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Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award (Product Design) Helps and Documents

Note: The Nova program is administered at the Council level. Check with your local council about availability before starting on a Nova award.

The Next Big Thing Nova Award by Scouts BSA aims to introduce young minds to the exciting world of product design. It’s a multi-faceted award that offers insights into areas like entrepreneurship, engineering design, and market research. One of the key benefits is that it nurtures analytical thinking. Scouts are required to engage in activities that stimulate questioning and discussion. This is a great way to build skills that are applicable not just in product design, but also in daily decision-making.

Scouts BSA Nova Award

Another benefit is the focus on hands-on learning. By watching documentaries, reading articles, and even visiting places where new products are being developed, Scouts engage in immersive learning. The activities are far removed from textbook theory, providing real-world exposure that helps Scouts connect the dots between what they learn and how it is applied in the industry.

Moreover, the award encourages creativity and problem-solving. With tasks like brainstorming and “painstorming,” Scouts learn to approach problems from different angles. These are essential skills for any career, but particularly beneficial for those interested in design, engineering, or any field that demands innovative thinking.

The program also provides a platform for interaction with professionals in the field. Visiting a company or institution and speaking to someone involved in product design opens doors for networking. It’s also a good opportunity to better understand the career paths available in this area, right from the horse’s mouth.

Lastly, the Next Big Thing Nova Award is well-structured to promote a balance of learning and doing. With its requirement to earn a merit badge and engage in various activities, it encourages a holistic understanding of product design. For a Scout interested in how things are made and how to improve them, this award serves as a comprehensive starting point.

This award can be earned by young men and women who are members of Scouts BSA.

Answers and Helps

Where Can I Find the Answers for the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award?

Find specific helps for the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award requirements listed on this page. Some of these resources will just give example answers. Others will provide background information to help you understand the questions.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 1: Watch or Read

Choose A or B or C and complete ALL the requirements.

A. Watch not less than three hours total of shows or documentaries that involve the creation of new products. This can include entrepreneurship, innovation, new technology, and/or engineering design. Then do the following:
(1) Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from the show(s) you watched.
(2) Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

B. Read (not less than three hours total) about product design. Then do the following:
(1) Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from each article.
(2) Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

C. Do a combination of reading and watching (not less than three hours total). Then do the following:
(1) Make a list of at least five questions or ideas from each article or show.
(2) Discuss two of the questions or ideas with your counselor.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

Tips for Requirement 1

For Requirement 1A:

  • Choose Wisely: Since you’re investing three hours, pick shows that cover diverse aspects like entrepreneurship, innovation, and engineering. This will give you a well-rounded perspective.
  • Take Notes: While watching, jot down interesting points, questions, or ideas that pop into your head. This will make it easier to compile your list of five questions or ideas later.
  • Go Beyond the Obvious: Try to think critically. Instead of asking simple questions like “What is the product?”, try asking more complex questions such as “What problem is this product trying to solve?” or “What challenges did they face in the development process?”
  • Make Connections: See if you can relate what you’re watching to other things you know or have experienced. Sometimes the best questions or ideas come from synthesizing new information with what you already know.
  • Prepare for Discussion: Before talking to your counselor, review your questions or ideas and think about why you found them intriguing. Be prepared to elaborate on your points during the discussion.

For Requirement 1B:

  • Source Selection: Choose articles or books from credible sources. Diversifying between academic papers, industry reports, and articles from established publications can provide a multi-faceted view.
  • Take Notes: As you read, jot down questions or ideas that come to mind. If you find something confusing or intriguing, mark it. This will make compiling your list of questions or ideas easier later on.
  • Analyze: Try to go beyond just understanding the text. Ask questions like, “How does this concept apply in the real world?” or “What are the limitations of this design method?” The aim is to get deeper insights.
  • Be Specific: When making your list of questions or ideas, specificity will help. Instead of writing down a general topic like “prototyping,” specify what about prototyping you found interesting, such as “the cost factors affecting prototyping.”
  • Prepare for Discussion: Once you’ve made your list, pick the two questions or ideas you find most interesting to discuss with your counselor. Think about why these points stood out to you and be ready to discuss them in detail.

