Follow Your Dreams, Trust Your Heart

Contributed by Fang (Florence) Lu

One person who really inspired me is Thomas Edison, who accumulated more than 2,000 patents worldwide for his inventions. The most well-known of his inventions include the light bulb, motion picture, and electrographic vote recorder. All of these inventions have solved critical challenges in our lives and changed the world. Edison has inspired me to become an inventor and here I share with you a few of my inventions that have had impact on the everyday lives of people all over the planet.We all have dreams, both big and small. As a young girl growing up in China and still today as a Senior Solution Architect at IBM my dream has been to use science and technology to solve problems and make the world a better place. My journey from a curious young girl to a 3-time IBM Master Inventor and AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador was paved with knowledge from all different kinds of books, and from amazing and inspiring scientists, artists, and philosophers.

One of the primary characteristics of an inventor is being a problem-solver. In my daily work, I am fortunate to be part of the new class of inventors who continue to identify and solve challenges facing the world today. I see invention and patenting as a great way to improve lives and make the world a better place. I constantly observe everything around me to identify everyday challenges and instinctively try to find a solution. For example, I walked into the printer room in my office one day and saw that somebody had printed a large document on the color printer. I felt that was such a big waste of ink. I did some research and realized that this was not completely the user’s fault. The printer was not designed with settings that allowed the user to print part of a document in black and white and the rest in color. To solve this problem, I designed a method to print portions of a document in color and a portion in black and white. I then filed a patent called “Systems, methods, and computer program products for printing a document with a portion of the document in color and a portion of the document in black and white.” This invention system will help save ink and reduce the environmental impact and cost of color printing.

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