Aesthetic Engineering refers to the field where emotionally relevance and robustness meet in a balanced and integrated manner. Two classical examples of this are architecture and industrial design. Building have to last and also look good and European sports cars are beautiful and run reliably. The internet has been improving in this regard where content is emotionally engaging and relevant and the sites which house it also work robustly.
Artists are not always taught reliability and engineers are not always taught emotional relevancy but a small college in Silicon Valley had for a short time a degree granting program called Aesthetic Engineering. This program rapidly evolved into one called Innovation Management which ultimately led to the formation of the Silicon Valley Innovation Institute. The Aesthetic Engineering program encouraged artists to learn how to write code and coders to learn how to draw or play music. The thinking at the time was balancing the heart and mind was not enough, money had to enter into it as well, because the primary difference between creativity and innovation was a business model. In order to be creative one does not have to be operating under a business model but if innovation, applied insight is to be adopted than it has to be sustainable for long enough to be adopted and that generally requires a business model. The Innovation Management program included a new innovation project management process which balanced required resources and budgets against emotionally relevant value propositions.
Although innovation does not always have a vetted business plan as can be seen by the number of fits and starts that may have to be iterated through in order to work out populating the business model relating the appropriate variables by market supporting ratios to make sure the resource flow can be sustained.
And this was where aesthetic engineering sometime fell short. Examples like Italian sports cars that were a joy to behold and to drive as well but sometimes had a tendency to fall apart more quickly than less technically robust models. People who spend all of their effort and resources looking good sometimes neglect other necessary aspects of life and eventually pay the price.
Developing a life or a career integrating emotional relevancy and sustainability can also be a difficult balancing act which sometimes drives parents to advise their offspring to avoid the arts as a vocation but to become something more reliable in terms of earning such as becoming a licensed professional in medicine, law, and other high earning professions.
Some people go so far as to please their parents but sacrifice their own emotional needs. In other words they make money but are not satisfied. This is not the territory of the aesthetically engineered life. A different population may pursue their hearts desire and run out of steam when they can no longer pay the bills again the sustainability argument which pushed Aesthetic Engineering to rapidly evolve into Innovation Management at Cogswell Polytechnical.
One time honored solution has been for artists to have patrons or to spend a significant portion of their energies teaching. Most artists teach to bridge the financial gap which sometimes creates an artistic gap between academia and fine art. This happens in the performing arts as well as the fine arts.
Aesthetic Engineering can provide marketable skills permitting artists to commercialize their arts. In todays economy the most likely candidate is technical skills which also has the fringe benefit of leveraging artists to increase their creative footprint. More on that topic another day.