|Source: ASIDE, 2012|
|Source: Kid Entrepreneurs|
While many of the ideas that our students come up with are not totally new, it is the process of trying to develop a business from its first inkling to its final execution that’s important. Not everything needs to be new and original. Sometimes a simple improvement can change the way people think. In a recent Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition newspaper article, “Re-inventing Inventing,” Andy Jordan described how a new company called Quirky uses the power of the community to select new ideas to take from design to market.
It astonished our kids that the simple concept of changing an electrical power strip from rigid to flexible generated 22-year-old Jake Zien approximately $30,000 a month since his invention, Pivot Power, went on sale. It is stories like these that play a role in making real-world connections and inspiring kids to think differently. Sometimes a small change can make a huge difference. Best-selling author Peter Sims makes this point throughout his book, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries.
Quirky is just one of a handful of online businesses that seek to make the invention process more open to amateurs with bright ideas. “Our job is to act as sort of shepherds of our inventions,” says Quirky’s 24-year-old founder, Ben Kaufman. “People will submit ideas to the site in various forms." For him, "Invention is just sort of ingrained in us as human beings. If you look at kids playing, they’re inventing,” says Kaufman. “And for some reason, just society or whatever it is just scrapes it all away from you, and makes you feel like you can’t do it.” (WSJ Classroom)
We want our students to be inventive with their approaches to learning new things, playing with ideas, and creating ways of seeing differently. We shepherd them daily through lessons, and so why not shepherd them as entrepreneurs?
Our goal is to carry entrepreneurship in some facet through our entire middle school to keep kids thinking that their ideas matter and could very well be the next big thing. We can't guarantee we can raise entrepreneurs, but we can definitely get them to think like ones.