Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Mapping the inventive mind

Excerpted from a presentation by David Perkins, Professor of Cognitive Science- Harvard University at the National Academy of Sciences, April 23, 2004.

"Mapping the inventive mind" was the topic of a session at the National Academies of Science on April 23, 2004, in a seminar on "Enhancing inventiveness for quality of life, competitiveness and sustainability" sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program and the National Science Foundation and hosted by the National Academy of Engineering. The presenter was David Perkins, Professor of Cognitive Science- Harvard University.

The question what makes the inventive mind inventive? was answered by outlining specific abilities and character traits, including that the inventive mind "displays transgressive cognition, meaning a tendency to cross boundaries in various ways, and a practical-technological orientation. Both of these characteristics receive support from technical knowledge, dogged persistence, and a systematic and strategic frame of mind, and further depend on socially oriented capabilities concerning collaboration, learning and coordination, market sensitivity, and entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship."

Such abilities and traits can also be evidence of leaders, and thus suggest objectives for PKAL's continued emphasis on leadership development.

Further material from a workshop, "The Architecture of Invention," sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT Program that produced the "mapping the mind" report can be found at: http://web.mit.edu/invent