This issue of Technology & Innovation highlights speakers, presentations, and moments from the Eighth Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Inventors. Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program, Stephanie Couch, along with Invention Education Officer, Leigh Estabrooks, and researcher Audra Skukauskaite, contribute a feature article that examines the impact of invention education on students from diverse backgrounds and the factors that contribute to or deter from their success.

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Researching Invention Education: A White Paper, compiles contributions from a community of individuals and organizations working in Invention Education (IvE) in the United States. IvE is a term that refers to the practice of teaching students how to problem-solve and think like inventors in order to become positive change-makers in the world. The paper was written by researchers interested in IvE who attended the 2018 InventEd convening hosted by The Lemelson Foundation. The group worked together for a year to publish their findings that were then uncovered at the 2019 InventEd convening in Alexandria, Virginia. Supported by The Lemelson Foundation, the research in this paper includes thought-provoking insights into the current trends in IvE, how IvE can be integrated into other disciplines, and identifies opportunities for future growth of this emerging but significant field.

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In this special issue of Technology and Innovation from the National Academy of Inventors, Lemelson-MIT's Executive Director, Stephanie Couch, co-edits and contributes articles along with Invention Education Officer, Leigh Estabrooks, and Invention Education Coordinator, Anthony Perry. The articles explore invention education and its many benefits to society.

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A special issue of Technology and Innovation journal of the National Academy of Inventors explores why the gender disparity exists between women and men inventors and what is being done to address the gap. The issue includes articles written by people who have keen insights into the gender gap in patenting, including an article written by Executive Director, Stephanie Couch and Invention Education Officer, Leigh Estabrooks that analyzed results from the InvenTeam initiative. The article reveals factors that supported and constrained young women inventors – information that may be critical for designing effective programming to promote young female inventors. Read highlights from the new issue or download the full publication where you can explore each article.      

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This research explores the ways in which high school student inventors define the terms failure and learning from failure as well as what they learn about creative failure while inventing that may be applicable to other contexts. A 14-year-old grants program for high school inventors served as the site of study. Findings from this study make visible participants’ understandings of creative failure.

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is gathering information for a report to Congress due in October as required by the Federal Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science (SUCCESS) Act. Testimony submitted by LMIT to inform policies that could create more diversity among inventors. 

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Enhancing inventiveness for quality of life, competitiveness, and sustainability is a report by the Committee for the Study of Invention, sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program and the National Science Foundation. It is based on an invention study undertaken by 56 leading scholars and practitioners during a series of five workshops in 2003. The report was released April 23, 2004, at the Invention Assembly in Washington, D.C. 

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