Innovation FROM the Classroom

Two ideas, one winning the Harvard President's Challenge and another a final design project, weren't left to be wiped away on the drawing board


I've previously posted about the possibility of people producing products, putting an enterprising personality to test by not letting creativity dissipate. Two examples found their way into my inbox. To me, these perfectly illustrate how innovation isn't something we just find on the side of the road. It doens't grow on trees, it won't fall from the sky (if it did someone's bound to blame aliens). 

Innovation comes from a concept and then hard work. How does that old saying go, something about 99% perspiration? Even the movie you just watched or the book you just read, you enjoyed them because somene wasn't OK with letting their ideas be merely a figment. Look around you - so many things around you are began with the simple statement, "let's do this."

Since it's the beginning of schools (from grade, high school, college and higher), this seems like an opportune time to post on a couple items I've found. Note this isn't all - but a couple that have came to my attention.

Thoughts on Winter

A while ago, I was contacted by a Art Center College of Design student with a concept for a new winter jacket, later dubbed "Amulet." And he went forward, I'd say two or three years into the future with the concept. It's sleek, clean, and - truth be told - well thought out. I won't be surprised to find it on a show floor in the coming years in some form or another.

The student looked for features as far as what elements might law enforcement want in a new patrol jacket. The trends were all there: mic clips, high visibility, ease of movement, etc. - even integrated some ballistic protection. Nothing's perfect, right? I'm sure you've got an opinion on the jacket you'll soon be wearing.

He did his research, contacted his local police department and moved on with a design. Where did this come from? The classroom; this was his project. 

Over at Harvard

Over at Harvard comes this headline, "Crime-fighting platform wins President’s Challenge." The article quotes their President Drew Faust: “They’ve built a tool that will help law enforcement professionals better serve and protect communities across the country, and their inspiring work is something I will follow with great interest in the months and years ahead.”

But here's the coolest part: "It has been employed by the Special Projects Team of the Massachusetts State Police in Springfield, helping slash the time spent on office paperwork by 90 percent. The fledgling company is also in talks to launch the platform in several other major metropolitan police departments." (90%!)

Where'd this concept come from? A field trip, i.e. the classroom. The team toured a department and saw issues with information management systems.

Creative ideas don't only come from large manufacturers shipping pieces from China. The 3D printer, if one can afford it, has the potential to help draft product concepts to life. The longest-lasting furniture is still the hand-made kind. Easy isn't in "innovation". Hard work, challenge, failure, success - all those are. Every inch from now to new is yours and none of it will get there without effort.

While we all don't have the skills to sew a boot together, the pains you feel are viable. Your opinions are worthwhile - share. Our newly redesigned Property Room now boasts an anonymous rating system and allows comments if you so chose. 

Think of something? Try. Have something to say? You have a voice.

Stay safe out there.

P.S. Yes I wrote that first sentence on purpose. I had the opportunity - I took it.

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