In the recent past engineers did use lateral thinking and ingenuity to provide the whole solution (Freak out: it makes sense, NCE last week).
Unfortunately, in the UK the engineer's role in society has been stripped to its component parts by legislation and client's prescription engineering.
Why are safety, quality and environmental considerations no longer part of mainstream engineering, but matters for service industries- Why do client organisations specify the materials, procedures and manner of working- What is wrong with British Standards?
Due to a rash of unnecessary legislation, and a total lack of community respect for the title chartered engineer in UK, an industry of 'helpers' has grown which can demand attention and supporting documents, can audit and monitor, but will never take responsibility.
This has diminished intelligent engineering thought, and output to one quarter. Noone should be surprised when projects take twice as long, and four times the cost.
The crusade Tom Peters speaks of can only be to delete the legislation, and put the responsibility back with professional engineers.
Delete the fringe advisors, and delete the chain of blame that pervades our every move.
The UK cannot afford the current system, or the cost and time in delivering projects.
Legislation has been the death of innovation.
John Carrington, The Old Bakehouse, 15 Market Place, Folkingham, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 0SE