Sunday, February 9, 2014

What We Can Learn From Caltech

Innovation is fueled by bring ideas from different spheres together.  Given that fact, it is still amazing how engineering at all levels and organizations specialize in dividing the world into tiny sub-disciplines. 

Caltech seems to understand this problem - from Caltech: Secrets from the world's number one university (link):

“I have 77 faculty in engineering and applied science. MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] has 490. How can I compete with an excellent place like MIT? We have to have engineers interact with all of the sciences and vice versa – it is a matter of survival. We don’t have the breadth to do things in a big way unless they interact.”

If Caltech’s size demands that its faculty work across traditional disciplinary boundaries to survive, it also makes such interaction exceptionally easy and natural.

While it may sound like a cliché, at Caltech exciting interdisciplinary ideas really are generated over a cup of coffee in the campus cafe, according to faculty.

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