We invest in programs and partnerships that educate future inventors so that they are equipped with the tools that will allow them to generate new inventions and translate their ideas into businesses with economic impact.
Young inventors require critical tools including:
- Cultivate the capacity to think critically, and identify real-world problems and possible solutions in the user’s context through questioning, empathy, idea generation, and design process thinking..
- A strong base of knowledge in skills necessary to invent, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
- The ability to learn to turn ideas into solutions through creating designs, fabricating prototypes, and incorporating entrepreneurial thinking.
This suite of tools, the Inventors' Toolkit, is powered by hands-on experiences that allow the inventor to turn ideas into inventions with impact. The Lemelson Foundation focuses on providing support for education projects and programs at the K-12 and collegiate level that incorporate the full Inventor’s Toolkit.
Yes, improving education in math and science is about producing engineers and researchers and scientists and innovators who are going to help transform our economy and our lives for the better. But it's also about something more. It's about expanding opportunity for all Americans in a world where an education is the key to success. It's about an informed citizenry in an era where many of the problems we face as a nation are, at root, scientific problems. And it's about the power of science to not only unlock new discoveries, but to unlock in the minds of our young people a sense of promise, a sense that with some hard work – with effort – they have the potential to achieve extraordinary things.” – President Barack Obama
Types of projects and programs in our US Education portfolio include:
- Support for Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement) a program providing after-school invention education opportunities to middle school and high school youth in our home state of Oregon
- InvenTeams , an initiative of the Lemelson-MIT Program, which challenges young inventors around the nation to turn their ideas into working prototypes in order to excite them about invention, empower them to solve problems, and encourage an inventive culture in schools and communities
- Experiential courses and programs at colleges and universities through VentureWell (formerly NCIIA) to support future-leaning curriculum that captures the imagination of students who want to create technologies to solve the world’s most pressing problems
- VentureWell's E-Teams, interdisciplinary teams of college students working to move their technological ideas from the lab to the market