News, People

STEM the tide, Detroit’s inventive spirit lives

By Ida Byrd-Hill,  president of Uplift, Inc.

The world is reporting Detroit’s inventive spirit has died. I believe that spirit is merely dormant in our children. We can awaken it and stem the trend by sparking innovation in those children.

Everyone wants students to learn more STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  However, schools have taught these subjects for decades without sparking innovation and invention and that has too often led to students hating those subjects.

Their hatred has turned America into the poorest performer amongst industrialized nations in science and mathematics.

Students do not need more science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  They need immersion in the invention/innovation process. Schools need those subjects taught from the invention/ innovation perspective.

Imagine if a school inspired future inventions using the study of past inventions.

I want to create INVENTech  Academy TM, a 6th through 12th grade charter school to convert Detroit’s young people’s natural interest in technology and creativity into powerful learning in science, engineering and math so they can become problem solvers, innovators, creators or inventors.

INVENTech Academy TM would teach the skills every employer in the world desires for their employees. Students would learn to:

  • Think critically and make judgments
  • Solve complex, multidisciplinary, open-ended problems
  • Exhibit creativity and entrepreneurial thinking
  • Communicate and collaborate with teams of people across cultural, geographic and language boundaries
  • Innovative use of knowledge, information and opportunities

INVENTech AcademyTM will design curriculum units that begin with a case study of a problem an emerging industry is facing today. In a multidisciplinary format, students will attempt to solve industry problems and create breakthrough innovation, invention or prototype in six emerging industries.

  • Agricultural/Environmenal
  • Healthcare/Medicine
  • Internet /Software
  • Robotics
  • Transportation

Inventor Mentors would shepherd these students from conception to commercialization of an idea and help groom research-focused students for corporate R&D departments.

Inventor Mentors can serve in various capacities:

  • Curriculum unit designer creating a real life industry problem as case study
  • Sponsor resources – materials and lab equipment to create innovation, invention or solution
  • Provide employees to mentor the process of innovation, invention or solution
  • Provide employees to determine patentability and market viability of inventions
  • Assist in patent, trademark and technology documentation
  • Assist in commercialization
  • Introduce inventors to school to serve as Inventor Mentors

Detroit is the perfect place for INVENTech AcademyTM. Throughout our history inventive spirit has been the norm. New products, profitable companies and wealth abounded. There was a common belief that every child had the capability to become an inventor/ innovator, like Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, Madame C J Walker, Thomas Edison, Sarah Mather and Nikola Tesla, and change our world.

We must revive that spirit here in Detroit by allowing students the freedom to tinker with new ideas and concepts as their core subjects.

Innovators and Inventors are non-conformist.  They see what others overlook. They think differently and approach problems differently than the rest of society. They have enormous energy and enthusiasm. They are willing to fight to the bitter end for their ideas, even if everyone opposes the idea.  They see problems to be solved while others state “that is the way it is.” Inventors shake up and disturb status quo causing resentment.

Stem the tide and join me in reviving the inventive spirit in Detroit and in America. Become an Inventor Mentor to INVENTech AcademyTM. For more information, visit or call at 877-429-2370.


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