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Starting small: the next big idea

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 3:25 p.m. MDT

Easton Mountain Products won first place in Outdoor and Consumer Products at the May 2011 Utah Innovation Awards with a tent lighter than any other in its class. Innovation and integration, as opposed to invention, is easier to achieve, according to an article in Inc.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

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Ever looked at a rat and thought it would be a good tool for finding tuberculosis in human sputum? Bart Weetjens did when he found African giant pouched rats had incredible sense of smell, according to an article in Inc.

Weetjens is a fellow with Ashoka, an organization that invests in social entrepreneurs. He founded APOPO, which "researches, develops and disseminates detection rats technology for humanitarian purposes," according to the company's website.

Innovators and integrators like Weetjens are the fixer-uppers and tweakers that bring new ideas to old problems, the Inc. article said. Too often entrepreneurs work on reinventing the wheel when they should focus on enhancing what is already there.

"Invention demands holding controls, modifying variables, testing, testing and retesting until you have proved that you've created something that's truly unique and beneficial," said Josh McManus, chief inventor at the Detroit-based Little Things Labs, in Inc.

Email: ehong@desnews.com

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