Innovating Engineering Education at Greenfield Sites: Transferable Insights from Doblin’s Model of Innovation

Fiona Boyle, Roger Hadgraft, Euan Lindsay, Ron Ulseth

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

18 Downloads (Pure)


This Innovative Practice Full Paper explores the emergence of a number of innovative new models for engineering education around the world in recent years. These models offer valuable insights for the engineering education community; however, the transferability of these insights to established programs has been hampered by misconceptions around their contexts.
Many of these new models have been established on greenfield sites that had not previously offered engineering degrees. The flexibility offered by working on a blank page has contributed to the success of these programs; however, it also fosters the misconception that this success is not transferrable to other institutions that already offer engineering degrees.
Examples of such programs are viewed through the lens of Doblin's Ten Types of Innovation. Launching a successful and sustainable new engineering program ultimately requires most, if not all, of the ten types of innovation at different stages of the implementation.
This paper will show the impact of the blank page context on the ten types of innovation. Some types of innovation (such as novel program structures) are made easier because of the absence of existing structures. This flexibility comes at the cost of greater difficulty in other types of innovation (such as implementing quality assurance) that comes from not having existing structures. Ultimately, the paper will show that the success of these programs is not due to their working on a blank page, but rather due to their adopting multiple dimensions from the Doblin framework, and their ability to adapt those innovations to the affordances offered by a greenfield environment.
We conclude by extending the model to show some examples of non-blank pages where substantial innovation has worked. The lessons demonstrated in the paper will guide engineering education innovators to focus on the kinds of innovation required, rather than the context in which they operate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)
Number of pages8
Publication date11 Oct 2022
Article number9962702
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-6245-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-6244-0
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2022
Event2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education (FIE) - Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 8 Oct 202211 Oct 2022


Conference2022 IEEE Frontiers in Education (FIE)
Internet address
SeriesProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE


Dive into the research topics of 'Innovating Engineering Education at Greenfield Sites: Transferable Insights from Doblin’s Model of Innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this