Aspiring inventors abound in America

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AKRON – This country is home to thousands upon thousands of aspiring Thomas Edisons, Henry Fords and Steve Wozniaks, judging from the results of a new national survey.

A significant percentage of Americans – 33 percent – have aspired to be inventors or thought they had an idea that would make a good invention, according to the poll, sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, based in Akron.

“This remarkable number, one-third of the U.S. population, reveals there definitely is a spirit of inventiveness in many of us,” said David Fink, National Inventors Hall of Fame president and chief executive.

“It reflects the enterprising and industrious attitude Americans are known for around the world.”

Other findings. Interestingly, men (44 percent) are twice as more likely to have aspirations as inventors than women (22 percent).

Another intriguing finding: Creativity and determination, not necessarily intelligence or education, are the most important qualities for an inventor, according to Americans.

When asked to select the top three qualities most important to be a successful inventor, the majority of respondents named creativity (cited by 59 percent) and determination (51 percent).

Cited by less than half of the respondents were common sense (45 percent), intelligence (44 percent), education or training (39 percent), patience (35 percent) and luck (18 percent).

Anyone can invent. “These results reinforce our belief that people from all walks of life possess the imagination and skills to create or discover the next scientific, healthcare or lifestyle breakthrough,” said Fink.

What prevented inventor “wannabes” from fulfilling their dream? Some 21 percent stated lack of funding, 14 percent said they did not know where to go or what to do next with their idea, 11 percent cited lack of time and another 11 percent reported they lost interest.

“For those that need guidance, the U.S. Patent Office can assist them,” Fink said.

Professions of impact. The survey also asked Americans to select from a list the top three professions that have the greatest positive impact on the quality of life in the United States.

Educators and teachers ranked first, cited by 73 percent. Ranked second were scientists and inventors, named by 55 percent of those surveyed. Next were doctors (46 percent), public safety leaders, such as police and fire officials (36 percent) and government leaders (23 percent).

Ranked at 15 percent or below were journalists, entertainers, athletes and philanthropists.

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