We invite you to explore PBS LearningMedia™! or here.
After 2 resource views, you will be prompted to create an account.

Process of Innovation Lesson Plan

Grades: 6-13+
Login with your PBS account

Lesson Summary

Innovation 101

Process of Innovation is one of the five lessons from The Henry Ford’s curricula, Innovation 101 which is a unique and dynamic digital educational module that uses oral history interviews of some of America's iconic innovators (past and present) from The Henry Ford's OnInnovation website for active teaching and learning. It is designed to be an introductory module that can be used by schoolteachers, youth service providers, instructors in colleges and universities as well as trainers in a corporate setting. The content actively engages participants in critical 21st-century skills development such as critical thinking, problem solving and creativity fueling self-directed learning and digital literacy. Supporting work sheets, glossaries of terms, inspiring quotes and project ideas offer an unduplicated learning opportunity for the teacher and the participant.

To use Lesson 1 (What is Innovation?), Lesson 2 (Traits of an Innovator), Lesson 4 (Keys to Innovation), and Lesson 5 (Intellectual Property Rights and More) of Innovation 101 check the OnInnovation website. Contact: Paula Gangopadhyay, Chief Learning Officer, The Henry Ford, at paulag@thehenryford.org for further information.

Time Allotment

approximately 45 minutes


Step A: Ovearching Question of the Day (2 minutes)

  • Is there a process of innovation?

Step B: Inquiry (10 minutes)

  • Find out the difference between invention, innovation and discovery. Watch these videos to learn how these innovators talk and define some of these terms:

William McDonough





Steve Wozniak

Toshiko Mori





 Step C: Analysis (10 minutes)

Step D: Explore More Individual Activity (15 minutes)

  • Compare and contrast Steve Wozniak and Don Chadwick, two current-day innovators -- one who is a tinkerer and one who is very methodical and uses and step-by-step process. Find out about the different processes used by these innovators:

Steve Wozniak





Don Chadwick





Step E: Reflection and Critical Thinking (8 minutes)

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
NSTA National Science Education Standards

Identify how the processes of invention, innovation, and discovery are different, describe the steps in the process of innovation, and explore the different methods used by successful innovators.