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The spirit of innovation

After several years as an ethnographer, I came into carpentry from my innovations. I passed concourses, won several of them and was granted funds from an incubator that trained me during 18 months to become a business owner. My experience with this incubator brought me to talk in front of  juries that came with high expectations. I won the first incubator grant ever given to a woman and I won the maximum funds available, BUT, the high level of requirements that was imposed on me did not let any room for any other choice than becoming my own boss, and in the world of carpentry, and the world of innovation, I had to invent my own rules to become a carpenter.

I patented my technologies on June 2012. In July 2012, I created my own wood construction company to carry the construction of several prototypes. I have worked with a public laboratory, engineers, I invested a lot of money, I recruited employees and I had found customers to buy my first prototypes, but when I moved to Las Vegas in February 2015 and watched the gaming in the casinos, I felt like a gambler who had spent 5 years taking bets for my own pride. I have spent 5 years in a world of innovation where patents only grant to lay ideas on paper. Once the innovations are patented, the spirit of innovation dies within. You enter a world of a competition where shareholders and stakeholders of international companies create a vacuum of morals. 

Still, the spirit of innovation makes good projects, good designs, good dynamics to bring a wind of progress in the society. Just like the Go game, the purpose in fine may not have been to win, but to have made the game, and the most important game in a life, is the game we make for ourselves, the desire of an achievement, the dedication we put in a work, the positive energy that keeps the mind focused on doing better. Everything in life is about "doing better", learning from experience and going ahead, one step at a time.

I am not going to talk about my patents, this is for another story. I am going to talk about the self-standing stairs. My first design was made in 2001. My first meeting with a patent attorney was in 2002. I showed him a small model made out of balsa wood. He kept silent for 15 minutes then asked for a demonstration to break it and to build it again. The first prototype scaled 1:1 was built in 2013. The first industrial prototype was built in 2014. The first fabric model was made in 2018. This is still not a commercial product but I am one step from selling a manufactured designer line.

The spirit of innovation creates a state of mind willing to always progress. It did not work, "never mind", let's change the design. Maybe some day, it will come out well and just the idea that it might work is enough good to push the innovation ahead. I don't need to sell millions of them. I just need to sell the very good one that will be worse the million to me. That's what a stair is all about, escalating life with excitement, joy and self-estime, the satisfaction that what ever happen, "I did it".

Life is like walking above the water. The effort to not drown takes you up one step, then another and another until you don't feel any more drowning. The next steps are not about keeping the head above the water, but rather leaving everything ugly behind to focus on the beauty of the steps ahead. What does not kill you makes you strong.

Life is a series of innovations that we invent everyday to define our goals and sometimes goals are like a spiral, they are turning around. A stair is not a circle. A stair is like a march and a spirituality that elevates the mind to go higher. It's a direction and an irresistible attraction to a way of life made of progress.

A stair is like a window to heaven, it's a path and a destiny. What will remain might be beautiful, like a bone of geometry.

The spirit of innovation never stops creating new shapes and new functionalities. Innovation brings life in motion, it never stops moving, from the Latin word "movere". Moving means "going from one place to another", but also "influence", "take action", "provoke a strong feeling", "stir up", "make progress" and "propose for discussion and resolution in a meeting or legislative assembly".

A stair can become the place for a forum, a theater or a garden. There are so many ways to move on a stair. Motion becomes an eMotion, some kind of augmented reality floating above the same water, where we have been drowning before. But we were born drowning and like a flower finds the light, we have found the peace that comes with the path to innovate. Innovation is a spirituality, something that drives us into a direction of progress. Being a better person.

All my work is driven by this spirit of innovation, all my life, it never stops. It's never all good, it's never all bad, but for sure it makes me different from some other carpenters. Still, I am a baby  compared to all the generations of carpenters who have/had skills and bright ideas way more crazy than mine.

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About E.B

Eima BLANK is a designer and a rewarded entrepreneur who started a career as an ethnographer in 1992, was graduated in architecture in 1995 and is now experiencing her passions as a carpenter and a craft woman. She has directed wood construction projects from 2010 to 2015. She is the author of several books and studies about wood construction and the economy of forestry. She has also won several concourses for her innovations on wood and fabric construction. Her drawings entered an army museum for her sarcastic humor, she has a model house in another museum and she is a member of the ADAGP and the ARS for the management of her artist and designer rights. She is also an occasional cartoonist, what she carries on her smile.
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