As a professional engineer working in the compliance field, I would like draw attention to the importance of the engineering method in compliance. The engineering method is a powerful tool for developing practical solutions to complex problems, making it an essential asset in meeting stakeholder obligations. In this article, we will explore the key differences between the scientific and engineering methods, and explain why the latter is particularly effective in the compliance field.
We will discuss the benefits of the engineering method in ensuring safety, security, sustainability, and quality, and examine how it can help meet the diverse goals of stakeholders. Furthermore, we will analyze why there aren't enough engineers working in the compliance field, and explore the potential reasons for this discrepancy.
By highlighting the potential of the engineering method and its benefits, we hope to encourage more engineers to consider pursuing careers in compliance. The field of compliance is becoming increasingly important in today's globalized and highly regulated world, and it requires the expertise and skills of a diverse range of professionals to meet stakeholder obligations.
The Scientific and Engineering method
The scientific method and the engineering method are two distinct approaches to problem-solving, each with their unique set of strengths and limitations. While both methods are valuable in their own right, engineering has a significant edge over science when it comes to addressing the complex societal and world problems specifically with respect to meeting stakeholder obligations.
What is the Scientific Method?
The scientific method is a structured approach to discovering and understanding the natural world. It is a systematic process of asking questions, gathering data, and formulating and testing hypotheses. The scientific method aims to develop and refine theories that explain natural phenomena by making observations, conducting experiments, and analyzing data.
What is the Engineering Method?
The engineering method, on the other hand, is a systematic approach to designing, developing, and implementing practical solutions to real-world problems. The engineering method involves identifying a problem or opportunity, generating multiple potential solutions, evaluating those solutions, and selecting the best one. It also involves testing and refining the chosen solution to ensure that it meets the requirements and constraints of the problem.
Differences between the Scientific and Engineering Method
The primary difference between the scientific method and the engineering method lies in their respective goals. The scientific method aims to develop theoretical models and explanations for natural phenomena, while the engineering method aims to solve real-world problems and improve the human condition. The scientific method is concerned with understanding the natural world, while the engineering method is concerned with applying that understanding to create practical solutions.
Another key difference between the two methods is their approach to experimentation. In the scientific method, experiments are designed to test specific hypotheses and theories. In contrast, the engineering method involves designing experiments to test and refine practical solutions to real-world problems. The scientific method seeks to discover general laws and principles that govern the behavior of natural systems, while the engineering method seeks to optimize and improve specific systems and technologies.
Why the Engineering Method is Important to Compliance
Here are some of the benefits of the engineering method in meeting stakeholder obligations:
Systematic approach: The engineering method is a systematic approach to problem-solving that involves defining the problem, gathering information, analyzing data, developing solutions, and testing them. This helps ensure that compliance objectives are met in a thorough and comprehensive way.
Safety: The engineering method is particularly effective in ensuring safety. Engineers use risk analysis and other tools to identify potential hazards and develop solutions to minimize or eliminate them. This helps prevent accidents and injuries and ensures compliance with safety regulations.
Security: The engineering method can also help meet security objectives by identifying vulnerabilities in systems or processes and developing solutions to address them. This can include physical security measures, cybersecurity protocols, and other strategies to protect against threats.
Sustainability: The engineering method is well-suited to meeting sustainability objectives by developing and implementing solutions that minimize environmental impact and conserve resources. This can include designing more efficient systems and processes, reducing waste, and implementing renewable energy sources.
Quality: The engineering method can also help ensure quality by developing and implementing quality control measures, testing and validation procedures, and other strategies to ensure products and services meet desired standards.
Stakeholder goals: The engineering method is effective in meeting the diverse goals of stakeholders by identifying their needs and developing solutions that address them. This can include engaging with stakeholders throughout the design and implementation process to ensure their concerns and preferences are considered.
The engineering method is a powerful tool for meeting compliance objectives. Its systematic approach, risk analysis tools, and problem-solving strategies can help develop effective solutions that meet obligations to address a diverse set of stakeholder needs.
Why We Need More of the Engineering Method
While the scientific method has contributed enormously to our understanding of the natural world, it has limitations when it comes to solving complex societal and world problems. These problems often require more than just theoretical understanding; they require practical solutions that can be implemented in the real world.
This is where the engineering method comes in. By focusing on practical solutions, the engineering method is better equipped to address complex problems such as climate change, resource depletion, and public health crises. The engineering method is goal-oriented, interdisciplinary, and collaborative, making it well-suited to tackle these multifaceted challenges.
In addition to its problem-solving capabilities, the engineering method also has the potential to drive economic growth and social development. By designing and implementing new technologies and systems, engineers can create jobs, improve quality of life, and promote sustainable development.
Why There are Few Engineers Working in the Compliance
There are a few reasons why there may not be as many engineers working in the compliance field:
Lack of awareness: Engineers may not be aware of the opportunities that exist in the compliance field, or they may not fully understand the role of compliance in organizations. This lack of understanding may lead them to pursue other career paths.
Different skill sets: Compliance professionals often require skills that engineers may not possess. While engineers are trained to solve technical problems, compliance professionals require skills such as communication, regulatory analysis, and policy development.
Different career paths: Engineers may choose to pursue career paths in technical roles, such as product development, research and development, or technical consulting. These career paths may be more aligned with their technical skills and interests, and may not require them to shift to a compliance role.
Perception of compliance as a non-technical role: There may be a perception that compliance is not a technical field and that it does not require a strong technical background. This perception may dissuade engineers from considering a career in compliance.
Perception of compliance as an audit problem: When compliance is left to the audit department it is too late to be proactive and for problem solving, design, and building of solutions to meet stakeholder obligations. These engineering activities need to happen sooner and earlier for organizations to stay ahead for risk. This perception limits the opportunity for engineering to make a difference.
However, it is worth noting that many organizations are recognizing the importance of technical expertise in the compliance field, particularly in areas such as data privacy, cybersecurity, and product safety. As a result, we may see more engineers entering the compliance field in the future.
Engineers are crucial in meeting compliance obligations, yet their presence in the field is not as prevalent as it could be. Lack of awareness, different skill sets, and perceptions of compliance as a non-technical field have contributed to this gap.
However, the engineering method offers a systematic approach to problem-solving that can help meet stakeholder obligations comprehensively and effectively. By identifying and addressing potential hazards, optimizing systems and processes, and developing sustainable solutions, engineers can help ensure compliance with safety, security, and sustainability regulations.
In addition, the engineering method's interdisciplinary and collaborative nature makes it well-suited to tackle complex societal and world problems, such as climate change and public health crises, and drive economic growth and social development.
As more organizations recognize the importance of technical expertise in the compliance field, we can expect to see more engineers entering the field in the future.