Black History Month: An Interview with Ayanna Howard, FNAI


As we continue in celebrating Black History Month, Ayanna Howard, FNAI and Dean of the College of Engineering at NAI Member Institution The Ohio State University, shares with us why she became an inventor and the importance of diversity in innovation.

Q: What inspired you to become an inventor?
A: When I was in middle school, I became particularly fascinated with the TV show – The Bionic Woman. Watching the show, which correlated with my love for science fiction, helped me to figure out what I wanted to do– I wanted to make an impact on the world and the rest of my life has been about figuring out what that means. Of course, that naturally leads to developing new innovations to make things that matter to people.

Q: What is the importance of having diverse and unique perspectives in the innovation and invention ecosystem?
A: Having diverse perspectives is an important aspect to developing innovative solutions to hard problems. Some of it is because, when you have a group of individuals with different experiences that collaboratively contribute to developing a solution, it gets everyone else in the room to think differently and ask different questions. Studies have shown, time and time again, that when you combine different perspectives from a diverse group of people, the result is having better innovations.

Read more about her work: