Is engineering held back by the collective attitude?

When I look at engineering forums, I see an interesting set of attitudes. On one hand, when someone asks a technical questions, wanting to learn more about a topic like thermodynamics, experienced engineers share helpful answers, links, and insight. They want to help engineers grow as people.

On the other hand, I find that when people share new ideas for new inventions, the collective is brutal. And perhaps that’s the engineer’s personality at work. Rationally evaluating everything with what they know. However, it’s easy for these brutal comments on how no new invention is practical or possible, to kill the drive for any vision.

While eventually the rubber has to meet the road, and practicality and feasibility need to be determined, too much negativity in the discovery phase will kill the interest and it may be holding society back. Engineers have insight into energy, AI, clean water, and other important topics, but if we don’t allow for the people component, none of these insights will ever be brought to market.

It’s great to state challenges for an invention being proposed and what would need to be overcome, it’s another to start that with “This will never work because…”

To add a line I heard from a motivational speaker once, “Use ‘Wow!’ Not ‘How?'” When a new concept is forming, it’s not that you should be skeptical but be appreciative of the new idea, start by saying, “Wow! Thanks for bringing something new to the table. Let’s explore how we would get there.”

Subtle changes in feelings can have a big impact.