For Requirement 1C:

  • Mix and Match: Choose a balance between reading materials and shows that complement each other. For instance, if you watch a documentary about a successful entrepreneur, you might read an article about the steps involved in taking a product from idea to market.
  • Keep Track: Maintain separate lists of questions or ideas for the reading and watching segments. This helps you to better organize your thoughts and to compare insights from different types of media.
  • Be Critical: Whether you’re reading or watching, aim to think critically. Don’t just consume the information; ask how it fits into the bigger picture of product design, or how it contradicts or complements other things you’ve read or seen.
  • Note-Taking: Keep a notebook or digital document handy to jot down questions or ideas as they come to you. This will make it easier to compile your list later and prepare for the discussion with your counselor.
  • Prep for Discussion: Once you have your lists, identify the most engaging questions or ideas. Think about why these points interest you and what additional information you might seek in your discussion with your counselor.

By carefully selecting your resources and engaging critically with them, you’ll not only fulfill the requirement but also gain a rich, nuanced understanding of product design.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 2: Merit Badge

Complete ONE merit badge from the following list. (Choose one that you have not already used toward another Nova Award.) Discuss with your counselor how the merit badge you earned relates to product design.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

American Business Merit Badge

The American Business merit badge and the Next Big Thing Nova Award intersect in a few key areas, most notably around the fundamentals of bringing a product to market. The American Business badge covers aspects like business organization, market dynamics, and even touches on topics like entrepreneurship. Earning the American Business merit badge can give you a broader context in which your product design would operate. It helps you understand not just how to create a product, but also how that product fits into a business model, how it reaches consumers, and how it competes in the marketplace.

Architecture Merit Badge

The Architecture merit badge complements the Next Big Thing Nova Award by offering a focus on design, but from the perspective of buildings and structures. Both emphasize the importance of marrying form and function in design, as well as considering elements like cost and utility. Where the Nova Award dives into product design and market research, the Architecture merit badge explores how designs come to life through plans, models, and construction. The skills gained in architectural planning, such as spatial thinking and understanding user needs, are transferable to product design. Thus, the badge provides a foundational understanding of design principles that can enrich your work on the Next Big Thing Nova Award.

Composite Materials Merit Badge

Composite Materials Merit Badge

The Composite Materials merit badge aligns well with the Next Big Thing Nova Award by emphasizing the importance of material selection in the design and manufacturing process. While the Next Big Thing Nova Award focuses on creating a new product with considerations for time, cost, and quality, the merit badge teaches you about the properties of different materials and how they can be combined for specific uses. Understanding composite materials can add a layer of complexity and innovation to your product design, allowing you to make more informed choices on materials that could make your product lighter, stronger, or more cost-effective. The expertise gained from the badge can be directly applied to the real-world considerations you’d face in product design.

Digital Technology Merit Badge

The Digital Technology merit badge dovetails nicely with the Next Big Thing Nova Award, especially when it comes to designing tech-oriented products. The badge covers various aspects of digital technology, such as hardware, software, and even programming. This foundational knowledge can be invaluable when working on the Nova Award, which focuses on designing a new product. For example, understanding the basics of how software and hardware interact can inform decisions you make about the user interface, functionality, or even the hardware requirements of your product. The skills and knowledge acquired through the Digital Technology merit badge can serve as practical tools when diving into the technology-based facets of product design in the Next Big Thing Nova Award.

Drafting Merit Badge

The Drafting merit badge directly relates to the Next Big Thing Nova Award by honing skills crucial for the initial stages of product design. Drafting teaches you how to create detailed technical drawings that can communicate your ideas clearly to both clients and manufacturers. This is essential in the Next Big Thing Nova Award, where one of the requirements is to create a 3D model or sketch of your product design. Understanding the principles of drafting can significantly improve the quality and feasibility of your design, making it easier to move from the concept stage to actual production. Both cultivate skills in visualizing and planning, which are key elements in turning any idea into a tangible, marketable product.

