Building The Genius Quality - Inventiveness

Building The Genius Quality: Inventiveness

Before reading this series of blog posts or the book about the genius qualities that I wrote with two colleagues, if you had been asked to list the 12 genius qualities, I predict you would have included today’s quality – inventiveness.

Dr. Tom Armstrong, who identified the 12 qualities by reading biographies and autobiographies of classic geniuses of all times, defines inventiveness this way:

A hands-on creativity; creating new things from known things

When thinking about geniuses, we often think of those who invented many things or important things we can’t imagine living without. Ben Franklin comes to mind. In addition to drafting the Declaration of Independence and publishing newspapers, he invented the Franklin stove, bifocals, and the lightning rod. He established or greatly improved libraries, public hospitals, mutual insurance companies, and volunteer fire departments. He founded the post office. You and your children could each choose which invention of his is the most important and try to convince the others you’re right.

What if you went through your kitchen listing all the things you see that were invented? Choose which one you think is the most important – or most unusual – and list reasons. You could choose an invention from years ago and one that’s more current. For instance, the United Kingdom’s National Academy of Science named the refrigerator, pasteurized milk, and the tin can in the top 20 food/kitchen inventions of all time.

George Washington Carver was an agricultural chemist who invented 300 uses for peanuts. Enjoy some peanuts with your children and name what inventions of his you can. Then use research tools to discover others. The list is amazing!

Henry Ford improved the assembly line for automobile manufacturing. Use an assembly line with your children to make something. (Perhaps peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a craft project.) You could discuss all the advantages of making things this way. Maybe there’s a manufacturing plant in your area you could tour so your children could see an assembly line in action.

Our Kids Can Invent Now and Later

Here’s another discussion to have: What do you wish someone would invent? What problem would it lessen or solve? What do your children wish could be invented? Why not them?

If we want our children to be able to invent later in life, we must give them the freedom to invent now. Maybe they can invent a toy, game, something to make a chore easier to complete, or a process for doing something. Of course, to encourage them, they’ll need time, space, and “stuff” to invent with. We’ll probably need to allow them to make a few messes that last a while. Can we? Will we? Are they and their minds worth it?


Check out other blogs in this series: