Art Molella opened the proceedings of the Institute with some framing questions for the discussion. He asked the participants to consider what, if anything, makes a place designed for and devoted to invention different from other creative spaces? Are there specific features that are common to inventive places, whether they are individual workshops or geographic regions? How do creative people shape and interact with their spaces? In what ways do communities, cities, and regions support and/or constrain invention? How have these factors affecting inventive places changed over time?
Similarly, why are some places seemingly more fertile for invention than others? What is it about common, everyday places like kitchens, garages, and farms that inspire the inventive spirit? When does a workplace become a wellspring of invention? Can regions eager to foster invention and its economic benefits successfully emulate places like Silicon Valley?
. . . invention brings together knowledge from different disciplines to create something new . . .
The interdisciplinary group participating in the Lemelson Institute was brought together to ponder these questions and to inform the Lemelson Center’s future activities on the subject of places of invention, including publications, exhibitions, and documentation of contemporary inventors.
Circular image above: (L to R) Jennifer Light, Lillian Hoddeson, and Robert Kargon trying their hands at “grab bag inventing.” © Smithsonian Institution