National Innovation Day
annually on February 16th
National Innovation Day exists "to encourage young people to be creative and innovative." While the day focuses on those in their formative years, innovation need not stop with maturity, and those who are older may both encourage the young and dabble in their own innovations today. Innovation deals with making changes to and introducing new ideas to things that already exist. It is a way of looking at what is, and imagining a new and better way of doing it.
There are many young people who have been innovative in the past and have given us things we use today. In 1873, Chester Greenwood, a teenager from Farmington, Massachusetts, was sick of having his ears freeze while he was ice skating. He made a wire frame and asked his grandma to sew animal skins to it. His creation was the earmuff. In 1905, when Frank Epperson was eleven, he left a stick in some powdered soda and water on his back porch on a cold night. In the morning he found it frozen. He called it an Epsicle, improved it, and eventually sold it to Popsicle. Today it is known as the Creamsicle. At the age of eight, Abbey Fleck invented a device to microwave bacon, called Makin Bacon.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by encouraging young people to be innovative. This is something that should be done on a daily basis, but especially today. If a child is being imaginative with an object (but still being safe, of course), embrace the way they are looking at it in new ways. They just may be on their way to coming up with something that can be used to improve people's lives. If you are in an environment with many children, you could design a contest and have them create an item or improve on an item.
You could also do your own tinkering on the day, as one is never too old to be innovative. Examine something in your home and see if you can find a new use for it or can use it to improve the way you do something. You and the children in your life could gain some inspiration by learning about famous innovators or by visiting museums such as The Tech Museum of Innovation, the Children's Creativity Museum, Innovation Studios at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Museum of Innovation and Science, Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, or the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.