Teens at the 2006 National Youth Business Competition walked away with thousands of dollars in prizes for coming up with intriguing and marketable inventions.They demonstrated that teens have the ability to come up with inventions that can provide entertainment or ease daily tasks. Teens who want to think up their own entries for invention competitions and school fairs, or create a product to sell, can look around their daily lives for ideas.
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High school students spend almost eight hours a day in school-related activities. Teens can come up with good invention ideas by trying to solve problems for the school where they spend so much time. For example, if they notice long lunch lines, they might invent a device that dispenses basic food items more quickly, or invent a game that keeps queued students busy and entertained. In any case, an idea based on a need or want at high school can be a good start for a useful invention.
Entertain Your Peers
Teens might find that some of their best invention ideas have a sense of fun. Inventions for entertainment purposes can range from simple, physical games or sports to entirely new ways of delivering audio and video content. If the teen plays an instrument or sport, they might try to invent devices that make engaging with those activities easier, such as a new style of carrying case for specific equipment. The key is to think of a way to deliver or facilitate entertaining activities in a situation where entertainment wants are currently not being met.
Solving Common Problems
Instead of trying to come up with complicated inventions that solve complicated problems, teens might consider that some of the best inventions are simple solutions to simple problems; the disposable bandage, for example, was an incredibly simple invention that solved the universal yet simple problem of caring for cuts. A teen can look around their daily lives for simple annoyances, then come up with equally simple ideas to solve that problem. You don't need a giant mechanical robot to fix your poached eggs, but you might be able to design a better egg poaching pan with simple shapes and materials.
Ideas Using Technology
Mark Zuckerberg was still a teen when he developed Facebook. Technology gives teens who have basic Web design or programming skills the ability to create Web- or software-based inventions. Teens can look at the social and physical needs of schools, businesses and daily life to come up with website and software ideas that solve these problems. The best part of these inventions is that you often don't need pricey materials to execute them, just a school computer and some ingenuity.
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