Developing engineering intuition

John Eckersley


The limitations of our knowledge base result in occasions when “engineering judgement” is required. But what is this, and can it be developed? Engineering and geotechnical training focusses on technical and perhaps managerial aspects but pays little attention to the development of engineering instincts.

This paper explores the concept of engineering intuition and suggests directions that may be pursued by (young) engineers to encourage its growth. This is based on reflections of my own experience and is primarily explored and illustrated within a geotechnical context.