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016 | The Role of Invention in Education | with Robin Hilsmeier & Jim Bruner

Today, we’re talking about the role of invention in education – and why design thinking and problem-based learning should, ultimately, have a much greater role in our classrooms than they currently do.

To illustrate the value of invention, we invited two amazing guests, Robin Hilsmeier and Jim Bruner, to discuss how the Ohio Invention League gives students the opportunity to practice design thinking by creating, marketing, and pitching solutions to societal problems.

Robin is the Executive Director of Invention League, which is Ohio’s chapter of the national Invention Convention program. Robin comes to Invention League as a former elementary school teacher, and she has spent the past 25 years really thinking about design thinking, the role that it has, and its potential impact in the community.

Jim is the President of the Invention League’s board, and he has a lifelong passion for design thinking and the work that comes with it and comes out of it – a passion you’re sure to hear in this episode. Jim is also one of our most valued assets here at the PAST Foundation, as he’s one of the biggest champions, internally, for the work that we do every day.

We describe the Invention Convention program in detail in the episode, but Jim provides a wonderful explanation that will help you understand the high-level concept: “Invention Convention is a science fair with purpose. The kids have to create something that is an answer to a problem; it’s a product, and then they sell, market, and promote that product with data.”

We unbox:

  1. What the Invention Convention is, on a national level

  2. What the Invention League program looks like here in Ohio & how students can participate (even if their school isn’t participating)

  3. Why young students often make the most unique problem solvers

  4. Failure is a data point

  5. Teaching kids problem-based learning through play

  6. The astounding 60% of students who go through the Invention League in Ohio and then file for provisional patents

  7. Making the innovative ideas and experiences in Invention League mainstream

  8. Two kids who recently created solutions that will truly make a positive impact on the world

  9. How the way we have to approach the teaching, learning, and future of work component of our world is changing

  10. Realigning the way we think about constraints

  11. Honda hosted their own invention convention, with opportunities for employees to mentor kids

  12. What you need to know if you want to bring Invention Convention into your community

  13. The future of work is learning



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