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Inspiring our Next Generation of Innovators, Kid Inventors

Did you know that the trampoline, popsicle, and ear muffs were invented by kids? So were the first fully electronic TV, Braille writing system for the blind and the snowmobile.

We love the creativity kids bring to inventing. Remember 7-year-old Houston Diaz? He invented the Quirky Squeezie, which screws directly onto toothpaste and with a simple squeeze delivers the toothpaste onto the brush head.

The Quirky + Hover-1 Cruze Skateboard, the first remote-less, electronic, cruise-controlled rideable, was invented by 14-year-old Michael Wahba just last year. It’s currently selling at Best Buy.

We should encourage kids to explore their creativity and try to invent their ideas. Practicing these skills early on in life will help children learn how to solve problems, dream big and follow through on their ideas. Don’t rely on the classroom. Take your child to the science museum in your local area or try a fun invention project from Pinterest.

There are other incredible opportunities for kids to get more involved in inventing. One of these was founded and hosted by one of our Quirksters, Mary Couzin. Every year, kids from around the world invent amazing new game concepts and submit them to the Chicago Toy & Game Week (CHITAG) Young Inventor Challenge. The Challenge provides an opportunity for kids ages 6 to 18 to showcase their own original toy & game inventions to industry professionals, members of media and the public. All entrants receive feedback from a top industry professional and compete for licensing deals and up to $10,000 in scholarships. Quirky will be one of the judges at the competition and we’re excited to see what the kids come up with!

11-year-olds Olivia Wasilewski and Brynna Siewers won the challenge in 2016 with their game Ship of Treasures, a pirate treasure hunt game that hit Target shelves in 2017. You can’t help but smile and be inspired by these other kids and their ideas.

The CHITAG Young Inventor Challenge is entering its 12th year and they’re looking for more kids to participate. There are five categories kid inventors can enter: Most Creative Concept, Best Ride-On or Wheeled Concept, Best Game Concept, Best Playful Learning Concept, and Best Presentation.

Go to www.chitag.com/yic to read the rules and register before October 31st. For those looking to attend, the event will be held at the Navy Pier, Chicago, IL on Saturday, November 17th, 2018 from 9am – 2pm.

The Key To Your Brilliant Idea

Written by Gina Waldhorn

We’re all the world’s poorest billionaires, just letting our game-changing ideas rot away in our Notes app because for a multitude of reasons we can’t get past “I’ve got this great idea…”

We’ve got jobs. We’ve got kids. I’ve got a dog who lets himself out of my apartment.

The idea is the easy part (isn’t there a saying about ideas being like a**holes, everyone’s got one?), the execution is the true test. So having worked with hundreds of startup founders and successful inventors I’m going to give you a tip that can truly set you on your path towards buying that Palm Beach vacation home with the waterfall pool you’ve always wanted:

Find yourself a partner.

What’s that? You don’t want to give up 50% of your bajillion dollar idea? Well guess what, 50% of nothing is nothing, and that’s what you’re earning now, so get over yourself and get networking. Here’s why finding a partner is going to change the game for you:

  1. Humans because of necessity evolved into social beings. You’ll enjoy the journey when you’re not doing it along.
  2. You need to be held accountable. We can easily let ourselves down, but when we miss a deadline that sets someone else back we feel pretty terrible, which is strong motivation to progress.
  3. You need an unbiased opinion of your idea. Your mom won’t tell you clothes for hermit crabs isn’t a good idea, your future partner will.
  4. I’m 99.9% sure you don’t know it all. Whether you’re launching a SaaS solution, hardware product, or new smoothie mixture you’re going to need to employ a diverse set of skills across business and financial planning, development, manufacturing, sales, marketing…the list goes on. The right partner will complement your existing skill set by filling your gaps.

And here’s the amazing thing: right now there is someone out there who wants to partner with you! How can you find them? Try these tactics:

  1. Attend local meetups for founders, makers, and inventors. Try to join groups loosely in your area, e.g. the local hardware meetup or local SaaS meetup.
  2. Check out sites and events dedicated to helping you find a co-founder like CoFounders Lab or BuildItWith.Me. You’ll also find some great conversations happening on the CoFounder subreddit.
  3. Tell all your friends and family about your idea. You don’t need to worry about someone stealing your idea (unless your friends with Marc Zuckerberg), that’s another BS excuse we make for ourselves for not pitching. Chances are your future business partner is a friend of a friend thinking of doing something similar right now and you’re only one or two degrees away.

Once you’ve made that magical connection you can decide what type of partnership makes sense. I recommend always dating before you jump into a formal partnership. Spend time simply working next to each other and meeting a few milestones. Maybe you’ll end up the next Sergey and Larry, or maybe they simply provide enough of a reason to show up. Either way you’ve got 5 months left in 2018 to find that special someone and get that idea out of your Notes app and release it into the world. Palm Beach is calling…

Written originally for Linkedin.