Over the past few decades, great ingenuity and invention has marked the history. Telephones, electricity, automobiles, radio, television and computers are few of the innovations that were introduced to the world by great engineers. Indeed, they have played a major part in changing the ways we see the world and our ways of living. Innovational speakers can also influence our understanding of the world, as they present new or improved ideas in an easy to understand manner. These keynote speakers give speeches that explain the newest innovations that a particular industry has to offer, making it easier for employees in that industry to use these innovations productively. For example, popular innovational speakers for Asia might give a speech on the newest advances in the telecommunications or computing industry. Engineers and designers can then use this information to improve the products or services that their company provides for consumers.

Some of the notable engineers with their great inventions include Bill Gates, the inventor of Microsoft for our personal computer; Robert Kahn, one of the originators of the Internet; Wright brothers, who invented, designed, created and flew the first working airplane; and Wilson Greatbatch, an American engineer and inventor of the pacemaker. All these clearly demonstrate how engineering has changed the world through inventions and discoveries that made a huge impact to our life.

Edwin Chung Chin Yau

Deputy Dean of Taylor’s University School of Engineering & Head for Taylor’s Technology Innovation Centre

Dr. Edwin Chung is the Deputy Dean (Innovation and Enterprise) for the School of Engineering at Taylor’s University and the Head for Taylor’s Technology Innovation Centre.  Dr. Chung graduated from Monash University (Clayton) with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science, a Bachelor of Engineering with first class honours majoring in Electrical & Computer Systems Engineering and a PhD researching into asynchronous circuit design methodology.  He started his career in the semiconductor industry and has been attached to both the design and the manufacturing functions of the industry.  He has worked on various products design such as a 3G baseband processor while with NEC Australia and a 32 bit microRISC controller core while he was with Motorola in Adelaide.

Prior to joining Taylor’s University Dr. Chung was an Innovation Consultant with Kwerkus Six – a startup he founded together with five other ex-Intel staff from Intel’s IT Innovation Centre.  During his time with Intel’s IT Innovation Centre & Kwerkus Six, he has helped organisations learned the art of innovation as well as adopt innovation as a corporate culture.  Amongst these organisation is a subsidiary of a multinational oil and gas company who filed their first patent with the assistance of Dr. Chung.  Since joining Taylor’s University, Dr. Chung has introduced design modules into the engineering programmes’ syllabus which introduce students to the art and science of innovation.  Dr. Chung like to consider himself a computer scientist and an electrical & computer systems engineer by training, an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) design engineer by career planning, and now, an innovation practitioner and an educator by accident.

During an interview with Dr. Chung, he shares some of his outlook on innovation in the field of engineering:

Q: How does Taylor’s University School of Engineering adopt the concept of innovation in its teaching and learning approach?

A: This is a very good question. Firstly, we use the word innovation all the time and from my experience, we may not have a common understanding of this word.  Try this experiment, ask the next ten people you meet what is “Innovation” and you may end up with just as many different definitions.  Some will relate it to something new, something creative, a new application of something existing, an improvement of something existing, an invention or a combination of these.  Now, the dictionary defines the word innovation as something new or a new process.  Yet, not everything new can be considered an innovation nor are all innovations something new.  Most innovation practitioners will define the word innovation along the line of “the creation of value through the implementation of idea.”  Here at Taylor’s University School of Engineering, we too define innovation in the same way.  Innovation is about the creation of value.  Accordingly, we believe we create value in our students through project-based learning.  Here, through their projects, students are placed in situations where they will experience similar challenges most of us faced at work.  So in addition to domain specific knowledge, emphasise are also placed on soft and cognitive skills.  Skills that will prepare our students for the unknown.

 

Also, engineers are generally viewed as analytical minded people who are left brain heavy.  Every single engineering schools in the country, and possibly majority of schools around the world, produce engineering graduates that fits this description.  I like our students to be design engineers who not only have well developed left brain, but are able to flex their right brain just as well.  This is probably the only engineering school in the country where everyone is exposed to the art of innovation based on design thinking and TRIZ the science of innovation.

 

Q: Share one of your research studies with us and its outcome.

A: I didn’t do any serious research after my PhD and the closest I got to any form of research like activities were all those IC (integrated circuit) design projects I was involved in.  One of this was the design of a HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) module used in 3G mobile handsets when I was with NEC Australia.  The decoding of HSDPA signals involves mathematics that were not too complex but a simple hardware solution for such decoder had earlier eluded many of us.  The outcome of this work, if it can be classified as research, is a worldwide patent filling by NEC Japan and this patent has been active since its initial filling in Australia in 2003.

 

Q: In your opinion, how do you see the future for innovation in engineering in Malaysia?

A: The cup is only a third full.  We have lots of room for improvement and things can only get better.

 

Q: As the Deputy Dean of SOE, how is the Engineering programme offered by Taylor’s University School of Engineering (SOE) exclusive?

A: Taylor’s University School of Engineering is a project-based learning school.  What this means is that every student will need to work on a project every semester starting from Semester 1. This is rather unusual as most engineering schools will only introduce their students to projects at Year 3 and sometime year 4.  These projects are important not only for students to sharpen their soft and cognitive skill as mentioned earlier, they also help students learn about their strengths and weaknesses where they can get assistance from their mentor to improve themselves.

Time and again, we have noticed that these projects deepen students’ understanding of what they learn in class.  It also put them in an environment that is similar with what they will experience when they get to the industry. This is so effective that a number of schools from China, Vietnam and Thailand have sent delegates to learn from us.


For more information on the programmes offered by Taylor’s University School of Engineering (SOE), you may visit us at: