courses, which exists in order to promote an innovative attitude in engineering students. Every year, around 300
Figure 9. SIRT’s project
projects are developed, with the participation of 1,500 students and 20 professors from all of the engineering programmes. Some ofthese projects are reinforced later on thanks to the knowledge of basic sciences acquired later on by the students. Some of them are resumed in the middle of the study programme, where we have been able to strengthen the synergy between the professors involved. Regarding with Innovation Projects with ICT course, we have managed to develop 40 projects annually with the participation of 10 business leaders, professors and students from several study programmes, particularly students of Computing and Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering.
Without a doubt, one big achievement has been the consolidation of an educational space where students from several study programmes are in constant communication with one another in order to identify problems that can be addressed using engineering and to share multidisciplinary knowledge to facilitate the design of solutions. In the last years, 5% of these projects have transformed into final study programme projects.
Figure 10. Results of the OCDIO cycle in the Middle Study Programme Project with ICT
3.5 H----------------------- 1------------------------ 1----------------------- 1----------------------- 1----------------------- 1----------------------- 1----------------------- 1
Problem and Innovation Time use and Attitude Interface Functionality Prototype target market quality quality and interaction
-0-2010-11 - Д 2010-1 •<••2009-11 - О 2009-1
Source: The authors
In addition, some groups have achieved important positions in competitions such as “Imagine
Cup 2009 - Colombia”, “TIC Americas 2010 - ECO CHALLENGE 2010”, “2010 Computer Society Student Competition” and “Calling All Innovators”. The professors have written nearly 10 articles about this subject and presented them in congresses and national and international magazines. With these results, we are starting to generate a mass of criticism that is having an impact on the Universidad de los Andes, its environment and other universities in the country.
In order to evaluate the development of competences in the engineering students who participate in the Middle Study Programme Project with ICT, the people who attended the Innovation Showcase (businessmen, professors, researchers, MSc students and PhD students) evaluated different aspects of the activity.
Figure 10 shows the average perception of the different evaluators of the work done by the students who had been part ofthe education space during the last three semesters. These results show favourable and sustained evaluations in areas such as the capacity ofthe students to identify problems, their innovative attitudes, and the quality of the proposed solutions among others. The results are motivating and confirm those mentioned before.
A diverse range of engineering education institutions across the world has developed initiatives for the education of professionals in the field of innovation, particularly for engineers. These institutions have successfully incorporated themselves into the innovation systems of developed countries and of others that are searching for economic development. In this way, they contribute to the development of favourable conditions for the development of innovative ideas that have a positive impact on society.
Colombia, being a country that is seeking to move from a feudal-capitalist economy to a knowledge-based economy, is working to consolidate an innovation system with the participation of the government, companies, business people, research centres and society in general. This intended alliance requires certain characteristics and competences for the fundamental players of an innovation system: the engineers. In this way, the School of Engineering at the Universidad de los Andes seeks to educate engineers so that they may be able to face the challenges of innovation and transfer their knowledge later on to the market in the shape of products, services and business models. The purpose ofthe School of Engineering, as part of the innovation system in Colombia, is that its alumni may develop innovative attitudes and the capacity to work in teams through effective processes of communication, not only with engineers from several disciplines but with professionals from other areas. This school intends to achieve this objective through the undertaking of curricular activities framed in the CDIO cycle with an initial phase of observation that guarantees the conception of ideas as proposed by the CDIO framework and warrants the sustainability in the time of the innovations which are developed.
In this way, the OCDIO cycle has established itself as a framework with which to educate the engineers ofthe future to face not only the challenges of the engineering as a profession, but of society in general, where projects have an increasingly short lifecycle and where it is necessary to have a significant capacity for observation, adaptation, learning and change in order to respond to these challenges.
The OCDIO proposal was set up in a framework that enables the development of sustainable innovations. This is achieved through a permanent cycle of observation and adjustment of the systems (solutions) designed to resolve problematic situations in a particular society. The additional phase of observation that has been proposed as a complementary initial stage of the CDIO framework allows the professionals facing the challenges of innovation inside organisations to obtain the relevant information for the conception, design, implementation and operation of sustainable engineering systems that take into account the relevant economic, social, technical, environmental and cultural aspects.
We may be able to argue that we obtained incipient results from this education proposal, which would allow us to continue the development of this initiative in other universities, with the aim of it becoming a successful and replicable model that results in a positive impact on the performance indicators relating to the development of the economy, science, technology and innovation in Colombia.
The OCDIO framework has been examined during this chapter which has focused on the education of engineers, but the researcher team believes that the proposal can be replicated in other areas such as basic sciences, social sciences, and in general in the interdisciplinary work which has become a motif in society. In this sense, the OCDIO proposal can become a point of reference for other professions.
For future investigations, we intend to refine our instruments of evaluation and the ways in which the innovation projects that arise in the proposed context of engineers’ education are monitored. In order to consolidate this investigation, it is very important to observe in detail the development of the sustainable innovative engineering projects which arise from the education of the engineers until the consolidation of their projects in organisations. Similarly, it is important to monitor the development of their innovation skills and their contribution to entrepreneurship in Colombia the contribution made to entrepreneurship in Columbia by the groups formed during this process, such as the ones presented in this chapter.