Inspiration – Innovation in primitive places

Chapter 2, Activity 1

Activity 1a: Jungle bridge building

Watch the living bridge video

Answer the following questions:

1. What was the unique problem faced by the people of Meghalaya?

2. How do you think this tradition of weaving vines into a living bridge is innovative?

3. What other innovative ideas could you come up with to solve the problem of building bridges that can stand up to driving rain and flooding multiple times every year?

Activity 1b: Light it up!

Watch the TedTalk video about a young Masai boy from Kenya and his innovative idea.

Answer the following questions:

1. What was the unique problem faced by the Masai people of Kenya?

2. What other innovative ideas, using all the technology available in your world, could you come up with to solve the problem of keeping lions away from cattle?

3. How do you think this boy's idea for keeping lions out of the cattle pens might be extended to other users, or to solve different problems?

4. What kind of business might this boy develop to maximize his invention's marketability?

State The Problem

Chapter 2, Activity 2

Designers often begin a project with a “statement of the problem”. The product they design will attempt to solve the problem defined in the statement. Write a problem statement below.

Hint: The statement needs to be short, and to the point, but detailed enough for the customer to understand fully what the problem is that the product is attempting to solve.

Sample Statement of the Problem

A Look Back in Time

Chapter 2, Activity 3

Ben Franklin

Throughout history, entrepreneurs have tried and failed, picked themselves up, and tried again, sometimes over and over again before they were successful. There is a difference between an inventor and an entrepreneur. Sometimes they are one and the same person, but often times, inventors get so caught up in new ways to solve problems, they never go the next step. Entrepreneurs put the new innovative ideas into action.

Activity 3a: Problems & Solutions

How many of the things listed on this website below are still in use in some way or another today?

  • Benjamin Franklin's Smaller Inventions
  • Do you think that Franklin was motivated to make a lot of money with his inventions? Did he maximize his ability to benefit financially from others who used or improved his inventions? Why or why not?

    Do you think that Franklin was motivated to make a lot of money with his inventions? Did he maximize his ability to benefit financially from others who used or improved his inventions? Why or why not?

    Innovation Station

    Chapter 2, Activity 6

    Now, it's your turn to be innovative! Broadly defined, innovation is creating something new to solve a need.

    Step one:

    Make this process meaningful to a business you might like to start. Think about the area you are most interested in, and consider times when you have felt a need for something to help you work or play in that area. Make a list of “problems” that your new idea might address.

    Step two:

    Identify the problem you'd like to solve, and write a short “Problem Statement”. You'll refer to the problem many times as you use innovative thinking to find the answer.

    Step three:

    Brainstorm a solution to the problem. When you are brainstorming, anything is fair game. Don't put any limits on your ideas at first (i.e. money, time, etc.). Try to come up with the longest and craziest list possible. If you have access to it, use mind mapping (MM) software to input your ideas for the brainstorming process into some kind of organized format. Google mind mapping, and you'll find lots of free software offers. If you don't have access to MM software, just play with your ideas a bit – putting them into some kind of hierarchy, move them around – figure out what resonates most with you for a new business venture.

    Step four:

    Seek some help/advice, and sort through the ideas. This time, consider constraints – time, money, accessibility, potential market, and so forth.

    Step five:

    Take your idea to your “Friendly Critics” to see if others think your idea is a good one. This could be the start of something big! If not, do the process again. Creativity is a cyclical process. In other words, you don't start at one point, and end at another following a straight line. You may need to go back and “reinvent the wheel” many times before you find the best solution to your problem.


    Follow The Code

    Estella has an idea for the next new fashion trend. Her friend Eric thinks she's really on to something, and can see where she could create a business and make a lot of money marketing her idea. Estella is very “on again, off again” developing her idea, so Eric tells another friend, Eugene, about it. Eugene is a natural entrepreneur, and since Estella hasn't patented her idea, Eugene jumps on it and opens a business. Meet The Code

    Foundation

    Concept Development

    When an inventor has a really good idea for a new product, one of the first steps he/she should take is to “patent” the idea with the government in order to protect the interests of the inventor in the marketplace. The first step might be to make a provisional application for patent which is relatively quick to execute and which will give the inventor a bit of time (one year) to make a formal patent application. Formal patent applications are available in two forms, design patents, which protect the design details (or the looks) of the product; and utility patents, which protect the function of the product. Not all inventors secure patents for their ideas. Benjamin Franklin was a notable inventor who never applied for a single patent. Go to the website uspto.gov for detailed information on patents.

    There is no such thing as an international patent, but inventors can submit a provisional application for a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)to establish a filing date in all countries which participate in the treaty. After filing the PCT, inventors have 3 years to secure national patents in individual countries.


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