Monday, March 31, 2008
Simcoe Reformer © Copyright 2008, Sun Media Corporation
Young minds think big - Inventor Conference Held At Holy Trinity by Ashley House, Simcoe Reformer
A group of nine- and 10-year-old Catholic school student inventors proved that children really can be seen and heard during an inventors conference Saturday at Holy Trinity Catholic High School.
"We should talk to young people and encourage them to have ideas," said inventor Keith Black. "Inventing is a vehicle for enthusiasm and they may find their meaning or where they are going in the future."
The conference, where amateur inventors pitched their ideas to around 20 industry manufacturers, marketers and distributors, was the big finale to a five-day workshop put on by the Inventors College Organization in Brantford.
The purpose of the workshop is to promote creativity through inventing and make the inventing process a real option for creative minds.
Thirty children, including eight Norfolk County students, learned about brainstorming techniques, searching for patents and how to apply for patents. They also learned how to present their ideas to industry reps.
"Without the industry guys, the whole workshop is just an exercise," said Otto Schmidt, who came up with the idea of the workshops with the help of inventor Jim Szabo. "We encourage them to come out and seriously consider some of these ideas."
Which is exactly what they did. Industry representatives circled the room speaking with every young inventor.
"There are several ideas that I'm interested in," said Tom Gaasenbeck, president of Memex Electronics out of Burlington. "There are a few that I could use all or part of their invention."
While it is yet to be seen whether the next big thing will come from the mind of a 10-year-old Norfolk student, the kids deemed the day a success.
"It made me realize that you can do anything if you just try," said inventor Andrew Vallee from St. Joseph's in Simcoe. "I like talking to (business representatives) and seeing where they would change things and make it better."
He said their interest gave him "courage and hope" for the future.
Kim Gubbels, a student at St. Frances Cabrini in Delhi, was very excited about the whole workshop.
"I will be more creative than I was before," she said. "It was so much fun and different from school."
While a disclosure contract limits the Reformer from reporting what inventions were presented, there was a wide variety that ranged from modified sports equipment to inventions that could improve the health and safety industry or gadgets to help around the house.
"Good ideas can come from anywhere and young people look at things differently," Gaasenbeck said. "Where we take things for granted, they look at it with fresh eyes."
He added that many of the inventions were what kids would actually want to use.
What that is saying to me is that adults can't be innovative in a kid's world," he said.
Besides the calibre of inventions, Gaasenbeck was also impressed with the level of professionalism coming from the young inventors.
"The fact they had their little business plans and business cards and had done patent and market searches showed they were very professional," Gaasenbeck said.
The kids were also taped for an upcoming TVO show called Think Big, which will air in the fall.
© Copyright 2008, Simcoe Reformer. Reprinted with permission of the Simcoe Reformer
Monday, Jan. 14, 2008
MetroActive Business Networking Newsletter
MetroActive Sponsors Inventors Workshops for Next Generation of Canadian Inventors ...Promises to Generate New Business Through Inventing.
by Otto. Schmidt, Director/Instructor, Accent on Skills Consulting "Inventors College Workshops", Toronto, ON, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.accentonskills.com
There are countless inventors in every city! Where are they? Why don't we hear more about them and their inventions? Imagine the new business that could be generated if they made their products and services available! Unfortunately, there is considerable fear, hesitation, dread, lack of motivation, and lack of knowledge that keeps many inventions in the closet.
Accent on Skills Consulting (ASC) conducted a study of inventing clubs/associations and public school inventing units. A lack of adequate training and support were determined to be the two key problems for inventors of any age. The Inventors College Workshops is ASC's solution to the challenges and opportunities facing young Canadian inventors.
Problems & Issues in the Inventing World
* Failure to do proper searches. Time is wasted on inventions that already exist.
* Inability to creatively determine a wide client base. This leads to misgivings, procrastination and abandonment of ideas.
* Lack of expertise on specific aspects of inventing e.g. electrical, model making, pricing, etc. An "It's too hard and not worth it." attitude develops.
* Inability to locate direct expert help. Inventions lie idle for years while inexperienced inventors seek help haphazardly.
