Tap Into Your Innovative Side

“Engineers need to be the stars of innovative projects and practices, not the politicians.” This was an idea shared at a brainstorming session at the Multi-Region Leadership Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, on how we can advance ASCE’s strategic goals. The quest to make engineers the stars of innovation is something ASCE champions through the Grand Challenge, which looks at improving resilience, innovation, life-cycle costs, and performance standards. Advancing innovation and putting engineers front and center in the public eye are critical as we look to solve the challenges of the future, increase awareness of the profession, and build on its appeal to the next generation.

But how do we advance innovation?

We can start by thinking differently and advancing new strategies and ideas related to innovative business models, the Internet of Things, sustainable engineering, and next generation transportation. By sharing new and disruptive innovations and ideas, we can reduce barriers and promote and develop emerging ideas for the profession.

The annual Innovation Contest is an important part of the ASCE Grand Challenge that looks to discover and springboard forward-looking infrastructure ideas. The contest is an avenue to transform our nation’s infrastructure and bring together engineers’ best ideas, projects, and theories for how to build a better future.

Last year’s Innovation Contest provided a perfect example of how engineers can be innovation influencers. Winning concepts varied in scope and scale, such as the Ocean Foresters’ “Global Food and Energy Security with Restorative Engineering,” which aims big, using seaweed to combat climate change. Another winning entry came from the father-daughter team of Robie Bonilla-Gris and Catalina Nadeau-Bonilla, whose “Anti-Scour Sheath” concept addresses a specific need that could be close to market-ready.

Established engineers are not the only ones making waves in the world of innovation. We have students across the globe competing in concrete canoe, steel bridge, and a variety of other competitions that require teamwork, communication, project management, and innovative strategies and solutions. Similarly, young prospective engineers in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades are researching, designing, and building innovative and sustainable cities of tomorrow in the Future City Competition.

I encourage you to learn more about the Grand Challenge and share your ideas for innovative practices and solutions. With your help, we can make engineers the superstars of innovation. If you or someone you know has an innovative engineering idea, please enter it in the 2018 Innovation Contest. Entries are welcomed up until the midnight March 1, 2018, deadline.


In case you missed them, here are some other ways we are working for you:

Connect with the Society’s most dynamic members with ASCE News’ Member Voices

Read what ASCE’s most talented members have to say. Through first-person storytelling, Elizabeth Ruedas, P.E., QISP, ENV SP, M.ASCE, shares her insight into the essential ingredients for career success, and Gyan Shrivastava, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, recalls a project that changed his career direction and perspective. Want to share your voice? Write to [email protected].

Tap a wealth of free technical references with new member benefit

Have you checked out AccessEngineering? This new member benefit, in partnership with McGraw-Hill Education, provides free access to resources spanning all disciplines. Log in and see how AccessEngineering’s handbooks, guides, calculators, and other tools could aid your project work.

Meet the ASCE members who made ENR’s top newsmakers list

Engineering News-Record recently announced its Top 25 Newsmakers for 2017, and ASCE members made up almost a third of the list. The honorees were recognized for their contributions to the construction industry and public. Meet the ENR Newsmakers and read more about their efforts.

Submit nominees for ASCE awards with March 1 deadlines

Many notable ASCE awards, especially in leadership and management, share a March 1 deadline for nominations. Among them: the Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award, the John I. Parcel–Leif J. Sverdrup Civil Engineering Management Award, the Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award, and the Civil Engineering Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Think of those you know who may be worthy and submit them for consideration.

Want to give back to the Society? Serve on an ASCE committee

Each year, thousands of professionals lend their time and expertise to support the Society’s efforts to continually enhance the practice of civil engineering. Offer your perspective – it could help advance the practice of civil engineering. Applications are accepted through March 15.

Meet the nominees for 2019 president-elect

Two longtime Society members are contending for 2019 president-elect and the step up to president in 2020. Appearing on the ballot in May will be Louis C. Aurigemma, P.E., F.ASCE, of Florida, and Kancheepuram N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, of Utah. Get to know the nominees and discover each’s aspirations for the presidency, so you can cast an informed vote.

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  1. Hi Thomas,
    This is very inspiring post.

    After reading this post, I’m inspired to be innovative.

    I think, as an engineer, we all should be innovative in our respective field.

    However, thanks for sharing this post.



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