This chapter advocates and exemplifies a change in delivering mechanical engineering design (MED) to undergraduate students. It looks at, and critiques the current delivery mode which treats MED as an extension of Natural and Engineering Science, through its bias for analysis of existing systems. It is argued that even though students’ innovativeness might be getting slightly enhanced, their creativity is stunted by the mode. So, is their understanding of how machines evolve from human needs, and of how non science related issues affect the evolution. A new teaching approach which attempts to align student thinking and learning activities with what exists in industrial MED is suggested. In this approach, human needs drive engineering problem formulation, which in turn, precipitates a synthesis of machines, mechanisms and constituent elements to satisfy the needs in a regulated environment. The regulation obeys laws of science but is mostly, ‘Humanities’—constrained. Creativity and innovation case studies are given, and it is shown how new machines can come into existence in the course of learning MED. This would be difficult in the current delivery mode. The new mode, of synthesis followed by iterative analysis, helps students build self-confidence and prepares them better for industry.
Part of the book: New Innovations in Engineering Education and Naval Engineering