When the Rubber Hits the Road” (About 1925)   …   One wheel motorcycle (invented by Italian M. Goventosa de Udine).  Maximum speed: 150 kilometers per hour ( 93 Mph). 

The Wheel: A new book puts a basic technology in its place   …   Bulliet … proposes an exact birth for the wheel: the wheel-set design, whereby wheels are fixed to rotating axles, was invented for use on mine cars in copper mines in the Carpathian mountains, perhaps as early as 4000 BC.   

…  the wheel is actually not that great an idea. It only really came into its own once John McAdam, a Scot born in 1756, introduced a superior way to build roads.


Questions:  How does innovation occur?  How can it best be fostered?  Are there proven methods or procedures that can be learned?  What is it NOT?


71-YO Farmer’s Weeding Innovation Reduces Costs for 1000s of Farmers

Beyond Change Management:  Accelerating Transformation & Building Agile Organizations  

Canada Mining Innovation Council

Creative Engine

Creativity Before Innovation

Developing Innovation Skills: A guide for trainers and assessors to foster the innovation skills of learners through professional practice

Do Schools Kill Creativity?  (Sir Ken Robinson)

From Creativity to Innovation

Innovation:  Adapt, Create, and Invent

Innovation Management (Oya I. Tukel)

Innovative Approaches to Engineering Education – CAETS

Institute for the Future

Myths of Innovation, The (Scott Berkun)

NASA’s Fifth Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition

Open Innovation Pavilion 

Santa Fe Institute 

Where Good Ideas Come From (Steven Johnson)

Question:  How might mine development blasting be used to generate seismic data that would precisely define the location, size, and shape of ore deposits?

The ear underground    …   How fibre-optic cables can work like microphones [to detect ground vibrations]

Art:  21


Australian Workforce Innovation Program


Canada Business


Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Canadian Mining Industry Research Organization       

Civil Engineering Database 


Collections Canada


Conference Listings (Across Canada and Around the World)


Construction Innovation Forum 


Creativity & Thinking Skills  


Digital Library for Physics and Astronomy 


Energy Technology Innovation Policy






Inside Knowledge 


Junior Achievement 


Manning Innovation Awards 


National Innovation Foundation of India


National Research Council of Canada 


Raosoft Sample Size Calculator


The Innovation Journal 


Today’s Engineer


TRIZ Japan 


Youth Science Foundation Canada



What does innovation look like?   Well, something like this:

Liquid Radio

America’s navy is developing an antenna made of seawater

Jan 27th, 2011    

A BIG American warship bristles with more than 100 large copper antennae that send and receive signals for its weapons, its radar and its voice and data communications. A lot of aerials, then, but still not enough. The navy wants its ships to carry even more of them. Fulfilling that desire has, however, stymied experts for decades. If placed too close together, antennae interfere with each other’s signals. They also get in the way of aircraft and weapons. And, crucially, naval antennae—many of them more than 20 metres tall—make warships more easily visible to enemy radar. 

At the American navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (known as SPAWAR for short), in San Diego, a team of more than 30 engineers is trying to solve such problems. In 2007 the team’s leader, Daniel Tam, thought of a possible answer, appropriately enough, while taking his morning shower. The sodium and chloride ions in salt water conduct electricity. Could a spout of seawater, he mused, replace a metal antenna? 

After a trip to a hardware store, Mr Tam discovered that indeed it could. With an $80 water pump, a $15 rubber hose and a $20 electrical device called a current probe that was easily plugged into a hand-held radio, he produced a spout roughly four metres tall from the waters of San Diego Bay. With this he could send and receive a clear signal. Over the intervening years his invention, dubbed the “pee antenna” by incredulous colleagues, has been tweaked and improved to the point where it can transmit over a distance of more than 50km (30 miles).

To make a seawater antenna, the current probe (an electrical coil roughly the size and shape of a large doughnut) is attached to a radio’s antenna jack. When salt water is squirted through the hole in the middle of the probe, signals are transferred to the water stream by electromagnetic induction. The aerial can be adjusted to the frequency of those signals by lengthening or shortening the spout. To fashion antennae for short-wave radio, for example, spouts between 18 and 24 metres high are about right. To increase bandwidth, and thus transmit more data, such as a video, all you need do is thicken the spout. And the system is economical. The probe consumes less electricity than three incandescent desk lamps.

A warship’s metal antennae, which often weigh more than 3½ tonnes apiece, can be damaged in storms or combat. Seawater antennae, whose components weigh next to nothing and are easily stowable, could provide handy backups—and, eventually, more than backups. Not all of a ship’s antennae are used at once, so the spouts could be adjusted continuously to obtain the types needed at a given moment. According to SPAWAR, ten such antennae could replace 80 copper ones.

Fewer antennae mean fewer things for enemy radar to reflect from. Seawater is in any case less reflective of radar waves than metal. And if a ship needed to be particularly stealthy (which would mean keeping its transmissions to a minimum), her captain could simply switch the water spouts off altogether.

One disadvantage of water spouts is that they can be torn apart by the wind. SPAWAR’s researchers have, however, found that their antennae work just as well if encased in a plastic tube. The tube can be sealed at the top so that the water goes up the middle, bounces off the top and then trickles down the inside of the tube’s wall to the bottom, where it may be recycled.

That innovation also means that SPAWAR’s invention need not be restricted to the navy. The closed-tube design allows saline aerials to be deployed on land, too. Indeed, one has already been tested successfully by a group of marines. It worked, as expected, with brine made from fresh water and a few pinches of salt. But if salt is not at hand, never fear. It also worked fine when the spout was fed with Gatorade.