When people say "inventor," pioneers like Edison or Bell invariably come to mind. But invention and innovation are around us every day, producing products that change and improve the way we live. The modern day equivalent of the Wright Brothers exist through the likes of Elon Musk and Larry Page. While the internal combustion engine was all the rage a century ago, 2008 gave us a peek at the first mass-produced highway-capable all-electric vehicle.
It's too early to tell but if Bezos and Musk can prove themselves to be the great creators of our generation, these undeniably demanding work environments will be validated as its own innovation, one independent of the ingenuity that gave us online shopping, electric cars and rockets to outer space.
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"I'm a very pragmatic guy," painter David Kassan says, when asked why he invented a new kind of painter's palette. "My palette was hurting my back." If you have spent any time considering the engineering design process, as codified on the NASA website, you will recognize Kassan's comment as corresponding with step 1: Identify the Problem.
Ah! The wonderful sound of clanging medals, young voices cheering, and the slapping of high fives -- it's the sound of students being rewarded for collaborating and utilizing their STEM skills. This sound does not come without a price -- it is the sound that can come after as many successes as failures.