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INVENTION Enhancing inventiveness for quality of life, competitiveness, and sustainability

Report of the Committee for Study of Invention, sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program and the National Science Foundation For Release April 23, 2004

Preface This report summarizes findings and recommendations of a yearlong study of invention and inventiveness. We have aimed, through an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, to shed new light on invention and on the special kind of creativity involved in inventing. While much has been written about innovation and entrepreneurship, there is a paucity of literature dealing in an interdisciplinary way with invention and inventiveness. While there is much literature dealing with creativity generally, there is little that deals deeply with the specific form of creativity that is inventiveness. The study began with a series of workshops held during the calendar year 2003 and culminated with an “Invention Assembly” on April 23, 2004 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, at which this report was issued. The report contains our collective findings and our recommendations to policy makers in their efforts to encourage inventiveness in young people, to enhance the climate for invention, and to enhance the value of inventions to society. The five workshops held during 2003 were: 1) “Historical Perspectives on Invention and Creativity,” March 14-16, 2003; Cambridge, MA. Merritt Roe Smith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair 2) “Architecture of Invention,” August 21-23, 2003; Cambridge, MA. David Perkins, Harvard University, Chair 3) “Advancing Inventive Creativity Through Education,” October 17-19, 2003; Lenox, MA. Christopher Magee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Chair 4) “How Does Intellectual Property Support the Creative Processes of Invention?” September 11-13, 2003; Cambridge, MA. Mark Myers, University of Pennsylvania, Chair 5) “Invention and Innovation for Sustainable Development,” November...

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