Entrepreneurship Lessons from a 16-Year-Old Inventor

Updated: December 18, 2021

Sixty percent of people with dementia wander off, especially at night, causing much stress for both patients and caregivers.

Today, I’d like you to meet Kenneth Shinozuka, a teen inventor who came up with a novel solution to help people with Alzheimer’s and their families with this issue.

When he was six years old, a family friend of his fell in the bathroom. The friend was ok – but the incident inspired him to design a motion detection system that could be embedded in bathroom tiles.

He never actually made one in real life (remember, he was only six) … but he was hooked on both the promise of the invention and the potential of technology.

Since then, Shinozuka has designed smart devices for his grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

One invention that caught the eye of both the media and awards programs such as the Google Science Fair: a pair of smart socks, designed to send an alert to a caregiver if a patient gets out of bed.

In 2014, he won the $50,000 Scientific American Science in Action Award, while he was also a 2014 Davidson Fellow.

In this 6-minute talk, Kenneth shares the story of his grandfather, and his journey so far in developing a product that could help millions of people in the future.

Let’s watch his video below.

Entrepreneurship Lessons

1. The best way to become an entrepreneur is to find a solution to a problem that a lot of people have. Leverage your passion and core competence to find these solutions.

2. Research on existing solutions to the problem to see if you can innovate on them, or create one if there’s none.

3. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to share their business ideas with others.

4. Execute your ideas properly through a well-thought plan. Entrepreneurship is a journey, and this will serve as your road map towards success.

4. Your product need not be perfect, it just has to work. Create a minimum viable product, ship, and test to get feedback, and just improve it along the way until you get a marketable product.

5. Don’t be afraid to study new stuff and learn new skills if that’s what takes to build your product and your business successfully.

The TED Conference is where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Topics include Technology, Entertainment, and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts, and much more.

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One comment

  1. Absolutely, one of my favorite kind of articles bar none!!! It does not matter if the inventor combines several existing technologies to create a wonderful new product as this young man did or if they build out a completely new idea, it is all good. Thank you Fitz for the post and YES, we will certainly be sharing this with our young troops.

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