© IFIA (International Federation of Inventors' Associations) 2000


A Word of Introduction

You see things, and say "Why?". But I dream things that never were, and I say "Why not?". These words by playwright George Bernard Shaw, could be those of children all over the world. They never stop asking, "Why?".

Many organizations throughout the world are active in finding answers to these questions, and encouraging creativity among youth. Personally, I am convinced of the necessity of developing future generations of thinking people, and IFIA believes that inventors' associations should participate in the movement whenever possible. Whether at a local or national level, or both, this can also provide a good opportunity for inventors associations to gain greater recognition. We publish here some of these activities and experiences by IFIA members.

Inventiveness knows no frontiers – no race – no gender – and NO AGE!

President of IFIA
October 2000


writer.gif (4145 bytes)

© Ali Farzat (Syria)






Associations of Inventors
Associations of Young Inventors
Science Clubs
Other organizations


Associations of Inventors


A School for Kid Inventors
by Eduardo Fernandez
Director of the School, and President of the Argentine Association of Inventors
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 1, July-December 1995)

The Argentine Association of Inventors has organized, with great success, an educational project called School for Inventors since 1990. We began with five pupils and at present have 180 from 6 to 16 years of age; 80% boys and 20% girls. They attend our school each Saturday from 10 a.m., to 1 p.m., from March to December.

The classes are open, based on freedom, respect and affection; there is no roll call.

All our pupils have the same psychological profile: they are highly curious and creative, self-initiated learners, sensitive, non-conformist, with a facility for drawing. They speak correctly, they are not good students in a regular school, and have chosen the School for Inventors under their own initiative.

From the beginning of the classes we explain to the children and to their parents, that ours is not a traditional school. We are neither a technical school, nor a science club as we are more interested in listening to them and stimulating their questioning minds and creative thinking than teaching things that do not interest them.

Our basic techniques are: The Analogical Thought, The Metaphorical Thought, Reverse Engineering, Brainstorming, Synectics, Writestorming, and The Art of Questioning.

Children are encouraged permanently to ask questions: What? Who? Where? When? How? and Why? They are also encouraged to play with real problems, with new ideas, and new insights of the surrounding world. In this way they learn how to invent as a funny game.

Taking toys, machines, tools and electrical devices, apart and assembling them again, is a form of reverse engineering. This is a valuable activity that improves the learning experience of basic concepts of science and technology.

Some of our pupils have already applied for patents on inventions ready to reach the market. The youngest of all our patentees is Cristian Prado who, when aged nine, invented a revolutionary pair of scissors for kids – security scissors designed in such a way that children can not cut their fingers when using them.


Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (J.I.I.I.)
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 2, January-June 1996)

The Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (JIII) was established in 1904 to promote and stimulate indigenous inventive activities. JIII has been a Full Member of IFIA since 1988.

On its 70th birthday in 1974, JIII decided to set up Invention Clubs for School Children throughout the country. Today, there are 122 with as many as 82,000 active members. The objective of these clubs is not only to encourage scientific minds but also creative minds which delight in making devices based on their own ideas.

Club members:

bulletMembership comprises boys and girls of about 8 to 13 years.
bulletThey are encouraged to build up their own inventive abilities although some guidance is   given when necessary.
bulletThey do not imitate models made by others, but develop their own ideas as scientific concepts and create real devices.
bulletThe members participate in discussions, brainstormings, study tours and exhibitions, in addition to their personal creative activities.

Club activities:

bulletMeetings take place on Saturdays and Sundays. However, during the school summer holidays, the club is open on all weekdays.
bulletMembers may invite their friends to acquaint them with the activities of the club.
bulletThe club usually exhibits the finished work of its members, and invites parents, schoolmates and neighbors.
bulletMembers often participate in the annual national event organized by JIII, namely, the "Concours of School Children's Inventions."
bulletThe activities of the clubs are supported by local volunteers.
bulletJIII holds an annual "All Japan Conference of Invention Clubs for School Children" at which the leaders of the clubs participate.

Opening of a club

A new invention club is usually established with the support of the following organizations and persons:

bulletmunicipal authorities and the local board of education;
bulletJIII branch office in the district;
bulletvolunteers in the neighborhood;
bulletlocal enterprises;
bulletlocal organizations, i.e., the Rotary Club.


Activities in Schools
by Yew Kam Keong
Honorary Secretary, Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS)
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 1, July-December 1995)

Stimulating young minds was given top priority by the Malaysian Invention and Design Society (MINDS), soon after its creation in October 1986.

MINDS first started by helping create invention clubs in schools. The first club was launched in a secondary school of Kuala Lumpur, the capital, in 1987. Today, eight years later, there are more than 200 such clubs throughout the country. Why this success? Because the Ministry of Education had recognized from the start the importance of invention in school activities. It even took the initiative of publishing a guidebook in Malay language in January 1988. This guidebook, written by MINDS, sets up the procedures to establish school invention clubs, such as the election of administrative officers, their duties, etc. It was circulated through the Ministry of Education to all schools in Malaysia.

