Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Final presentation of the Young Inventors Challenge 9/12/09

Twelve year nine pupils from Horsforth School have taken part in the final presentation of their Young Inventors Challenge – a project run by Leeds Libraries Business & Patent Information

Services at Horsforth Library where they were challenged to come up with their own inventions.

On Wednesday (9/12/09) they met in the ballroom at Horsforth library to present their work to an invited audience. Among the guests was one of the most enterprising young inventors of today – Leeds University student Emily Cummins. Among her various inventions Emily has won world-wide acclaim for her solar-powered fridge and sustainable water carrier which have had a huge impact in the townships of Africa. Having won numerous awards including the Sustainable Design Award at the 2009 Women of the Year Awards, Female Innovator of the Year 2007, Technology Woman of the Future 2006 and Cosmopolitan’s Ultimate Woman of the Year, she was keen to see how the young inventors had developed their ideas.

Emily began proceedings by sharing her experiences of inventing and developing new products. From a very young age she has enjoyed finding out how things work and thinking up new ways of doing things. She emphasised how important innovation is and what a great opportunity it presents to young people.

Then it was the turn of the young inventors. Since September the group have taken part in a series of workshops covering the World of Patents, Patent Searching, Applying for a Patent, Choosing a Name and Market Research. Working in pairs they have produced a portfolio of work and ideas and although they have not produced their inventions they have filed patent applications on them at the UK Intellectual Property Office.Each pair stood up and gave an impressive account of how they had researched their ideas, backing up their accounts with facts and figures from market research they had found and some they had done themselves. There was also an opportunity for the audience to chat to the inventors as they stood by the displays of their work. Emily and Business & Patents staff then spent some time deciding which team had been most impressive in their presentation and throughout the course. Finally Emily presented prizes to the winning team – Andrew Maud and Mussa Said with their Balancing Device – and consolation prizes to the other teams.

The Young Inventors Challenge, supported by Europe Direct Leeds as part of the 2009 European Year of Creativity & Innovation, was, in the view of those running the course, a great success. The pupils have been lively and enthusiastic and it has been great to see them constantly coming up with ideas and discussing their products.

Inventing, protecting and getting to market a new product is a subject area that is not particularly well known to many people and yet is vital in business and industry. These young inventors stated that they had certainly learned from their experience.