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Trends in STEM

What is the I Can Invent Mindset?

As the world becomes ever more complex, today’s students will need to solve challenges that require applying the mindset of an innovator. Over the past decade, 21st-century skills, or competencies needed to thrive in today’s society, including abilities like critical thinking and perseverance, have been promoted and taught by educators across the country to prepare their students for the future. Though there exists a strong consensus throughout the education community regarding the importance of these skills, there are differing opinions as to which are most essential.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) has introduced a solution to eliminate the guesswork in deciding which 21st-century skills to promote. We call it the I Can Invent® Mindset.

To learn more about this mindset and how its nine components work together, we invite you to read an excerpt from our white paper, The I Can Invent Mindset: The National Inventors Hall of Fame’s Approach to Invention Education.


The I Can Invent Mindset

Long before invention education gained the popularity and scholarship that it enjoys today, NIHF was developing education programs that embrace invention and innovation. For over 30 years, the belief that every child can invent has been a driving force in all we do.

In collaboration with our NIHF Inductees, individuals whose inventions continue to improve society, we have identified the essential skills and traits that unlock creative potential, the I Can Invent Mindset.

Design Thinking: Design thinking helps children identify and solve problems. By focusing on the people who will use the things they create, children can apply empathy to design solutions that meet their users’ needs.

Confidence: Children build confidence as they turn their ideas into reality and begin to see themselves as capable creators. This will benefit them not only in the process of invention but in every area of life.

Creative Problem Solving: Through creative problem solving, children learn to use critical and creative thinking to develop innovative solutions, preparing them to take on both everyday problems and complex challenges.

STEM: By engaging in STEM, children will be better equipped to apply their ingenuity, pursue in-demand careers and make their mark on our rapidly evolving world.

Persistence: The persistence to recover from failure and overcome obstacles is essential for every aspect of life. Our programs foster perseverance through a “create, test and retest” approach to learning.

Innovation: The drive to innovate is what moves society forward. By engaging in hands-on challenges involving real-world issues, children are encouraged to dream up new inventions and improve upon existing ones.

Intellectual Property: As they discover the power and purpose of intellectual property (IP), children recognize the value of their own ideas. With an understanding of IP, children are prepared to protect their rights as creators.

Entrepreneurship: By exploring entrepreneurship and building basic business skills, children become curious, creative risk takers and self-assured leaders who follow their dreams and can inspire others to do the same.

Collaboration: Acting as a unifying force, collaboration is essential to building on each of the other core aspects of this mindset and produces even more creative ideas and solutions.


Learn More

The I Can Invent Mindset is at the core of all NIHF’s education programs and has helped us to inspire millions of children nationwide. To learn more, we invite you to download our free white paper.

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