MINDS' second initiative was to launch invention competitions in schools at a national level. The first one took place in 1989. Exhibitions of the best students' inventions were held in conjunction with MINDS' annual exhibition. The participation in the competition increased year after year. In 1989, the number of entries was 96, in 1993: 341. In 1994, when the Ministry of Education took over the organization of the competition, the number of entries skyrocketed to 1,009. It is to be noted that the success and popularity of the competition attracted the attention and interest of a large petroleum company which offered an important financial contribution and has been a regular sponsor since.

When the Ministry of Education took over the organization of the competition at the national level in 1994, MINDS moved on to a new dimension. It organized a competition at the regional level. That is how the first Asia Pacific Schools Invention Competition took off in 1994.

MINDS dynamism has certainly had an influence on the Ministry of Education's decision to introduce creativity and invention as part of the regular program in primary and secondary schools. Leaders of MINDS are regularly invited to give talks and training to teachers and education officials, as well as to provide input for the formulation of the programs on creativity and invention.

Another Ministry has also recognized the importance of MINDS efforts and initiatives. The Ministry of Youth and Sports launched in 1995 a nationwide movement known as Friends of the Youth financed by a substantial grant from the government, and one of the 10 themes of the movement is Innovation. MINDS was honored to be appointed as the anchor organization for this nationwide Innovation program.


Norwegian Inventors Association (NOF)
by Ole Sigmund Braathen
Member of the board of NOF
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 3, July-December 1996)

Young, intelligent people are encouraged to come up with good ieas by the Norwegian Inventor Association (NOF) which undertakes to make them known to the public and investors.

The youth competition FINN OPP (meaning "invent" or "find out") is a yearly event organized by NOF since 1993. In 1995, 38 young inventors submitted 63 inventions. On May 11, 1996, 10 prizes were awarded. All the winners were present at the event, together with a representative from their schools.

Each of the 10 prizewinners received a free one-year membership in the Norwegian Inventor Association (NOF), as well as a free patent application for their ideas. The popular Alf R. Bjercke, a grand old friend of inventors, and former paint factory owner with a good "nose" for finding what inventions have a market potential, handed out the 10 prizes.

The First Prize amounts to NOK 10,000 (US $1,550), while the amount of the Second Prize is NOK 8,000.

The winners were then taken by horse-drawn vehicles and antique automobiles along the main street in Oslo – Karl Johans gate – to the Technical Museum for a special viewing followed by a celebration dinner in an Oslo restaurant.

The future seems promising: three of the 10 prizes were won by young girls who formed 20 per cent of the participants. In 1993, they were 17 per cent.


Contest-Tournament on the Knowledge of Inventiveness
by Dr. Zdzislaw Kozlowicz
Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee
Polish Union of Associations of Inventors and Rationalizers (PZSWIR)
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 1, July-December 1995)

For many years, one of the contests that stimulates quite an interest among young people in Poland is the Tournament on the Knowledge of Inventiveness organized by the Polish Union of Associations of Inventors and Rationalizers (PZSWIR), in cooperation with school headmasters and teachers. The contest is organized first in schools, then at the regional level and eventually at the national level.

The participants are mainly students of technical high schools, but also advanced secondary school students (age 15 to 20). They are expected to demonstrate a good knowledge of the Polish laws concerning invention, both in theory and in practice. The majority of the questions concern these laws (70%), others deal with the history of inventions throughout the world. The contest at the national level is open to the public. The audience is very fond of this last tournament where more than 50 questions are put to the finalists who usually number around 70, grouped in 17 regional teams, each consisting of four finalists.

Every year, about 2,500 to 3,000 young people participate in the contest. The diploma granted to the finalists facilitates their access to some university faculties as it replaces the entrance examination which is the selection system adopted by the Polish universities.


Inventing, making it easier!!
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 5, July-December 1998)

Young Innovation Sweden, is the youth section of the Swedish Inventors“ Association (SUF).

SUF is the oldest inventors“ association in the world, founded already in 1886. SUF“s task is to promote inventive activities in society in general, especially the conditions for inventors.

Young Innovation Sweden (UIS) works with different projects to make it more pleasant, easier and more stimulating for young people to develop ideas and concepts of their own. UIS is today working with projects concerning Information Technology (IT), pedagogy within the nine-year compulsory school to promote creative thinking, encouraging girls’ interest in technology, visualization of innovations with 3D-techniques, etc.

The largest project at present is SMART, which is an abbreviation for Cooperation, Method, Work, Venture Capital , and Test (the words are originally phrased in Swedish), and imply a method for counselling young people with ideas. With SMART they can create a “base of facts” concerning the idea to make it easier to proceed with the development from having the idea to the introduction to the market.

The unique aspect about the method is that the professional counsellors involved in SMART are young. Therefore young people work with and for young people, this creates confidence and credibility among the ones involved in the counselling.

