It Takes a Village: The Myth of the Lone Inventor

Making a difference through invention and design is not just my calling, it’s the delight of my life and a true privilege. Whether helping to protect first responders or at-risk infants, innovation in wearable technology has been and continues to be an amazing journey for me.


It’s also a journey in which I’m never alone.


Here’s a little secret about innovation: It’s never a one-person show. Every life-changing invention is the product of a whole community of contributors working together or in series, from concept to reality.


They say it takes a village to raise a child. I can tell you from experience, it’s the same when you’re inventing a glove to help people regain use of their hands after a stroke or a wearable that predicts seizures for people with epilepsy!


Many of my collaborators are from the Delaware region, including the University of Delaware. More than 200 students have been deeply involved with my lab, and in many cases are actual co-inventors. Other collaborators are people and companies known around the world, and I feel so fortunate for the opportunity to work with them.


Our Dr. Martha Hall community to date includes:


  • First and foremost, the people we design for — their input, participation, and first-hand perspective is the bedrock of what we do, and empathy is always our starting place
  • Students from across the University of Delaware, who participate in all aspects of projects and often go on to support work in other labs and initiatives
  • Professionals from many sectors — health care, first responders and military, business and marketing leaders, entrepreneurs, and so many more, all bringing expertise and critical insights
  • Legal professionals who shape the intellectual property strategies that protect our designs
  • Engineers and creative professionals who help bring concepts to life and offer refinement and improvements as we advance through prototypes
  • Other faculty — from my university as well as from campuses around the world
  • Companies, nonprofits, hospitals, and other organizations that play vital roles in getting innovation into the real-world where it can make a difference
  • And, of course, my own mentors! A constant source of support as I continually refine my vision and goals and the path I’m on to reach them


In the few years since our Innovation Lab opened, I’ve been deeply connected with these communities and have learned an immense amount about how much talent and genius and passion there is all around us.


It’s important to celebrate these colleagues, so over the next months, we’ll be profiling as many as we can in this blog


I hope you’ll join in learning about them and the many, many minds, hands and hearts it takes to bring an idea into the world!


PS: If you think you might like to be a part of our work, please reach out — we’re always looking to grow our network of experts and others who make the difference between a decent concept and a life-changing invention.