Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Toyota's MOI (Mothers of Invention)

Copyright © Fran├žoise Herrmann

Not all women inventors are patented – both historically and to date, even if the very first US Patent Act (1790) explicitly included women inventors in the provisions of the law with the use of the pronoun “she”. And not all inventions are patentable according to the rules of patentability, in particular software.  This leaves many inventions unprotected, but no less thriving.

Toyota’s MOI (Mothers of Invention) awards, in collaboration with the Women in the World network since 2012, are dedicated to recognizing women inventors. Interestingly, this recognition is extended to both women inventors of physical objects and to women inventors of an organization which has an impact on making change for social good.

MOI Grand Award winners receive grants, and a free trip to the Women in the World summit event, where they receive both publicity and the opportunity to become part of the powerful Women of the World network founded by the award-winning journalist, author and former Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker – Tina Brown.

The Women of the World network includes, for example, such participants and agents of change as : Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Christine Lagarde, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Madeleine K. Albright, President Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Sheryl Sandberg, Sunitha Krishnan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Melinda Gates, Robi Damelin, Nobel Peace Prize laureates Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman, Dalia Ziada, HRH Queen Rania of Jordan, Nancy Pelosi, Alaa Murabit, Gloria Steinem, Zainab Salbi, Christiane Amanpour, Tzipi Livni, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe.
The women founders of the following amazingly vibrant organizations were named and rewarded MOI - Mothers of Invention by Toyota Corporation, in collaboration with Women in the World :

  • Well aware – A non-profit founded by Sarah Evans, dedicated to providing clean water systems in East Africa.
  • Lava Mae – A non-profit, San Francisco-based organization, founded by Doniece Sandoval, which brings “pop-up care” to homeless populations. The organization transformed public transportation buses into public showers and toilets on wheels, restoring hygiene and dignity, one shower at a time.
  • ClickMedix – Founder and CEO Ting Shih, this organization designs a Global Mobile mhealth platform, developed at MIT and Carnegie Mellon universities, to extend the range of available healthcare services to patients worldwide.
  • DC Greens – Co-founded by Lauren Shweder Biel and Sarah Holway, this organization supports food access, food policy and food education in the nation’s capital, bringing together businesses, schools, government and farmers in various partnerships.
  • LuminAid – Co-founded by architects Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, who designed a Solar powered light to assist with relief efforts in Haiti, in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. The solar Aid light has since been used in 70 countries and for many various post-disaster relief efforts.
  • English @ work, acquired in 2014 by the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas– founded by Meg Poag, the organization sends paid English instructors to workplaces in Central Texas providing English lessons to motivated people.
  • Copia –  Founded by Komal Ahmad, this organization has a mission to end food waste and stop hunger.  The organization uses a platform that matches those who give food with those who receive food, using food angel drivers as go-betweens.
  • DreamWakers – Co-founded by Monica Gray and Anne Medaglia, this organization, based in NYC,  uses technology to connect career professionals with schools -- to sparks dreams.
  • Specs4us – Founded by Maria Dellapina, SPECS4US stands for “Superior Precision Eyewear for Children who are Special”. Accordingly, the company designs “Erin’s World Frames” specifically designed for children and adults with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities -- so that glasses no longer slip off!
  • Cardborigami – Founded by Tina Hosvepian, this organization designs easy pop-up shelter solutions in disaster-response situations, using origami looking insulated cardboard structures, that are presumably also water resistant!
  • – Founded by O’Neil sisters, Morgan and Caitria, this organization links volunteers to communities facing disasters, offering up-to-the-minute social media updates, and recording all donations, however random.
Save the date! ­čĹá The Women in the World Summit 2017 is to be held this year in NYC, April 5-7. 

MOI Nomination form
2016 Toyota MOI awardees
Tina Brown

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