Announcing the Inventor Prize

Originally published on 24 January 2017.

 

We’re working with BEIS to pilot an ‘inventor’ prize that will inspire and harness the potential of the UK’s home-grown inventors and stimulate user-led innovation.

At its simplest, inventing is problem solving. It’s about working out how existing products could be improved or how something new could fill a gap that no one else has seen.

We’ve got to elevate the status of the home-grown inventor because, as we know, mighty oaks from little acorns grow. James Dyson is an inventor exemplar, a pioneer, of brilliant inventions that are conceived of and developed in Britain.

Looking for everyday innovators

But we are also looking for everyday inventors that see a problem in their daily lives and have an idea for a way of solving it in a way that improves people’s lives. This is a search for a modern day Percy Shaw – a Yorkshireman who repaired roads in the 1930s and whose light bulb moment was the invention of the ‘cat’s eye’ that helps prevent car accidents at night. Or more recently Emily Cummins, who at 19 years old invented an award-winning solar evaporation refrigerator.

The Inventor Prize is a recognition that many people have great ideas to solve everyday problems, but how do you cultivate hunches into a working useful product? This prize will provide people with great ideas a little time, money and support to develop their prototypes into products. The Inventor Prize will support individuals and small organisations to get their innovative products out of the – literal or proverbial – shed and on the road to market. We’ll engage and empower grassroots inventors to problem solve and help them to commercialise their inventions.

The Inventor Prize was announced in the Industrial Strategy green paper launched by PM Theresa May yesterday (read our response to the paper here). We are currently working with partners and stakeholders to develop the prize, which will launch later in 2017.

The blog was originally posted on Nesta website.