STEM or STEAM … The Answer is the Same

The answer is … Yes!

We need both.

STEM is Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics

STEAM adds Arts.


Why Do Arts Matter?

Well, that’s not even a realistic question. But, I’ll answer it anyway.

Every bit of technology has a User Interface (UI) and there is also a User Experience (UX). Both play a critical role in the use or the technology.

The artistic skills of of the scientist can be completely wasted if they are not combined with the artistic skills of a UI / UX designer.

Have you ever complained about a User Interface?

  • Being Klunky
  • Being Kludgy
  • Being Unusable or Unpredictable

If yes, and who hasn’t experienced a bad UI, you can almost always be sure there wasn’t much thought put into the UI or UX.

When you have a good User Interface and User Experience ... you know it. Thank an Artist! (click2tweet)

In the past this was somewhat tolerated, but in the modern world with mobile devices, tablet devices and desktop computers it doesn’t serve the product or customer very well. This doesn’t even take into play the UI and UX we deal with in our automobiles, elevators and a lot of other every day experiences.

If you are a follower of the Scientific Method there are benefits to having a predictable and repeatable UI and UX. Specifically, in the sense that having a good UI and UX can help future efforts to repeat the experiments.

It’s More Than The Science

Another reason Arts should be included is that everyday items we use, look at, touch and otherwise interface with can and should have a pleasant, useful and dare I say … beautiful … appeal.

Consider some of the classic icons of style. They broke the mold and are still considered classics today. Of course, they are also copied widely. Why? Because they are aesthetically appealing and have a lot of practical functional.

Consider just a few of the iconic designs. Not all of them are in the technology arena. For example, Frank Lloyd Wright houses, the Philippe Starck Mouse, an Eames Chair, the Michael Graves Tea Pot, iPhone, Pixar Lamp. Not to mention designs on the grand scale like the One World Trade Center building or The Burj Khalifa in the UAE or the


Image result for teapot design target Image result for iphone

Arts Parts Matter

I’m sure you can guess by now that I’m a believer in the transition from STEM to STEAM. I hope you will encourage those that you know to pursue their dreams in the arts … and when possible … to help make a better, more usable product by working with some of the other STEM people.

Also, I’m a big believer is getting more Women in Technology. Take a look at my post about the Need for More STEMWIT’s.

What Do You Think?

  • Have Arts always been a part of the STEM efforts?
  • Is there a need to specifically include the Arts in the STEAM process?
  • What else can be done to get more people involved with STEAM?

Drop a comment here and let’s get the conversations started.

Image Credits: Target, Apple, FLW, Philippe Starck, Michael Graves, Pixar


Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2. He is currently the consulting with Microsoft and partners to drive Community Engagement and Alliances.

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@jshuey or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ He is active in the Microsoft Partner Community and is the co-founder and President of the IAMCP Seattle chapter.

He has contributed 200+ articles to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the #1 Career blog for Millennials, the Personal Branding Blog



Vagabondatheart said…
Jeff, as a former teacher who has taught physics, perhaps I was luckier than most. Physics easily intersects the world of art and vise versa as topics such as acoustics and E&M eventually led to great discussions about music and art. I don't know who said it and I'm paraphrasing here, but science and engineering provides the necessity and knowledge to live while art, music, and literature gives us the reason to live. Cheers! -Sung