There’s something magical between 5 and 12 y.o. If you’ve ever chat with a child of this age, you can understand what I mean; it’s easy to be fascinated by the great imagination that develops from the post-childhood growth phase, until adolescence. What I mainly envy as a designer is the spontaneity in the invention of a game, an activity or an object totally free from economic or functional limits. It is no coincidence that different techniques for generating ideas, such as brainstorming, encourage to become child again, to free the flow of thoughts from any productive or practical constraint, on the assumption that there are no wrong ideas, to become little inventors for huge ideas.
Little Inventors organization was born in Canada to encourage children to keep their imagination roaming and to give them the opportunity to develop their ideas. Fantasy becomes reality in a process that drives small inventors first to generate, then to make their ideas tangible and finally to show them in dedicated events. Everything is allowed: from roller coasters on the moon to devices to help the elderly walk, and everything can be achieved thanks to the precious help of artisans and maker partners of the project.
There are many interesting aspects in this project, first of all the fact that every idea is taken seriously; this helps both to train the creativity of each individual and to increase self-confidence. Then there is the topic of ‘problem solving’ which makes each invention even more interesting: in fact, ideas often concern the challenges of the modern world, from reducing plastic consumption to finding alternative housing solutions and, in their own small way, they provide simple answers based on little daily attention.
Another strong point is the network of partners that the organization has created around itself, first of all to grow and expand its network, then for the phase of “prototyping” and display of the proposals. It is important that the ideas do not remain on the web as a static archive, but that are carried around to spread the knowledge and values of the project. Since 2017 Little Inventors organizes events around the world; they are often themed events, which derive from a starting challenge such as the waste emergency or finding solutions for life in space. Beyond being stimulating for the little inventors, the display of ideas is functional to the promotion of the organization that makes the news around the world, expanding its range of action.
It’s precisely through an exhibition that I came to know this project; at the last Triennale in Milan, entitled ‘Broken Nature’ there was the ‘No Plooshon Jacket’. Designed in 2017 by Gruff ap Garth, a child suffering from asthma, this jacket prevents the wearer from inhaling car exhaust fumes.