IN THIS SUMMARY
In the past, an engineer’s primary focus was finding simple and elegant ways of implementing design requirements. To succeed today, however, engineers must also possess an understanding of environmental issues, legal issues, and business issues. In Citizen Engineer, David Douglas and Greg Papadopoulos examine the nature of engineering in today’s world and discuss how engineers are becoming the link between the world of science and society. The authors suggest that Citizen Engineers have five primary responsibilities: 1. They are required ethically to make decisions that preserve the public’s safety, health, and welfare. In addition, they are obligated to reveal factors that could cause harm to the environment or the public. 2. They are more than mere technical problem-solvers. While Citizen Engineers do address issues related to their area of expertise, they are also becoming involved in the political process. 3. They are morally obligated to evaluate the environmental impact of the products and services they design over their entire lifecycle. 4. They use technological innovations in a responsible and ethical manner. In addition, Citizen Engineers actively contribute to the knowledge base in their area of expertise. 5. They design products that guarantee end users’ safety, security, and privacy. Although the book is divided into four sections, the greatest focus is given to eco-responsibility and intellectual property law, since the authors believe these subjects have the greatest urgency for engineers today. Lifecycle analysis is discussed in-depth as a tool that can be used to improve the environmental friendliness of products and services. In addition, intellectual property concepts such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and open source software are explored. Citizen Engineer is most relevant to engineers who design and build products. However, it would also be of interest to managers in all business disciplines, managers of engineers, as well as consumers. Appendices with a list of “Required Reading for Citizen Engineers” and lifecycle phase checklists are provided.