"I felt I needed to be a part of the solution."

Desirée Amadeo, Merrimack High School InvenTeam student, speaking to her decision to take part in the project and help address global warming issues

Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School InvenTeam (2005)

Although many projects are team-based, it is important to keep in mind the role of creativity in invention. Every invention starts with a spark of an idea in one person's mind. Even inventions that come from a small group or a team have their basis in one person's thoughts and ideas. There is a common misconception that a group can simply come together and produce an invention. In order for a group to invent something, all members must bring their own creative input to the table. Sometimes one person's creative spark unleashes a tidal wave of ingenuity from the rest of the group, which leads to an invention.

People often hear about inventions that stem from a "Eureka!" moment — that moment when the inventor suddenly unearths the critical idea that makes his invention possible. However, those "Eureka!" moments come only to individuals who think long and hard about finding new solutions to old problems, or new connections between elements around them.

Sometimes a creative thought or concept in one person's mind will not make sense to anyone else, even though it may be a perfectly good idea or even an extraordinary breakthrough. That does not mean that the idea should be discarded. In this case, the person may simply need some time and space to successfully translate the idea into a form that makes sense to others. In fact, many famous inventions and breakthroughs have come from stubborn individuals who persisted even when everyone else doubted them, such as 1999 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stephanie Kwolek, who invented the high-strength fiber Kevlar®.

As an individual in an InvenTeam or involved in another project, one should not be discouraged if his or her ideas are not received well within the group. If one really feels passionate about an idea, it can still be pursued further as an individual endeavor. It may require a good deal of time and money, but if the idea really is good, the extra effort will prove worthwhile in the end.