An "Innovation Gap?" Chasing the Spirit of Edison

A new survey reveals a potential "innovation gap" in America.

Bust of Edison

Fast Company January 20, 2011

A new survey reveals a potential "innovation gap" in America. The 2011 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index discovered, among other things, that while many young American women have the characteristics of inventors--creativity, an interest in science, and altruistic leanings--they nonetheless didn't view themselves as "inventive."

The study surveyed both men and women, aged 16-25, and offers in a way a snapshot of how our nation's youth views innovation and invention. Though both men and women reported that they felt themselves to be "creative," and that they saw creativity as linked with inventiveness, relatively few identified themselves as "inventive." If "creativity" seems to lean toward the humanities, that clearly wasn't the hang-up; the young men and women alike indicated a great interest in science and math, with 42% of the women identifying those fields as their favorite subjects, and over half the men agreeing.

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