Lessons from the 2014 Invention Convention

Wire Forms

Mary Fitzgerald – President, Acme Wire Products Co., Inc.

Last spring I was asked by a friend to participate as a judge at the Invention Convention competition at the elementary school where she is a 3rd grade teacher. The students participating were in grades from 1-5 and were very excited to be a part of the event. The judges were members of the local community, school faculty and business partners.

As the owner of Acme Wire Products, a manufacturing company specializing in custom engineered metal components, I am frequently contacted by designers and inventors to provide proposals & manufacture the component parts required for their inventions. Here are some of the “lessons learned” that I would like to share with the 2015 participants of the Invention competition.

  1.  Be enthusiastic about your creation. Be able to explain what your project/invention is, what the function is, why there is a need for it, how it works and how you developed it.
  2.  Follow the directions that the organizers provided and the rules of the competition so your brilliant idea is not disqualified.
  3. Test different variations, materials & hypotheses. What if something changes?  How does it affect the results?
  4. Record your failures and determine what you learned from them.
  5. Research the alternatives to your invention to determine the advantages of the product/invention.
  6. Try your invention/idea out before presenting. There should be several practice/test runs so you can operate & demonstrate the idea easily before the judging panel.
  7. Check the spelling – proofread the final presentation poster. Make sure everything is neat and steps are clear and easy to follow.

Every invention has something of value in it.  Many failed inventions were just steps in the creative process and the inventors used these steps to fine tune their creation. Practice patience & persistence! Good lessons for us all!