Philosophy and Engineering

Volume 26 of the series Philosophy of Engineering and Technology pp 255-266


Open Innovation and the Core of the Engineer’s Domain

  • Albrecht FritzscheAffiliated withInstitute of Information Systems, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg Email author 

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Engineering as a professional domain is usually understood as the driving force of innovation. Recently, however, various forms of open innovation have become popular that do not necessarily require engineers as contributors. How does this affect the conception of the engineer? This paper assumes that open innovation proceeds as an evolutionary process. Computational models show that such processes need careful design. Even if engineers do not appear explicitly in open innovation, they can nevertheless be considered as parts of it, inasmuch as they provide the framework in which technical progress becomes possible. The engineer’s domain should therefore not be understood as a closed sphere containing innovation, but rather as a surface organizing the environment in ways that makes it possible to address change as innovation.


Open innovation Engineering as a profession Systems theory Evolutionary modeling