Connecting Colorado’s Jewish Teens

Using Creative Thinking to Change the World, by Sophie G.



Innovators change our world. They confront something that is not working and fix it. The process of innovation has been used throughout history and all over the world, in varying degrees and with different purposes. My first journey into innovation involved creating the Grav-WASH-ity. The development of this idea began while I was sitting in my home, simply thinking about everyday luxuries that I take for granted. Upon discovering that the ability to clean my clothes fits this description, I decided to innovate. Building upon a concept with which I was already familiar, a washing machine, I created something that no one had before.

The Grav-WASH-ity is a gravity-powered washing machine designed for use in developing countries where people lack access to electricity. The design is safe, durable, and reliable, and is made from accessible materials in order to make it both economically and environmentally viable. The Grav-WASH-ity is also scalable, meaning that many machines can be powered by one source of gravity. Therefore, it can be used by a whole community, rather than individual people or families. This will promote the creation of a business enterprise in the community to encouraging economic involvement from the community members.

Last summer, I received a U.S patent for the Grav-WASH-ity from the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office. This patent gives me exclusive rights over the idea I created. Now, I am working to improve the prototype of the machine in order to make it more efficient. Next, I plan to create a global network of people interested in using the machine in communities all over the world. This will allow me to pilot the Grav-WASH-ity internationally and consequently achieve my business-enterprise goal.

In the past year, I worked to build an enterprise to support my invention by participating in PresenTense Colorado. A Jewish fellowship for young entrepreneurs, PresenTense supports the idea that, “The power of innovation knows no age limits.” It is a 6-month program that teaches empathy, innovation, and social change, all while focusing on a set of Jewish values. Members learn how to conduct empathy interviews, research target markets, innovate for social change, and explore their Jewish identities. At the end of the 6 month period, Fellows apply for up to $1,000 to support their projects. I applied for and received this money, and I plan to use it to for global outreach and prototype improvement of the Grav-WASH-ity.

The PresenTense Fellowship concluded in May with the Fellow Showcase. During the showcase, community members are invited to see what the Fellows have been working on. We each got the opportunity to speak to the crowd for one minute about our project, and then explained our booths to people in more detail. Nearly 200 people came to the Showcase this year, and each left inspired by the projects they saw.

Not only is innovation possible, it’s a core concept as humanity grapples with challenges, big and small. With the desire to step out of line, to say “hey, that’s not working,” and to question the world around you, the ability to improve upon it becomes inherently accessible. This process spans time, location, and age. It can be accomplished by anyone with a desire to advocate and work for change.

Do you have a great idea for a social innovation project? Learn more about PresenTense here.

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