Summary of the Sole Writers SIG Meeting

Held December 1, 1997 on How to be More Inventive in Your Work

On December 1, the SIG met to discuss How to be More Inventive in Your Work. Six members of the SIG described fascinating case studies from a superbly written book called Invention by Design by Henri Petroski. Check out these presentations:

Paper clips and Design
Pencil Points and Analysis
Zippers and Development
Aluminum Can and Failure
Facsimile and Networks
Airplanes and Computers

Each presentation included strong and clear messages for the field of technical communication. There is a technical communication corollary for every aspect of the engineering process. Here are some of the principles we discussed:

An Exercise

Max Planck (the physicist) said, "An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning."

Ponder the following questions:


Invention by Design: How Engineers Get from Thought to Thing
Henry Petroski
ISBN 0-674-46367-6
Harvard University Press, 1996

© 1997 by the STC Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA