At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), part of our mission is to advance the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship through education programs that inspire and empower children to become confident and capable creators.
Developed in collaboration with some of the world’s most revolutionary inventors, our NIHF Inductees, all NIHF programming is designed to help participants build the Innovation Mindset™. This is a growth mindset consisting of nine essential skills and traits that unlock creative potential.
The Importance of Design Thinking
One of the nine components of the Innovation Mindset is design thinking, or the ability to develop solutions specifically catered to meet the needs of others. In STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, this skill is crucial, as it ensures that innovations made within these disciplines are more effective, useful and accessible.
Practicing design thinking in the invention process requires innovators to apply empathy to their solutions and ensure that their creations meet their users’ needs. It’s for this reason that developing impactful inventions often requires building a series of prototypes that improve over time. Check out the video below of NIHF Inductee Chieko Asakawa and her thoughts on the role of empathy in innovation.
All of NIHF’s education programs, including Camp Invention®, our nationwide K-6 summer camp, emphasize hands-on invention prototyping throughout the program experience.
Design Thinking at Camp Invention
At our all-new 2022 Camp Invention program, Explore, campers have the opportunity to practice design thinking throughout the program — especially in our Marble Arcade™ and NIHF’s The Attic™ experiences.
In Marble Arcade, for example, while building their own interactive marble arcades, campers engage in design-related challenges that allow them to express their creativity and problem-solving skills. To customize their unique creations, campers can select a theme for their Marble Arcade, build twists and turns, and even construct secret passageways to create the obstacle course of their dreams.
Within NIHF’s The Attic, campers explore the intersections of art and science, discovering how great inventions have changed the way people create. Children practice design thinking by modifying their designs and artistic creations over time to meet different requirements or simply improve their work. This valuable experience allows participants to practice adapting strategies to overcome unexpected challenges — a trait of crucial importance within the STEM disciplines.
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