The ability to invent has always created wealth and prosperity for people, companies and countries. In recent years, however, some commentators believe we have lost our ability to invent as others take the lead and shape the world. Apple, Google, Facebook,Twitter and countless others are inventing new products and new services on a daily basis. Yet, many of us are content in our role as passive consumers of other people’s ideas and inventions.
Given the demand for places, however, at the recent Northern Ireland Science Park’s INVENT 2014 Quick Pitch competition, which involved 24 teams making three minute pitches to an expert judging panel, there is hope.
Even though some people believe inventors are born rather than made, there is general agreement that the ability to invent is a skill that can be learned and practiced.
Some inventors work alone in a solitary way over many years while others enjoy a more social approach and work happily as part of a team.
There are many views on the characteristics needed to be an inventor but they usually include curiosity, persistence, imagination, single-mindedness, self-belief and the ability to solve problems.
Similarly, there are different views on the barriers inventors face with some of the most common including a poor education system, lack of resources and a lack of legal protection.
While there are endless debates about the best and most useful inventions, the wheel, electricity, the internet and more recently the smartphone always rank highly.
In the past, the power of inventions has shaped the world – the first and second industrial revolutions, the space age – but it appears the current digital revolution is likely to be the most influential of all.
As a result, there has never been a better time to be an inventor and the starting point lies within our brain, as we apply it to find solutions to the problems (big and small) that surround us.
Whether you work or don’t work, have lots of ideas or none, see endless possibilities or only barriers, you can to develop your ability to invent.
Start with the everyday problems that surround you and simply find solutions, then repeat until it becomes a habit.
Luckily, finding solutions to problems and inventing new things and new ways of doing things is in our nature, so all we need to do is get started and the rest will take care of itself.
SO, we need to revisit our natural ability to invent in order to create a new future.
What do you think?
Can you invent the future?
Look forward to your comments.