Electronics Merit Badge

The Electronics merit badge intersects well with the Next Big Thing Nova Award when it comes to designing products with electronic components. The badge provides a foundational understanding of circuits, soldering, and basic electronic theory. This knowledge can be invaluable if you’re aiming to design a product that incorporates any electronic features. Whether you’re thinking about power supply, user interface, or overall functionality, the Electronics merit badge equips you with the technical know-how to make informed decisions during the design process. By understanding the basics of electronics, you can create a product that is not just innovative but also technically sound and feasible to produce.

Engineering Merit Badge

The Engineering merit badge and the Next Big Thing Nova Award are closely aligned, as both focus on the design and development of new products or systems. The Engineering badge gives you a comprehensive look into various engineering disciplines and the problem-solving methods engineers use. When working on the Nova Award, this foundational understanding can be applied directly to product design, helping you to approach problems methodically and come up with effective solutions. The merit badge also encourages thinking about constraints like cost, time, and materials, which are also key considerations in the Nova Award. In essence, the Engineering merit badge provides a solid framework for tackling the design challenges you’ll face in the Next Big Thing.

Inventing Merit Badge

The Inventing merit badge and the Next Big Thing Nova Award go hand-in-hand, both centering on the process of creating something new. The Inventing badge focuses on the steps to take an idea from concept to prototype, including elements like patent research and project documentation. This fits seamlessly with the Nova Award, which also requires you to design a new product, paying attention to market needs, design constraints, and innovation. The skills you learn while earning the Inventing merit badge, such as iterative testing and improving your invention, can be directly applied to the design and development activities in the Nova Award. Essentially, the badge offers practical insights that can guide you through the Nova Award’s requirements more effectively.

Model Design and Building Merit Badge

The Model Design and Building merit badge has clear synergies with the Next Big Thing Nova Award, especially in the realm of prototyping and design. The badge teaches you how to construct scale models, which is an essential skill for visualizing and testing product design concepts. In the Nova Award, one of the requirements is to create a 3D model or sketch of your product. Having experience in model building can help you better understand spatial relationships and material constraints, key factors in any product design. The hands-on experience you get from the Model Design and Building badge can serve as a practical guide when you’re working on your Nova Award project, particularly when you’re in the design and prototyping phase.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 3: Activities

Complete four of the activities below.

A. Explore product innovation: Examine one product and at least two different versions of that product. Create a list of the differences between the designs. Discuss with your counselor the differences and what you think each difference is trying to solve.

B. Find and explain the differences between a “works-like” and “looks-like” prototype. Learn the reasons and applications where one method would be chosen over the other. Research different ways and costs of having a product professionally prototyped. Explore the reasons why one method would be chosen over another. Discuss and explain your findings with your counselor.

C. Market research: Research and understand the terms: market size, business plan, value proposition, elevator pitch, cost-effective design, and ethnographic research – specifically, in reference to product design. Discuss with your counselor what these terms mean and why they are important for a product designer to understand, and how they affect the design of a product.

D. Practice brainstorming: Examine different brainstorming methods. Choose a product you have used or a situation you have experienced. Using one method you found, brainstorm various ways to improve the product or situation. You do not have to brainstorm designs, just ways to improve the design. Present your list to your counselor and discuss.

E. Learn about and practice “Painstorming”: Research “painstorming”: what it is and how it is done? Choose a product you have used or a situation you have experienced and “painstorm” for at least 15 minutes. Do not think of designs to solve the pains, just list as many pains as you can. Present your list of pains to your counselor and discuss.

F. Inventors: Choose a historical or modern inventor who interests you, and research them and their inventions. If possible, learn about the iterations their product went through before it became successful. Discuss with your counselor the researcher and their inventions, as well as why you chose that person

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

Ideas for Requirement 3a

  • Choose a Familiar Product: Start with a product you use regularly. This makes it easier to notice the differences and understand their impact.
  • Go Beyond Aesthetics: While color or shape might catch your eye, also look at functional aspects like button placement, material, or additional features.
  • Research Iterations: Sometimes manufacturers release updated versions. Look at older models to see the evolution.
  • Consult Reviews: Customer reviews can offer insights into why certain design changes were beneficial or not. This could help you in your discussion with the counselor.
  • Think Like a Designer: For each difference, ask yourself, “What problem is this solving?” Is it making the product easier to use, more cost-effective, or perhaps more appealing to a certain market?
  • Be Ready to Discuss: Write down your observations and be prepared to explain your thoughts on why each change was made and what issues it addresses. This helps in having a fruitful discussion with your counselor.

