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Agreeing that innovation is a driver of economic growth and prosperity, it is also important to realize the role that invention plays in improving our quality of life, increasing economic development, and spurring innovation. Yet it often seems that invention is the invisible hero—both because we do not highlight and celebrate its importance enough and also because so few inventors are known to the mainstream society. Whether in teams or alone, inventors are a key ingredient in our quest to solve grand challenge problems and transform our world. In order to spark invention and create a world with more inventors, we need to appreciate the culture and talent that supports invention—a rich ecosystem for discovery, invention, innovation, and economic growth will not thrive without a supportive and nurturing culture and extraordinary talent. In the 21st century, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has become an important skill set for invention and a key driver to solutions for the problems that we face. Globally, there are so many possibilities for the future, and this is why Alan Kay’s statement, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” resonates. We live in a complex world with many challenges that require a vast array of smart, dedicated people from all walks of life to provide everything from solutions to problems to tools that help make life entertaining and interesting. Invention is a key ingredient in the future we are trying to create.
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Keywords: Economic growth; Grand challenge problems; Hero; Innovation; Invention; Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 17, 2014

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