US Inspiration

The goal of the Foundation’s US Inspiration work is to inspire the next generation of inventors and to raise the awareness of the role of inventors, invention and invention-based enterprises in creating jobs, strengthening the US economy, and improving lives. To this end, we work with partners to establish programs which give youth opportunities to become inventors.

The whole idea behind this program that we've started is to get people such as you – young people – interested in invention. The future of this country of ours is in your hands. And if you think creatively in whatever you do, whether you be an inventor, a scientist or an engineer your lives will be much better and you will help all those around you to live better lives." – Jerry Lemelson

Core components of this work include programs and activities that celebrate inventors and invention and excite youth to become new inventors, such as:

  • Recognition prizes for invention and inventors, through partners such as the Lemelson-MIT Program and VentureWell 
  • Scholarly studies that document and celebrate the history of invention and innovation, like those at the Smithsonian Institution’s Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Museum exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities – like those at the Smithsonian Lemelson Center’s Spark!Lab – which uses fun activities to help kids and families learn about the history and process of invention – or InventionX – a program of CleanTech Open – which leads students through the process and thinking behind selecting an idea, designing their invention and pitching their solution.
  • Media programs such as support for National Public Radio’s Joe’s Big Idea which highlights how the scientific discovery process leads to technological inventions that improve lives