What Is The Invention Convention?

What is it?

Invention is an age old process since early human evolution. It is a simple process – finding a viable solution to a problem. Early humans created wooden and stone tools to augment their daily activities. It was not until early 1400s that the first patent was granted and the product commercialization started in a protected environment.

As of 2014, the country with highest number of patents, 300,678 is USA. Kudos to us…but, let’s not relax, not far behind with 233,228 is China [1]

Some of the notable inventions [2] in USA are,

o Zip
o Traffic signals
o Microwave
o eMail
o Mobile Phone
o Computer
o Internet

Some of the Connecticut inventions [3] are,

o Can Opener
o Portable Typewriter
o Submarine
o Sports on Cable
o Frisbee
o Vulcanized Rubber

Just imagine our life without these gadgets!!! In particularly, Smart Phone…

In order to build the creative mindset in children an organization was formed at state level in 1983 called, Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC). We are fortunate to have such an organization at our door step and should avail every benefit of it. Today, CIC has grown to become the largest organization (in terms of number of participants) in the nation to organize such an event. Participation has grown so large that, for the first time, this year, the regional contests are being conducted, leading to State Finals. On average every year, more than 15,000 students from more than 225 schools participate in this program, leading to about 1000 finalists (in 2016). These finalists participate in the statewide event conducted by CIC at UCONN in Storrs.

Why?

As we tend to find solutions to our own problems, the process of invention is institutionalized naturally in us. When we find a solution to a common problem facing the masses, it becomes an Invention and when it is patented, it becomes a protected commodity.

Where?

Milford Education Foundation (MEF) is the primary sponsor of Milford Invention Convention (MIC), which is geared for students in grades K-8. It has participants from all Middle Schools Enrichment Programs, after school clubs, and Library Program, where K-5 kids from all Elementary schools in MPS can participate.

The library program is run by MEF Board Members and dedicated volunteers. The library program offers workshops as below for two age groups, grades K-2 and 3-5. Registration is open and can be signed up here.

If you are unable to make it to the workshops, but you are interested in participating in MIC, you can do a home study. Please contact MEF (at info@milfordedfoundation.org) for further details.

Milford Invention Convention is conducted across the entire Milford School District on March 11th 2017 at Johnathan Law High School. Any child unable to participate in this creative event, can still benefit by visiting the convention and viewing the Inventions made by fellow students. Such a trip would be truly inspirational.

How?

Invention is a simple four step process,

Step 1 – What is the problem we are solving?

Step 2 – What are the possible solutions? Narrow down to a solution

Step 3 – Build a prototype and refine the product

Step 4 – Present your product

Problems arise from situations, such as, dishes in the kitchen cannot be cleaned properly or a handicap person has a trouble handling their pets etc. Once a problem has been identified, come up with plausible solutions. Document your progress in the Invention log (provided by CIC). Brainstorm on all the solutions and narrow down to one or two potential solutions. Now build the prototypes and test them. This is the most important step. Testing reveals vital design strengths and weakness. Work on the weaknesses till the product works to your satisfaction. Keep updating your Invention Log all along. Finally, prepare presentation board and rehearse the presentation. Without a sales pitch, your product cannot be sold!!!

Embedding a solution driven approach in children, should make them solve their own issues, or at least present us (as parents/guardians) with some solutions. That is, the child would say, Mom/Dad, I have this issue and these is how I plan to solve it. That’s when the child will be in ‘Life’ cruise control. So, one way to expose your child (K-5) to this experience is to register them at the above link.

MEF offers Creative, Innovative and Educational programs like Milford Invention Convention and Minds In Motion (coming soon, in the next article).

About the author:

Kishore Kothapalli is a resident of Milford for more than a decade and has two daughters, Nihitha and Harshitha, going to Milford Public Schools. Kishore has worked in Manufacturing, Education and Reinsurance Industries for total of more than two decades. He has been a Board of Director and a Vice President of MEF, a judge at state level Invention Convention, a virtual judge at National Qualifier and a co-chair of Milford Invention Convention. He enjoys every moment of his involvement in Invention Convention events.

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References:

[1] Wikipedia -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Intellectual_Property_Indicators
[2] Owlcation.com – https://owlcation.com/humanities/10-American- Inventions-That- Changed-The-World
[3] Mentalfloss – http://mentalfloss.com/article/18064/9-great- inventions-come- connecticut