Innovation Madness: Final Four

It’s that time: we’ve made it to the Final Four in our #InnovationMadness bracket! You’ve cast your votes and helped us narrow down the field of fearless female innovators to the uber elite. Next, all four of these incredible innovators will go head-to-head in our final showdown. Now is the time to pick your final favorite innovator and vote for her on Twitter using her unique hashtag. Your vote could be the one that leads her, and the staff member who chose her, to victory.

We’ve had a lot of fun playing #InnovationMadness with all of you, and honoring the important and often unsung work of the women who were featured here and more broadly throughout history. Hopefully along the way you’ve learned about some impressive women innovators and the next time someone asks you to name your favorite female inventors, you’ll be able to rattle off at least 16 of them. (Check out the original #InnovationMadness post to learn about all the inspiring women we featured.)


Head on over to Twitter and vote your chosen champion to victory! We’ll announce the #InnovationMadness winner on Monday morning, April 4. Vote often until then to make sure your favorite innovator is chosen.

FINAL MATCHUP: Mary Anderson vs. Lizzie J. Magie vs. Marie Van Brittan Brown vs. Hedy Lamarr 


#InnovationMadness2: Mary Anderson, inventor of windshield wipers
Chosen by Julia Power, Office Coordinator

There are about 253 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads today. Before Anderson’s 1903 invention of the windshield wiper, drivers would have to stop their car every few minutes to physically wipe the buildup from their windshield. Not only was this inefficient, but it was also extremely dangerous! Anderson’s invention has been helping drivers with their commutes ever since.
Vote for Mary Anderson by tweeting #InnovationMadness2.


#InnovationMadness7: Lizzie J. Magie, creator of the Monopoly game
Chosen by Sheila Herrling, Vice President of Social Innovation

In 1903, Lizzy Magie was troubled by the vast income inequality she saw, and a capitalist system that could either put private capital to public good (think early impact investing), or benefit the few already well off. She used that personal passion to invent the board game—Landlord. The original game had rules that allowed players to live and learn the tension between and tactics for pursuing the two philosophies. Many believe that this game was the inspiration for Charles Darrow, who in 1932 turned it into Monopoly and sold it to Parker Brothers. Lizzy Magie fought for its rights, received $500 for the Landlord’s patent (no royalties) and her role as true founder of the Monopoly concept continues to be debated in the history books, but you can vote her into victory here!
Vote for Lizzie J. Magie by tweeting #InnovationMadness7.


#InnovationMadness10: Marie Van Brittan Brown, creator of the home security system
Chosen by Jade Floyd, Senior Director of Communications

Today’s home security systems feature all the bells and whistles, from infrared cameras to home automation technology to electronic control of every light and lock. But did you know that the first modern-day home security closed-circuit television system (CCTV), alarm and entry buzzer to allow guests in was invented by Marie Van Brittan Brown in 1966? An uptick in crime in her neighborhood drove her to create the system so she would feel safer while at home alone. She invented the remote monitor and control-operated door that laid the groundwork for a now multi-billion dollar market.
Vote for Marie Van Brittan Brown by tweeting #InnovationMadness10.


#InnovationMadness15: Hedy Lamarr, creator of spread spectrum technology
Chosen by Fatimah Shaikh, Social Innovation Intern

Hedy Lamarr was not only a 1930s movie star, she also gave us an invention that still stands at the forefront of technology even today: the spread spectrum. With the help of Georg Antheil, an experimental musician, Lamarr invented the Secret Communications System, which they tried to give to the U.S. military during WWII. However, it was not until the Cuban Missile Crisis that the value of spread spectrum was realized. Today, Lamarr’s Secret Communication System is the backbone of all technological machines with wireless operations.
Vote for Hedy Lamarr by tweeting #InnovationMadness15.