The interest from young people has shown that there is a large need in society for a method such as the one provided by SMART. The counselling has shown that all kinds of young people have ideas. University students are just as common as e.g., immigrants and young single mothers. The uniting aspects is that they all have ideas that they believe in and want to develop further. SMART provides everybody with the same chance to develop and implement ideas. This is automatically a contribution to encourage young women to work in an area which is traditionally regarded as a “male” domain. To summarize, the method that SMART provides with guidance and counselling challenges the ability of young people to take initiatives and strengthens their self-confidence of being creative.


Associations of Young Inventors 


Association of Young Inventors
(Note published in IFIA YOUTH Newsletter No. 4, January-June 1998)

The Minhang Association of Young Inventors in Shanghai consists of over 500 students under age 18. It claims to be the largest association of its kind in China, and is a Corresponding Member of IFIA since mid-1987. Every member of the association takes a course in creativity and inventing and is requested to make a creative design.  The president of the Association, Xiang Sheng-ying, was only aged 16 in 1997.


By Ms Gudrun Porsdottir
Educational Manager for the City of Reykjavik
(Article published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 2, January-June 1996)

FUU, the abbreviated Icelandic name of the association, was founded on April 20, 1994, by young inventors in the capital city of Reykjavik. All creative elementary school children can become members of the association. The maximum age is 20 years.

The principal goals of FUU are:

bulletTo promote inventions in Iceland;
bulletTo strengthen cooperation between young inventors;
bulletTo obtain projects for industrial activity;
bulletTo publish the members' ideas;
bulletTo develop relations with foreign inventors associations;
bulletTo participate in an international summer school for inventors;
bulletTo provide work facilities for members;
bulletTo participate in competitions both in Iceland and elsewhere.

One of the most interesting projects of FUU is to help companies and institutions find solutions to specific problems. For instance, FUU was requested by the traffic control of Reykjavik to find a better solution for reflective bands worn at night. It often happens that young people, with their open minds, turn up quick and easy solutions.

Children members of FUU take part in workshops on the subject of innovation, under the guidance of a teacher and an inventor.

Once a year a national competition for children in elementary schools is held. The best ideas are developed thanks to the support of the Icelandic Technical College and the Icelandic Ministry of Industry.

The first and past chairman of FUU Einar S.Einarson, aged 15, says his dream is one day to invite to Iceland students from abroad who would participate in summer schools for young inventors. An exhibition of the children's works would be held.  FUU members also expressed their wish for penfriends around the world.

(Note by IFIA:  FUU ceased to exist end of 1998).


Science Clubs

(Information published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter, No. 6, January-June 1999)

The Kuwait Scientific Club was founded on August 11, 1974. Its objectives are to:
bulletsponsor scientific activities and disseminate scientific awareness;
bulletraising the standard of science in cooperation with the different science clubs and organizations;
bulletprovide a favorable atmosphere for the club’s members to spend their spare time usefully, which serves them and their country;
bulletfoster solidarity among the club’s members and develop their talents effectively;
bulletparticipate in science competitions, camps and symposia, exchange visits, and share experiences with other science clubs.

logoKuwait.jpg (6803 bytes)

One of the main programs of the Kuwait Scientific Club is the Training & Scientific Project Department. This Department aims at encouraging collective work among the Kuwaiti youth and giving them direct access to knowledge in all fields of science. It is an autonomous department whose members are students of Kuwait University and Public Authority of Applied Education and Training. This Department consists of the following centers: Studies and Research; Training; and Information and Statistics.

The Kuwait Scientific Club is member of IFIA, and has developed activities which aim to:

bulletencourage the spirit of creativity and invention among youth and to respond to the requirements of the time;
bullethelp members gain access to knowledge and new ideas by participating in local, Arab and international exhibitions;
bullettrain members in scientific thinking and innovation;
bulletprepare, develop, update and implement training sessions and study programs;
bulletsuggest new, temporary and permanent programs;
bulletarrange in-house, local and international training courses as well as specify training methods and techniques;
bulletreceive reports on branches“ activities, preparing and analyzing statistics.


Other organizations

Scientific Toy Association

(Note published in IFIA-YOUTH Newsletter No. 6, January-June 1999)

During the past years, the Scientific Toy Association (Vedecka Hracka), a Corresponding Member of IFIA, has been organizing the International Competition of Scientific Toy. The major goal is to propose an original, esthetic, functional toy or game using and demonstrating a phenomenon of nature (physical or natural law). The competition hopes to contribute to the harmonious relationship between man and nature and to broaden the market for scientific and educational toys or games for all ages and for the whole family.

Rules: Applications must be written in English. The prototype of the original scientific toy or game must be sent to the address of the organizers. In case the applicant cannot present a prototype toy for lack of material and/or for technical reasons, they may present the project in the form of a drawing, photo or video.

The organizer of the competition will not cover any cost connected with the development, construction, transportation, etc., of the scientific toy or project.

The proposals will be evaluated by an international rules committee. The awards consist of a one-week stay abroad at the Hands-on-Science Centre in Slovakia.

For more information, please write to:
VEDECKA HRACKA. (Scientific Toy Association)
Csl. Parasutistov 17
831 03 Bratislava, Slovakia
Tel/fax.: +42-7-525-9206.


Jump to the YOUTH page       Jump to the HOME page