Celebrate the Inventors and Innovators

Martin Karl Vanags
3 min readFeb 11, 2022


Today we are celebrating three days: International Day of Women and Girls in Science, National Inventors Day and Thomas Edison’s Birthday. These all have something in common. Let’s start with Thomas Edison.

We grow up learning that Edison invented the lightbulb. He actually improved the lightbulb. He also worked very hard to find others who either invented or patented incandescent lights abroad (particularly in Europe) and either purchased their patents, created a business partnership or hired them to work for him. In the end it only looked like he was the inventor.

Edison was a better business innovator. By creating Menlo Park, his large (for those times), research campus in New Jersey, Edison created the first research and development think tank solely devoted to creating and designing new products. His impact on how to innovate and develop products cannot be understated.

Of course he held over 1,000 patents in his name, however many of those patents were the work of his many employees and researchers that he hired to conduct the work that led to many modern inventions in chemicals, mining, radiation measurement, and communications. He even developed the “Spirit Phone” , a device to talk to the dead.

International Women and Girls in Science Day promotes the inclusion of women in the sciences and this year in particular the concentration is on water. The focus, called “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Water Unites Us”. Unfortunately, women are often overlooked in Science and technology. According to the United Nations women are given smaller research grants, only 20% of researchers in cutting edge fields are women, and they are often paid less than their male peers in all areas of science.

President Richard Nixon proclaimed the first National inventors Day in 1973. The first Patent in the United States was conferred upon Joseph Jenks in 1646 by a Massachusetts Court for water wheel. The patent for this invention gave him protection for 14 years. In the proclamation the President said:

“Great and complex challenges at home and abroad demand further progress and new technology. Today, as in our past, the inventor must play a crucial role in determining whether we meet these challenges.”

Some things never change.

The spirit of invention and innovation is in the DNA of Americans and would-be Americans. More importantly the set of rules and regulations that govern business and provide protection to inventors is culturally and legally significant. It is the reason many came here to live and develop their ideas.

We need to continue to nourish our inventors of all nationalities, origins, genders and orientations. The inventiveness of our communities and the rules and govern our civil society make us who we are and give us the prosperity to do even more.

So congratulations to all of our inventors, researchers, developers, entrepreneurs, and the people who create. Kudos to the tireless people that make sure our rule of law creates the environment that nurtures and makes innovation and inventiveness possible. A shout out to the girls and women who have overcome bias and discrimination to acheive great breakthroughs.

If you are an economic development leader or community leader you can do more than agree to these ideas. Reach out to others in the community and make sure that STEM programs for girls are in place, that you are creating an environment for local entrepreneurs to flourish so that the next Thomas Edison or Heddy Lamar cna have a chance.

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Martin Karl Vanags

You can find me thinking and writing about economics, communities, technology, the future, and human performance. Find me at www. martinkarlconsulting.com