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Our Mission Compels Us

  • by Tim Ritchie on December 23, 2013
    Change is underway at The Tech. Our lower level is being transformed into a 30,000 s.f. beehive of design-learning activity. The Social Robots experience, The Tech Studio, Hands-on Science Workshop, and Maker Weekends are all first steps in the effort to create the world’s most engaging learning space. Over the next four years, we will replace traditional exhibits with nine different design-learning spaces, each of which will pose open-ended challenges that reward risk-taking, collaboration, a willingness to fail and a determination to persist to the end.

    We are doing these things because our mission compels us. Our mission is “to inspire the innovator in everyone.” The most important word in that statement is not “innovator,” as important as innovation is to Silicon Valley. It is not “inspire,” as important as that is to the mission of every museum. The most important word is the word “everyone.” We firmly believe that everyone we serve is a born innovator. We believe that among the things it means to be a human is to have the capacity to solve problems. As children, we experiment with the world around us, finding out what works and learning how to do things better. We create tools, work in groups, have fun taking on challenges, fail a lot and persist till we succeed. 

    Something happens when we grow up though. We learn to fear risk. We no longer think of ourselves as creative and innovative.  Our ambition atrophies. 

    This is where The Tech comes in. More specifically, that is where the design-learning activities of our lower level come in. Their purpose is not to teach basic science (though our visitors do learn a great deal about engineering and technology). It is not to showcase Silicon Valley’s latest innovations (though some of Silicon Valley’s brightest companies partner with us on a regular basis). Their purpose is to help visitors regain their creative confidence and experience again THEIR ability to solve problems with technology. In that sense, The Tech is not a museum at all. It isn’t a place to learn about the world around us.  It is a place to rediscover the power within us.

    I hope you can come to the “beehive” we are building in our lower level. You just might be surprised at the self-discoveries you make. Something timeless in you might bubble up as you rediscover the problem-solver you were created to be. And who knows:  you might never be the same again!