Today I’m flying to Washington DC to participate in a fascinating two-day event, focused on helping our K-12 students learn how to be creative and innovative. This is a national priority in today’s global innovation economy. Here’s what my invitation letter, from the Lemelson Foundation, said:
Substantial challenges exist that, in part, can only be effectively addressed if creative minds invent the products that will meet those challenges….To create the inventions that will improve lives requires new generations who are inspired to be agents of change through invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Cultivating this ability is at the core of invention education.
The Lemelson Foundation’s approach to invention education is to support students to become inventors and to launch invention-based enterprises that create jobs and strengthen the economy.
I love it, and I said “yes” to this invitation right away.
The Lemelson Foundation is developing education programs that provide students with what they call an “invention toolkit” of the following skills:
- The capacity to think critically, and identify real-world problems and possible solutions (I would call this “design thinking”)
- Providing a strong base of skills in STEM disciplines (you can’t invent the new unless you know what already exists)
- Nurturing the ability to turn ideas into solutions through creating designs, fabricating prototypes, and incorporating entrepreneurial thinking (this is very much aligned with maker culture and entrepreneurship education)
This workshop is positioned right at the center of several important movements: design education, entrepreneurship education, and creativity and learning. My own research is most closely associated with the last, educating for creativity, but in my new professorship at the University of North Carolina, I am also developing entrepreneurship education programs.
Stay posted for another post when the event ends Tuesday afternoon!