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Posted March 10, 2020

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Engineers of Tomorrow is a not-for-profit that is shaping the engineering narrative by telling better stories. 

Where does innovation come from?

You ever wonder where mountain bikes came from?

MIT innovation scholar, Eric von Hippel, tells us this story of how mountain bikes were invented..

People start riding bikes down mountains. And then they modify bikes, so that they can ride down mountains more easily.

They discover, oh I have to have stronger brakes …

And the manufacturers meanwhile are saying, “you shouldn’t be doing that!”

And then as a lot of people begin to do it, then the manufacturers take notice!

Aha. Not only is there a proven innovation, but there’s a signal of general demand. And that’s the point at which you begin to define what a mountain bike should look like.

This ground-up approach to innovation probably sounds very familiar to engineers – who have been tinkering in their basements, backyards, and garages for years!

When you think about INNOVATION these days, what comes to mind?

Thinking back just a few years, we’ve seen some significant innovations that have had an impact on our lives…

  • virtual assistants
  • self-driving cars
  • 3D printing
  • artificial intelligence

And, while there’s no arguing that these innovations do stand out, and have significant impact, Hippel points out, these are just the tip of the innovation iceberg!

The amount of “home” innovation that’s happening is something that is now being studied more.

We think this is pretty great! And we want to hear more about it!

Now, more than ever, we welcome the opportunity to show the next generation examples of real, relatable folks that are innovating in their own homes.

When all kids are exposed to are guys like Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla, and Bill Gates….it’s understandable to think they might be a little intimidated!

But, hearing the story of how the mountain bike was invented…..for a kid….that’s inspiring!

Special thanks to Freakonomic Podcast for inspiring this post!

Let’s continue the conversation….share something that you’ve innovated at home. Your story needs to be told too!

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