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Sci Eng Ethics. 2004 Apr;10(2):235-42.

Eight-dimensional methodology for innovative thinking about the case and ethics of the Mount Graham, Large Binocular Telescope project.

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Department of Science, Technology and Society, Division of Technology, Culture and Communication, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22904, USA.


This paper introduces the Eight Dimensional Methodology for Innovative Thinking (the Eight Dimensional Methodology), for innovative problem solving, as a unified approach to case analysis that builds on comprehensive problem solving knowledge from industry, business, marketing, math, science, engineering, technology, arts, and daily life. It is designed to stimulate innovation by quickly generating unique "out of the box" unexpected and high quality solutions. It gives new insights and thinking strategies to solve everyday problems faced in the workplace, by helping decision makers to see otherwise obscure alternatives and solutions. Daniel Raviv, the engineer who developed the Eight Dimensional Methodology, and paper co-author, technology ethicist Rosalyn Berne, suggest that this tool can be especially useful in identifying solutions and alternatives for particular problems of engineering, and for the ethical challenges which arise with them. First, the Eight Dimensional Methodology helps to elucidate how what may appear to be a basic engineering problem also has ethical dimensions. In addition, it offers to the engineer a methodology for penetrating and seeing new dimensions of those problems. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the Eight Dimensional Methodology as an analytical tool for thinking about ethical challenges to engineering, the paper presents the case of the construction of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mount Graham in Arizona. Analysis of the case offers to decision makers the use of the Eight Dimensional Methodology in considering alternative solutions for how they can proceed in their goals of exploring space. It then follows that same process through the second stage of exploring the ethics of each of those different solutions. The LBT project pools resources from an international partnership of universities and research institutes for the construction and maintenance of a highly sophisticated, powerful new telescope. It will soon mark the erection of the world's largest and most powerful optical telescope, designed to see fine detail otherwise visible only from space. It also represents a controversial engineering project that is being undertaken on land considered to be sacred by the local, native Apache people. As presented, the case features the University of Virginia, and its challenges in consideration of whether and how to join the LBT project consortium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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