Invent Idaho, which was founded in 1989 by two educators, is a program designed to foster innovative thinking by challenging students to invent solutions to everyday problems. Thousands of young inventors have participated in the Invent Idaho problem solving process, designing unique solutions and
The ultimate goal of Invent Idaho is not to win competitions or to raise test scores, though these may be pleasant highlights. Instead, Invent Idaho’s fundamental purpose is to develop a mindset within our young students, in which creative problem solving is simply a way of approaching life—the way they think. Upon encountering a state senator in the elevator of the Capitol Building while on a tour, one first grade Invent Idaho State winner proudly introduced himself with the statement, “I am an INVENTOR!” Invent Idaho celebrates the creative spirit within our children!
Invent Idaho is poised to grow exponentially with the current emphasis in our schools on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. As stated in the 2011 State of
the Union Address, “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation”. This reflects a national demand for innovation—one that has grown in urgency in recent years.
The Lincoln Center Imagination Summit boldly proclaimed, “The voices …call not only for innovation, but for creativity as well. Without these it is felt the United States simply cannot succeed in a 21st century world… America’s competitive edge depends now on bold, fresh ideas. The jolting discovery: competing in today’s complex economy requires, more than any other single quality, creativity. This means being ready to overturn the status quo, coming up with original approaches, and making experimentation a habit.”
Invent Idaho embodies these goals and definitively teaches these essential problem solving skills. Not
only does the Invent Idaho program teach higher order thinking skills, it addresses dozens of State Science Standards, as well as the number one Technology and Communication Standard “Creativity and Innovation”: to demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and use information and communication technologies to develop innovative products and processes.
Invent Idaho encourages American innovation. As one young inventor stated, “I like being creative and Invent Idaho was a great way for me to express my ideas and show other people what I was thinking. I like the Jules Verne category because you can really dream big. I hope one day one of my inventions can actually be made and help in some way.”
As one long-time Invent Idaho parent stated, “Invent Idaho has been a wonderful creative outlet for my kids. It has taught them critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. They would be creatively engaged for hours while trying to get their ideas on paper and making models. What a great way to combine science, math, research, development, marketing, writing, and model making into an exciting learning experience.”