BT Wants UK To Embrace History Of Innovation On ‘National Inventors Day’

BT has declared the first ever ‘National Inventors Day’ amid fears the UK population no longer considers itself to be inventive and is not embracing the country’s history of invention.

Research carried out by the company revealed that just 31 percent of children could name a UK inventor with Alexander Graham Bell, creator of the telephone, the most popular answer. Adults fared better at 58 percent but are less likely to consider themselves inventive than children.

More than half of 12 year olds consider themselves as inventive thinkers compared to just 32 percent of 16 year olds and 31 percent of adults.

National Inventors Day

Gender plays a part in this consideration with 69 percent of women saying they aren’t inventive, a figure which drops to 58 percent for men, while 49 percent of girls claim not to be compared to 42 percent of boys.

BT suggests this could be remedied by redefining what it means to be inventive, with many believing inventors to be male scientists and engineers. It says this view needs to be updated and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects should be made more socially acceptable for girls.

“As a company with a long history of innovation, BT wants to celebrate inventors past and present – and help bring invention home,” said Tim Whitley, Managing Director, Research and Innovation at BT. “That’s why we’ve launched the very first National Inventors Day, and our new report, to raise awareness of the contribution that great British inventors continue to make to society, and to inspire the next generation of inventive thinkers.”

Despite varying attitudes towards inventiveness, two thirds of adults believe that creativity and inventive thinking should be taught in schools. Ongoing concerns about the suitability of the national curriculum have led to an overhaul of ICT teaching which will teach pupils how to code, but recent research revealed that the majority of schoolchildren felt they were not properly equipped with the right skills for many of the best digital jobs.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

View Comments

  • This is a wonderful initiative. I have been in the IT sector for over 26 years and having recently witness the innovation capabilities at BT’s research facilities at Adastral Park in Ipswich and the innovation created by the UK, I could not agree more we should all be doing more to not only celebrate our innovation and contribution to the world as a nation, but encouraging and nurturing more blue sky thinking from the inventors of tomorrow regardless of their gender.
    Very inspirational coming from Tim!

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