Innovation Works! took place during the week of January 8-12, bringing together students from different cultures and countries to build skills, invent cool products, and learn methods of invention from leading experts. Students from STEM Education Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam arrived in the Central Valley of California to join local students in this unique, hands-on invention camp offered by Entrepreneur Pathways, Inc.
The mission of Innovation Works! is to teach students how to turn ideas into products, think like an entrepreneur, and learn secrets of how inventors and entrepreneurs move ideas to reality. At the same time, students are able to make friends, have fun, and enjoy new experiences during the full week.
Most days of the program focused on methods of successful companies, such as Tesla, Apple, Google, and Amazon. On the first day, students learned about methods used by Tesla to invent. They learned how to build creative projects, make car prototypes, and ended the day with a welcome dinner.
On Tuesday, students focused on how Apple designs and builds projects. They also got to work on building robots and motorcycle prototypes.
Finally, one of the most exciting parts of the week was when the group hopped on a charter bus to travel to Silicon Valley and visit Google and the Stanford campus. During this time, students met with Google employees, toured the museum, walked the campus, all the while learning about how the company innovates.
For many of the students from Vietnam, this was their first time in California. According to Elina Mai Duong, Founder and CEO of ELI, Ltd, the students got to get out of their comfort zone. They also left the program with a much better idea of what innovation is about.
"For the kids, the five days there happened to open them up to new things," said Ms. Duong, "They experienced a new culture, a new way of study. Even small things like getting on a bus were new and interesting."
Dr. Stearns, the creator of Innovation Works! noted the local students received an opportunity to work and play side-by-side with a student from another culture. “Innovation prospers when teams from different cultures share ideas and exchange information about how people behave differently.”
The students also really loved pizza and shopping around the area, but most importantly, they found inspiration to create and be successful from the program.
"The students did many experiments on different topics everyday with the purpose of thinking innovatively," said Ms. Duong, "It's helped them learn how to solve a problem and what kind of tools and materials they can use to see how solving a problem works."
Dr. Sobey, a leader of the camp, felt both local and Vietnamese students will benefit from the experience for many years to come. “Invention is a team sport. And these kids now have the tools to collaborate with creative minds all over the world.”