* Legal and financial aspects can be intimidating. Inventors hesitate to continue with applications, searches, business plans, etc.
* Lack of finances to build proper models, prototypes, samples, etc. and where to find the investment money
* Inventors don't know how to generate many ideas. Inventions are hoarded.
Inventors College Solutions
1. Inventors are taught personal skills vital to developing many ideas and how to present themselves and inventions effectively. (in creativity, problem solving, communication, self-awareness)
2. Course participants learn legal and technical aspects of inventing.
3. We bring the market to the inventors! An exhibition of inventions is held for a select audience of experts and potential investors.
As a long time MetroActive member ACL met with Baldo Minaudo, Founder and President of MetroActive Lifestyle Network to discuss the research findings. Baldo showed immediate interest in the project as he himself is both a Venture Capitalist interested in helping bring new ideas to market, but also an amateur Inventor. As a result, MetroActive is one of the first to sponsor the Inventors College Workshops.
"Every business and community leader should be interested in and help support the development of our next generation of inventors", commented Baldo Minaudo. "It only makes our community stronger and I encourage all the MetroActive members to participate in supporting the program", he declared.
We invite all MetroActive members and friends to be part of the team: We have an extensive support team of business and technology experts (over 300 at this time) who receive exclusive invitations to exhibitions. They have first opportunities to meet our inventors, inspect and discuss new inventions, and decide if and how to get involved in taking new inventions into the marketplace. This is done in several ways: networking with other team experts, offering products/services to inventors, forming alliances with other company representatives that attend. Chances of inventions going into the market and new business being generated are maximized.
At the first exhibition with young children, there were twenty-two original inventions with four being selected by support team members for further development. We simply brought the market to the inventors!
Inventing is vital to the growth and wealth of Canada. MetroActive members are invited to be a part of our venture. Be part of the Inventors College Support Team and share your expertise at our inventing exhibitions. Contact us at any time for details.
May 23, 2007
Honing youth skills; retired teacher develops plans for inventor's camp for children
ALLAN BENNER Local News, Welland Tribune, Welland, Ontario, Canada
After meeting with a group of inventors a few years ago, Otto Schmidt was left wondering why it took so long to develop an invention, and why people who come up with inventions seem to be so old.
To address those problems, Schmidt, a retired teacher of gifted children in Toronto schools, developed plans for an inventor's camp for children.
"The idea was to have young people engaged in inventing at an early age, that would be potentially the future members (of the inventor's group)," he said.
From there, he teamed up with mechanical engineer Jim Szabo to expand the idea.
"We decided that between us we had the skills that we could put something really special together," he said.
"My specialty is skills training and Jim's specialty is the technical aspect. I'm not an inventor, I'm a teacher. He's not a teacher, but he's an inventor. We're bringing the two together."
Together, they developed a series of workshops called the Inventors College Workshops.
Schmidt and Szabo will present their program during the 45th annual Advanced Technology Think Tank, organized by Welland resident Steve Krar.
The think tank is being held at Samoset Lodge in Monetville, Ont., June 3 to 7.
Ultimately, Schmidt said the new program they're launching is designed to teach young people the skills they need to make their ideas into reality.
"What we're doing here is saying, let's make it as real as possible," he said.
Drawing from his expertise in mechanical engineering and as a millwright, Szabo said he has a "very practical" approach to making things work.
"And what I'm going to do is teach these students the basic principles. Those basics are very strong tools that can apply in a broad sense," he said.
Also, as an inventor, and member of inventor groups, Szabo said he has an understanding of entrepreneurism and marketing.
In addition, he said they will also bring in professionals, entrepreneurs, patent lawyers and marketing and manufacturing industry representatives "to take those inventions into the real world."
After a few years in development, Schmidt and Szabo are preparing to offer the workshop to their first students.
"We're in the process of setting it up for our summer course in July," Schmidt said.
Through an agreement with a school board in the Brant, Haldimand Norfolk area, the initial course will be offered for students at both the elementary and high school levels.
"This is our launching pad," Schmidt said.
More information about the program is available on Schmidt's website: www.accentonskills.com