We’re leaving for our Boston field trip in just three days, and we couldn’t be more excited! The networking, the company visits, the historical tours, and the CHOWDER all await! In addition to a plentiful supply of chowder, Boston will also provide the perfect locale for us to conduct research for our final innovation projects!
Last week, Professor Johnson randomly assigned each of us an innovation topic — an issue or problem that we must analyze and research before proposing our own creative solutions. For example, my assigned topic is:
I have an idea to solve the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent backlog.
*(Patent Fun Fact of the Day: there are currently 540,000 patents currently awaiting evaluation!)
My classmate, Molly, is working with the topic:
I have an idea to promote innovation in the global south.
Our other pal, Andrew, is currently exploring his topic:
I have an idea to improve anti-racist initiatives at Colorado College.
With our topics all set, we’ve been dedicating chunks of class time to collaborative brainstorming, asking each other preliminary questions such as:
- What aspect of our topic’s problem do we want to address?
- Which populations are affected?
- How is this issue addressed in other industries?
And the most important question that Professor Johnson has pushed us to consider is:
What is the most absurd, outrageous, unprecedented, and out of the box approach to this problem?
The best idea that my classmates came up with for my topic was: Dogs as Patent Officers!
Perhaps Puppy Patent Officers are not the most feasible solution to the USPTO patent backlog, but they are a perfect place to start thinking about our projects through an unconventional and innovative lens — which is what this class is all about!
Plus, when we’re in Boston, we will have the incredible opportunity to ask industry professionals all sorts of questions relating to our topics! What is a typical patent pendency period for a healthcare start-up and how does that wait time affect business strategy, as well as the quality and affordability of client services?
Not quite sure, but I can’t wait to find out!