In January 2011, the Lemelson-MIT Program, a nonprofit program at MIT’s School of Engineering that celebrates and recognizes innovators, charged Cone with conducting its annual Invention Index, which measures Americans’ perceptions of invention, and spreading the word about the survey findings through a full media relations campaign.
Cone conducted a survey among teens to uncover their attitudes toward STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and invention. The media relations campaign objectives included:
- Position Lemelson-MIT Program as a thought leader and authority on the invention climate in America, technological invention and fostering youth inventiveness
- Elevate importance of invention and hands-on learning
- Increase awareness of the Lemelson-MIT Program’s mission of celebrating innovation and inspiring youth
In fewer than three months, Cone’s campaign garnered more than 200MM impressions including coverage from Discovery, Huffington Post, Mashable and TIME, motivating a number of individuals and groups to learn about the importance of invention. Media reception was positive in tone on both the national and local levels, and almost all articles on the Invention Index included Lemelson-MIT Program key messages, survey themes and data points, and the infographic developed by Cone’s Creative Services team. The Invention Index is a frequent topic of conversation among the STEM community, reporters and potential collaborators. In 2009, the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index program was the recipient of the PR News NonProfit Award for best Media Relations Campaign.