In the world of inventors this week... inspiration for inventors great and small

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Got a good idea that you want to develop but don't have the resources? Then Nesta's new Inventor Prize is looking for you!  Announced this week after a period of consultation, the prize is £50,000 funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, aimed specifically to: 

  • Support the development of selected products
  • Build the capacity of prize participants (inventors)
  • Champion and raise the profile of the lone or small scale inventor

I'm really pleased to see this pilot prize, as, having worked in the literature sector, I have seen the benefits of both funds and profile to the careers of competition winners in that sector, and I'd love to see more profile, support and respect given to different types of creative people with good ideas. However I have also seen what a difficult/impossible process it is to judge between radically different ideas and I am really interested to see what gets chosen and what gets relegated... You've got until the 22 October to send in your entry, so you'd better get dusting off that prototype!

If, however, you feel the talent lies in the next generation and you've got some small people already going crazy in the rainy summer holidays, this (admittedly a bit expensive and hipster) company called Jam thinks it can help. They offer online courses encouraging children to build projects with help from tutorials and feedback. If you can bear the cuteness and the price tag I think they could be quite fun, although I have found that simply searching Youtube for ways to make things could be just as rich and rewarding: try 'boats out of recycled materials' for example, and you'll find hundreds of people quietly making boats of all shapes and sizes and uploading videos about them. Hours of fun!

Finally, my friends over at Little Atoms have been focussing their attentions on inventions lately, and very sweetly let me write an article about my book project for them. Once you're there, do poke around their site and have a look around, they are interested in how the sciences and arts intersect and have some wonderful articles and podcasts on their site.

P.S. A big thank you to all my supporters new and old, by the way. Things have been a bit quiet lately but I promise you, this project is going to get made, and I couldn't do it without you. Much appreciation to you all. 

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