Thursday, April 28, 2011

LIVE WEBINAR: Technology for a Better World - The Power of Design Thinking

Hosted by Youth Venture in partnership with Engineering for Change

Date: Monday, May 2, 2011
Time: 6:00PM-7:30PM EST

Whether you have new ideas on how to use technology to advance social change or you're well on your way to implementing your own venture, this webinar can help. During this live webinar, you will:
  • Discover the principles of design thinking to better serve your target community
  • Apply design thinking to your Venture
  • Learn how Engineering for Change can benefit your Venture
  • Become inspired by other teams across the country
Hosted in partnership with Engineering for Change, a community of engineers, technologists, and social scientists who are committed to improving quality of life through appropriate technology solutions, you'll walk away with practical and usable techniques to use right away.

And if you're thinking about submitting an entry for the Technology for a Better World campaign, this webinar will help you improve your proposal and answer any questions you may have. To learn more about the campaign, visit

REGISTER TODAY! E-mail Melissa Miller at with your name, school, team, and preferred e-mail address to RSVP.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Technology for a Better World

Young Inventors International is pleased to be a network partner in Technology for a Better World, an opportunity for fifty teams of young innovators age 13-18 to develop and implement solutions for positive social change.

Ashoka’s Youth Venture and the Best Buy Children’s Foundation are looking for up to fifty teams to support through a combination of advisory services, seed funding, fundraising tools, webinars, and networking opportunities. Plus, the top five teams will win exciting grand prizes – trips to Washington D.C. to further develop their ventures at Youth Venture’s headquarters and to be recognized at the Jefferson Awards, meeting prominent politicians and sharing their stories with the media.

Apply by May 9, 2011 in order to be considered for the opportunity to join Youth Venture’s community of more than 4,000 “ventures” – sustainable initiatives, organizations, clubs, or businesses that benefit our community or planet.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

BrainBuzz Overview

The second part of the YII Conference was the BrainBuzz™ on Saturday, where we brainstormed solutions to five technology challenges. The technology challenge case studies were:

1. A passive solar tracking system, submitted for the BrainBuzz™ by Eden Full of Dynamic Photovoltaics. Eden's submission came to us from Ashoka's Changemakers program. Eden is a high school student from Calgary.

2. The Keepon robot from BeatBots, presented by Marek Michalowski, the company's co-founder and doctoral student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

3. XoutTB, a device that encourages compliance to the course of treatment for tuberculosis. The technology is in development by the Innovations in International Health (IIH) Group at MIT and was presented by Jose Gomez-Marquez.

4. A solar autoclave for sterilizing medical instruments in the field developed by a group of students from Dayton University in Ohio who run Salud del Sol.

5. GlucoVend, a self-service patient kiosk for checking glucose levels, also from the IIH at MIT.

Take a glimpse at the sessions:

Here is what one of our facilitators and had to say about the event:
"I had a terrific experience at the 5th Inventing the Future Conference. The variety of activities and opportunities to collaborate with other participants far exceeded my expectations. I especially enjoyed the high-energy BrainBuzz event and have already made plans to employ this activity in my organization." - Evan Anderson, Director of Prototyping Services, WidgetWorks

And some words from the participants:
"I love the, interactive, get to meet other people, etc."
"Stimulating, challenging, fun, fast-paced"
"Fun, cool, new, interesting"
"I loved the ideas people had!"
"Reflective, moving, fun"
"Teamwork, exciting, new ideas"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

YII Conference Summary

YII's 5th Inventing the Future Conference took place on Friday and Saturday, and we had a sold out conference with more than 120 participants over the two days.

Here are what some of the participants had to say about the event:
"It was great to see how easily people interacted and offered help to one another"
"Thought provoking"
"Informative, inspiring, fun"
"Great chance to meet people!"
"Eye-opening, inspirational"
"I would use the knowledge from the conference on my path toward entrepreneurship"

Regis McKenna, visiting us from Silicon Valley, opened the Conference, speaking about the importance of learning by doing and getting your technology to the market rapidly, not underestimating your competition, and the role of upstarts in disrupting existing technologies. He also offered some thoughts on Apple 1 and Apple 2, where the second time around, Steve Jobs applied what he had learned from his many years as an entrepreneur. Below, Regis McKenna offers his thoughts about young innovators and entrepreneurs.

After the opening keynote, we broke out into smaller groups for the Commercialization Marathon, where we had 25 experts speak about topics of intellectual property, market research and development, raising financing, business planning, and industrial design and prototyping. You can see very brief excerpts of two sessions below - Randy Eager of Innovation Works talking about building a business and Bob Oltmanns of Skutski & Oltmanns talking about market research and strategy.

After pizza, we had a number of students pitch their ventures and talk about the resources they needed to build their ventures. We finished the evening with an inspiring and informative young entrepreneur panel, moderated by Aaron Tainter of Meakem Becker Venture Capital and featuring Lynsie Camuso of Showclix, Luke Skurman of College Prowler, and Nick Pinkston of GearHeadz. Below, is a video of me closing the Conference with Aaron, Lynsie, Luke, and Nick behind me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Celebrating Women Innovators

March 24th is Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating women in technology. Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer (in the 1800's!). As part of my pledge to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, I committed to writing a blog post about an inspiring woman in technology.

After thinking about the post all day and procrastinating because I could not decide on just one person, I decided that I will celebrate the day by writing about The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology because I think that it is a great resource for inspiring women innovators any day of the year. I am particularly inspired by Dr. Borg's aim to bring non-technical women into the design process since having a diversity of experience, even on technical projects, can often be very valuable in generating innovations and improvements.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crowdsourcing and technology transfer offices

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Win a scholarship for your social venture

Invent Your World is an international campaign sponsored by the Lemelson Foundation and Ashoka GenV to support young inventors in creating social change. Youth wishing to use new or adapted technology to address global challenges are encouraged to launch a "social venture" and implement their invention. Ashoka GenV will provide mentorship and seed funding to 50 new ventures. In addition, Lemelson and Ashoka will choose the best teams and offer additional support, including a visit to MIT to take part in a global roundtable discussion and $20,000 in scholarships.

Visit to learn more and enter an invention idea!