The development of an invention from idea to reality is a long process which often involves many people with knowledge in various areas. Therefore, the invention process is particularly well suited for multidisciplinary work in schools. Art, history, mathematics, natural science, crafts, language, and technology can together or separately be woven into the work with Finn upp.
Ingenjörsamfundet (the Swedish Society of Engineers) started Finn upp in 1979 in order to”stimulate creativity in young people and to awaken an early interest in natural science, technology, and innovation”. The aim of the auxiliary was to inspire a new generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. Finn upp is financed by, among others, the Swedish National Agency for School Improvement. The Swedish Inventors' Association is one of several cooperation partners.
Finn upp is the PROUD WINNER of the 2005 Knowledge Awards in the category for organizations.
Follow along on a journey of invention
With Finn upp the students themselves must seek the knowledge required to produce and develop their own ideas. The work is based on the invention process, which we have named Uppfinnarresan (the Journey of Invention). The journey has three stops:Idea, Design and Realization.
To discover and make use of one's creativity and to test it under real conditions, strengthens self-esteem and is extremely motivating. Teachers who have worked with Finn upp describe how the work has awakened the students' desire to seek knowledge, drawn out hidden talents, and motivated young people to believe in their creative abilities. This creates a positive spirit of unity throughout the entire school. It is about seeing things from a new perspective and using one's creative thinking to solve problems that arise along the way. The aim of Finn upp is to be part of a developmental and educational journey. The fact that a commercially viable invention is sometimes the result is an exciting bonus, especially for the inventor himself.
Sweden's largest inventions competition every third year
Every third year Finn upp arranges a national inventions competition for students in grade 6-9. The competition is open for both advanced technical inventions as well as simple and smart solutions to daily problems. There is also a possibility to compete with improvements of already existing products.
Young inventors are rewarded with scholarships and His Majesty the King of Sweden has been distributing the prizes several times. In the 2006 contest, his daughter, the Crown Princess Victoria took over his role as price-distributor. Since the first competition in 1979 more than 48 000 ideas have been taking part in the competition and since 1991 more than 50 % of the ideas come from girls.
This is a result of several years of active work with getting girls and young women more interested in technology, chemistry, physics and mathematics but also to improve their self-esteem within these areas. Effort was (and still is) made, in the beginning of the 80th, to have girls develop an inner motivation towards inventions and science. The teachers working with Finn upp focus on making the students feel competent, to make them understand the consistency of different things and attach them to earlier experiences and knowledge.
”Since Finn upp, I always have a notebook with me to write down ideas I come up with.”
Joakim Byström, managing Director of his own solar energy company, Arontis, 1985 Finn upp award winner
”Finn upp contributes to the development of creativity and drive in students. These are abilities that Nutek believes all individuals need, particularly if they see a future for themselves as entrepreneurs or business people.”
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth - Tillväxtverket
”No one can fail! Finn upp engages the entire school around a common project: students, staff, and parents. This strengthens the "we feeling". In the long run, this will become a tradition that everyone can look forward to. That the school is seen in a creative context is, of course, also good.”
Robert Dahlqvist, Principal of Hjärupslundsskolan in Hjärup, Sweden.
”It felt really great when my invention became a reality. I entered into adult life a bit more--got to talk with advisers. I had heard about how it works, read about it in the newspapers, and now I got the chance to be in it myself. This summer my water bottle is going to be used at the European Football Championship. They have ordered a lot!”
Anna Axelson, 2006 Finn upp award winner.
”Finn upp is supported by the agency because the project stimulates young people's creativity and increases interest in natural science and technology. We see that Finn upp inspires a new generation of inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs.”
Siv Frisell, The Swedish National Agency for School Improvement.
”With Finn upp the teachers don't have the answers but rather work at the same level together with the students. The students ponder, make mistakes, and try other approaches. They become problem solvers. The competition is fun. It makes the students get more creative and focused. They become more energetic. One of our students, who used to sleep in class, turned out to be good at inventing. Technology was the first subject he was good at. This extended to other subjects. He got a proud look in his eyes and good posture, which he didn't have earlier.”
Ann-Sofi Arnström, technology teacher at Navet Skola in Örebro, Sweden