August is National Inventor’s Month!
Hey! Engineers, scientists, thinkers, questioners, dreamers… yes, you… Look up from your notebooks, circuit boards, and computer monitors, blink into the light and see that we, the beneficiaries of your brainstorms, would like to thank you.
August is National Inventor’s Month. We have days of recognition for everything from mothers and fathers to the Constitution and tacos. Nearly every day has some sort of celebration assignment. But for you, a single day is not enough. You have been guiding the progress of man since the Stone Age. Finally, in 1998, the United Inventors Association of the USA (UIA-USA), the Academy of Applied Science, and Inventors’ Digest magazine founded National Inventor’s Month . This month, we need to pause, look around, and appreciate the problems you have solved and needs you have fulfilled.
We begin our days with toothbrushes and end them by speaking to smart devices to make our to-do lists and set our alarms for the next day. You have helped us with the simple things like rolling off the toilet paper, and the intimately complex things like advanced medical devices and procedures. You not only make our lives better, you also save them. Some inventions are contentious – dangerous when misused or misunderstood – but the power of the intellects behind scientific discoveries and novel uses cannot be denied. All things manufactured were first invented by someone.
But why? Why do you do it?
Is it compulsion? Does your mind ever turn off? An inventor must always be asking: “What if..?” or “How can..?” Problems are a-plenty. The problem-solving process is its own kinetic energy.
And you must enjoy the process. It is full of challenges and defeats that make those “Aha!” moments addictive and the production of a working invention the ultimate victory. Inventing is a cycle of risk-and-reward, both intellectually and financially. You realize that a failure is learning, and you use it to your advantage. You are brilliant and brave!
Even as children, you probably looked at a machine or a circuit and thought, “I bet I can figure out how they did that.” Were you the kid that took the Magic 8 Ball™ apart to see what was inside? Then, did you want to make it better? Instead of playing with toys, did you create new uses for household items and scraps from the workbench in the garage? You find what is different about the familiar, and then make it useful.
A lot of opinions are out there about what makes a great inventor. Some of the buzzwords to describe you are: demanding, creative, innovative, confident, inquisitive, self-motivated. It almost sounds like a new Zodiac sign. More practical information offers advice about how to be a good inventor. Experts will tell you how to navigate the patenting process and how to keep a thick skin and manage rejection. Most of you probably want to just keep inventing and not worry about the bureaucratic technicalities that are necessary for “success”. (Fortunately, companies and services are available to help you get through that.) Do what you do, how you do it. It’s working for you.
Here, we could list the quirky, fantastic, and most impactful innovations of all time. For example, can we find a better way to interact with animals? In 1991, Matsumi Suzuki worked on this problem and patented the Apparatus for determining dog’s emotions by vocal analysis of barking sounds and method for the same (US20030221630). Initially, it sounds far-fetched and unnecessary. But could where could any found insights take us? The Chinese gave us the compass 10 centuries ago and it remains at the center of advancements in navigation technology. As patented inventions, non-patented concepts, published literature, or public statements – recorded ideas and discoveries are countless. We could talk about the collective billions of dollars spent every year in research and development, intellectual property management, entrepreneurship, and litigation. It all means nothing without you, the inventors.
The people are what matter. The minds are what we need, what we cannot invent nor manufacture. Thank you, inventors, for being here, for being you, and for sharing yourselves so that mankind might continue to move forward. You provide inspiration. We might even be inspired to pursue ideas of our own. https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/inventors-month/. Accessed August 10, 2018.  https://www.digitalschool.ca/characteristics-of-the-inventors-mind/. Accessed August 10, 2018.