USF YOUNG INVENTORS COMPETITION
By: BILL GREEN
Each year I dedicate two special days of my life as an HSN Employee and participant in a fabulous Community Service Event in the Tampa Bay area, it’s called the USF Young Inventors Competition.
Phase I – Training the Students to Succeed at the Finalist Competition
The first phase of my HSN Community Service is where I present a training seminar which I have developed on “How to Make an Effective Presentation”. This seminar is presented classroom style on the HSN Campus for the 10 finalist students who have been nominated by the local chapter of the N.A.I., (National Academy of Inventors) selection committee at the USF Campus in Tampa, FL. This seminar includes educational content which I have used throughout my earlier career and prior role working in Human Resources, Training and Development which provides these students hands-on training, information, education and practice mock-demonstrations to prepare these students to present their inventions before a committee of experienced, Inventors, business owners, inventors, educators and sales professionals including myself who also serves as a finalist judge. We also arrange for these students to be “on camera” in an HSN studio and record their presentations on video at the conclusion of this training seminar for the purpose of further preparing them as young business entrepreneurs and leaders.
Phase II – Finalist Judging
My role as a Finalist Judge is to participate with a Panel of Judges to critique each of these students (all ages) as they present their innovative product ideas and inventions and provide feedback to the students on the viability for success of their innovations to become patentable, marketable products so the judging panel may choose a Grand Prize Winner, First and Second runner up for this competition.
There are three primary considerations to innovation: (1) what to build; (2) how to sell; and (3) how to protect it. Therefore expertise in engineering, business and legal comes together to take an idea to market and protect it. When students participate in the Young Innovator Competition their inventions are subject to three tiers of judging:
Initial judging reviews hundreds of invention submissions and selects the top 20-50 entries based on marketability; functionality; feasibility and potential value. Initial judging is performed by industry experts, patent attorneys and engineers.
Finalist selection is performed by a local chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The NAI members are U.S. patent holders that have often been through the entire process of bringing a new product to market. The NAI members select the finalists.
Finalist judges hear live presentations from the finalists selected by the NAI members and award the grand prizes on or near February 11th each year (Thomas Edison’s birthday).
Again, I just wanted to provide an outline of this community service event so that it is officially recognized by our Work Life Department. I have also provided links to the USF Young Inventors website with more information.
Thank you for supporting this event as it ties in so well with our business fundamentals at HSN and I am proud to be a part of it.