Ideas for Requirement 3b

  • Understand the Terms: A “works-like” prototype focuses on functionality but may not resemble the final product’s aesthetics. A “looks-like” prototype is the opposite; it shows what the final product will look like but may not be functional.
  • Know When to Use Each: “Works-like” is useful for testing mechanics and user interaction. “Looks-like” is ideal for presentations and stakeholder buy-in.
  • Multiple Prototyping Methods: Look into 3D printing, CNC machining, and hand-crafted models. Each has its own cost structure and application.
  • Factor in Costs: Prototyping can get expensive. Get a general idea of costs for each method to weigh against their benefits.
  • Consider Time: Some methods are faster than others. If you’re on a tight timeline, this could influence your choice.
  • Prepare for Discussion: Summarize your findings in a way that allows you to explain clearly why one method might be preferable over another depending on the situation. This will help in your discussion with the counselor.

Help for Requirement 3c

  • Market Size: Refers to the number of potential customers or the volume of demand for a specific product. In product design, understanding the market size helps in tailoring the product’s features and pricing to meet that specific demand.
  • Business Plan: A document outlining the strategy for launching and sustaining a product. In the context of product design, it may include details like production cost, marketing strategy, and sales channels.
  • Value Proposition: Describes the unique benefits a product offers to its users. In product design, the value proposition is often a focal point that guides the features and benefits the design should emphasize.
  • Elevator Pitch: A brief, persuasive speech that explains what your product does and why it matters. For product designers, this is a succinct way to articulate the core concept and value of what they are developing.
  • Cost-effective Design: Involves making a product that meets all desired features and quality standards but is also affordable to produce and sell. It’s a balancing act between material costs, manufacturing methods, and the final retail price.
  • Ethnographic Research: A research method where designers observe and interact with potential users in their natural environment. This type of research can provide insights into user needs, behaviors, and pain points, which are crucial for effective product design.

Tips for Requirement 3d

Brainstorming Methods:

  • Mind Mapping: Start with a central idea and draw branches that represent related topics or subtopics. Useful for visual thinkers.
  • Round Robin: Each person in a group offers one idea in turn. Good for ensuring everyone has input.
  • 6-3-5 Brainwriting: Each participant writes down six ideas in five minutes, then passes the paper to the next person who builds upon those ideas.
  • SWOT Analysis: Evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to a product or situation. Good for a more structured approach.
  • Starbursting: Focus on generating questions rather than answers. Questions are aimed at exploring various aspects of a problem or idea.
  • SCAMPER: An acronym for Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse. It’s a checklist method for thinking about changes you can make to an existing product to create a new one.
  • Fishbone Diagram: Also known as Ishikawa diagram or cause-and-effect diagram. Useful for identifying multiple factors that contribute to a specific problem.
  • Role Storming: Participants adopt different roles or perspectives to generate ideas. Good for breaking out of usual thought patterns.
  • Dot Voting: Ideas are listed and participants vote on them by placing dots or marks next to the options they think are best.
  • The Five Whys: Start with a problem and ask ‘Why?’ five times in succession to drill down into the root cause and possible solutions.
  • Choose Wisely: Pick a brainstorming method that aligns with the problem you’re trying to solve. For example, if it’s a complex issue, a method like SWOT Analysis may be more suitable.
  • Be Specific: When choosing a product or situation, go for something you’re familiar with. Your familiarity will help you think of more insightful ways to improve it.
  • Timebox: Set a specific time limit for your brainstorming session to maintain focus. 15-30 minutes is often enough to get a range of good ideas.
  • Write it Down: Document every idea, even if it seems far-fetched. What might seem impractical now might make sense later.
  • No Judgment: The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible, so avoid evaluating them during the brainstorming phase. The time for critique comes later.
  • Prepare for Discussion: Organize your ideas in a coherent manner before discussing them with your counselor. This makes it easier to explain your thoughts and gives the counselor a clearer picture of your brainstorming process.

