Project Management

The processes of invention and project management are very similar, and both are very important to the world of business. An inventor manages a complex project or process involving manpower, money, resources, and time schedules, just like an engineer would do when they create a new product or design and construct a new building or bridge. The inventive process is inherently STEM-based, requiring the inventor/engineer to think in a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary fashion. Since project management is a highly prized skill in the world of work, having kids involved in inventive activities is a highly relevant school-to-work activity. This is exactly the kind of thinking the business world will demand of employees.

Give young people a big jump start in the business world and help them better understand project management as a lesson of ingenuity. Here are some ideas for the classroom:

1) Integrate the business aspects of inventive thought into their activities. Engineers and inventors don’t invent because they can, but because there is an economic incentive to do so. When they are involved in an invention challenge, make sure they discuss the economics and marketing aspects and intellectual property of the invention.

2) After they conceive of a new product or invention, have them take some time to think like a project manager and identify the kinds of skills they will need on their project team to bring the invention/product to market.

3) Invite project managers and inventors to act as role models for students and to stimulate discussion about the value of invention and new product development. Also, the invited project managers and inventors can serve to discuss the educational skills necessary to hold these positions.


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