Competencies for Innovating in the 21st Century

Zahed Siddique, Jitesh H. Panchal, Dirk Schaefer, Sammy Haroon, Janet K. Allen, Farrokh Mistree

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


This is the first paper in a four-part series focused on a competency-based approach for personalized education in a group setting. In this paper, we focus on identifying the competencies and meta-competencies required for the 21st century engineers. These competencies are the ability to be able perform a specific task, action or function successfully. In the second paper, we provide an overview of an approach to developing competencies needed for the fast changing world and allowing the students to be in charge of their own learning. The approach fosters “learning how to learn” in a collaborative environment. We believe that two of the core competencies required for success in the dynamically changing workplace are the abilities to identify and manage dilemmas. In the third paper, we discuss our approach for helping students learn how to identify dilemmas in the context of an energy policy design problem. The fourth paper is focused on approaches to developing the competency to manage dilemmas associated with the realization of complex, sustainable, socio-techno-eco systems.
A deep understanding of innovation-related competencies will be required if we are to meet the needs of our graduates in preparing them for the challenges of the 21st century. In recent years development of competencies for innovation, especially in engineering, has received signification attention. The nature of innovation and its components needs to be identified and analyzed to determine proper ways to nurture and develop them in engineering students.
There are two levels of competencies in any professional field, field-specific task competencies, and generalized skill sets, or meta-competencies. The task-specific competencies are benchmarks for graduates in a given field. Their level of attainment defines how well graduates are prepared to meet job demands and excel in the future. The general (meta) competencies are skill sets that enable them to function more glob-ally, such as to work with others, function in organizations and meet organizational demands, and transfer task-specific skills to new challenges they have not encountered before.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC 2012) - Chicago, Illinois, USA United States
Duration: 12 Aug 201215 Aug 2012


ConferenceASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC 2012)
Country/TerritoryUSA United States
CityChicago, Illinois


  • Competency-based Learning
  • Design Education


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