By doing this, you’ll not only fulfill the requirement but also gain practical experience in problem-solving.

Tips for Requirement 3e

Painstorming is a variation of brainstorming focused on identifying problems, frustrations, or “pain points” associated with a particular product, service, or situation. Unlike brainstorming, which often aims at generating solutions, the focus here is strictly on identifying issues.

  1. Identify Subject: Pick the product or situation you want to analyze.
  2. Set Time Limit: Like brainstorming, it’s useful to set a time constraint. 15-20 minutes is a good start.
  3. List Pain Points: Everyone involved lists down as many pain points or problems as they can think of related to the chosen subject.
  4. No Solutions: The objective is to identify issues, so refrain from suggesting solutions.
  5. Be Specific: Vague issues won’t help. Be as specific as possible about what the problem is.
  6. Document: Make sure to document all the pain points listed for future reference.
  7. Review: Once the session is over, review the list to categorize or prioritize the pain points based on criteria like frequency or severity.
  8. Discuss: Share your findings with others, like a counselor in the Scouts BSA context, to gain additional insights into the issues identified.

This approach provides a focused way to identify challenges, which is the first step in the process of innovation or improvement.

Tips for Requirement 3f

Here are a few inventors you might want to research further:

  • Steve Jobs: Although not a traditional inventor, his work revolutionized several industries from personal computers and animated movies to phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
  • Tim Berners-Lee: Inventor of the World Wide Web, a platform almost every teen uses daily.
  • Ada Lovelace: Considered the first computer programmer and a pioneer in the field of computing, she could be an inspiring figure for teens interested in tech and gender equality.
  • Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor of the telephone, his work forms the basis for modern communication technology.
  • Elon Musk: Known for Tesla, SpaceX, and his ambitions for Mars colonization, he’s a modern-day inventor and entrepreneur that many teens find inspiring.
  • Marie Curie: A physicist and chemist who conducted groundbreaking research on radioactivity, she’s inspirational for young people interested in science.
  • Nikola Tesla: Known for his work on modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply systems and many other inventions, Tesla’s work has had a long-lasting impact.
  • George Washington Carver: Known for his work with peanuts and as an agricultural scientist, his story can be inspiring for those interested in sustainability.
  • Rosalind Franklin: Known for her role in the discovery of the DNA double helix, her work has had a lasting impact on genetics.
  • Alan Turing: A key figure in theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, Turing is especially relevant given the current focus on AI and machine learning.
  • Hedy Lamarr: An actress who also co-invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum, a technology later used in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
  • Mark Zuckerberg: Created Facebook while in college and changed the way we interact online.

These inventors offer a range of fields and backgrounds, providing diverse inspiration for teens with varied interests.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 4: Product Design

Do ALL the following requirements.
A. Using either “painstorming” or brainstorming, design a new product. Create a 3D model of your design with modeling software or sketch your design. Some common CAD programs with free student versions include Autodesk Inventor, Catia, CREO, Google SketchUp, and Solid Works.
B. Discuss your design and reasons for your choices with your counselor. Explain your 3D model or sketches, and what your next steps would be to make the product a reality.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

Tips for Design

  • Choose a Method: Decide whether you want to use “painstorming” to identify problems that need solving, or brainstorming to come up with innovative solutions. Your choice will set the direction for your design.
  • Research Beforehand: Do some quick research on the type of product you want to create. Knowing existing solutions can help you make something better.
  • CAD or Sketch: If you’re comfortable using CAD software like Autodesk Inventor, go for it. If not, hand-drawn sketches are perfectly acceptable too. Make sure your design is detailed.
  • Iterative Process: Don’t be afraid to go through several versions of your design. It’s rare that the first version is the best one. Take your time to refine.
  • Ask for Feedback: Before presenting it to your counselor, get some feedback from friends or family. They might point out aspects you haven’t considered.
  • Prepare Your Presentation: Make sure you can articulate why you made the design choices you did. Whether it’s material, form, or function, have a good rationale.
  • Next Steps: Think realistically about how you’d make the product a reality. Would you need funding? How would you test it? Know the answers to these questions for your discussion with the counselor.

Doing thorough work on each of these aspects will not only make your project more compelling but also make the discussion with your counselor more fruitful.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 5: Site Visit

Do ALL the following requirements.
A. Visit a company/school/institution where new products are being developed.
B. Talk to someone there about how they use product design in their work. Prepare at least five questions to ask the person you talk to and discuss their answers with your counselor.
C. Discuss with your counselor how products are being designed at the destination you visited.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 5 Helps and Answers

Tips for a Site Visit

  • Plan Your Visit: Look for places that are actively involved in product design. It could be a tech startup, an engineering school, or a larger established company with an R&D department. Call ahead to arrange your visit.
  • Identify the Right Person: When you’re there, try to talk to someone directly involved in product design. This could be an engineer, a designer, or a product manager. The insights will be much better than talking to someone in a non-related department.
  • Prepare Questions: Before your visit, prepare at least five insightful questions related to product design. This will not only make you appear interested but also help you gain deeper insights into the process.
  • Take Notes: During the visit, jot down key points from the conversation. Also take note of the environment, the tools they use, and any prototypes or models you may see.
  • Post-Visit Discussion: After the visit, review your notes and prepare to discuss with your counselor. Go beyond just describing what you saw; try to relate it to what you’ve learned in the Nova award activities.

By doing these, you’ll not only fulfill the requirement but also get a real-world view of what product design entails, enriching your overall experience.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 6: Reflect and Discuss

Reflect on your experiences during the completion of these requirements with your counselor. Discuss with your counselor how product design affects your everyday life, and what you have learned while working on this Nova.

Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award Requirement 6 Helps and Answers

How Product Design Affects Everyday Life

Product designs serve practical needs or solve specific problems, often in ways that we might take for granted. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Smartphone Design: The intuitive interface of smartphones makes it easier to communicate, navigate, and manage our lives. Features like facial recognition add a layer of security.
  • Electric Kettles: Modern electric kettles often have auto shut-off features. This not only conserves energy but also adds a safety layer by preventing potential fire hazards.
  • Ergonomic Office Chairs: The design of these chairs aims to provide back support and comfort, reducing the likelihood of developing chronic pain from long hours of sitting.
  • LED Light Bulbs: Their energy-efficient design consumes less electricity and lasts longer, reducing both our energy bills and carbon footprint.
  • Wheelchair Ramps: The inclusion of wheelchair ramps in building design makes spaces accessible to people with mobility issues.
  • Reusable Shopping Bags: Designed to be sturdy and long-lasting, these bags are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bags.
  • Voice-activated Assistants: Products like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home are designed to be accessible, offering hands-free control over various tasks.
  • Non-slip Kitchen Mats: The specific material and texture are designed to prevent slips, enhancing safety in the kitchen.
  • Compact Cars: Smaller, fuel-efficient cars are designed to navigate and park in crowded urban areas more easily than larger models.
  • Water-Saving Toilets: These toilets are designed with dual flush options to conserve water.
  • Electric Toothbrushes: Designed for more effective cleaning, they also often include timers to ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes.
  • Noise-Canceling Headphones: Engineered to block out ambient noise, improving the listening experience and possibly even reducing stress.
  • Meal Prep Containers: These are designed with compartments to hold different foods separately, making meal planning easier.
  • Smart Thermostats: Allows for remote temperature control and can learn your preferences to save on energy costs.
  • Retractable Dog Leashes: Designed to give pets a bit more freedom while still allowing the owner to maintain control.
  • Running Shoes with Arch Support: Specifically designed to align with the foot’s natural contour, helping to prevent injuries.
  • Childproof Packaging: Designed to be difficult for children to open, reducing the risk of accidental poisoning.
  • Collapsible Water Bottles: Designed for portability, they take up less space when empty.
  • Solar-Powered Chargers: Uses solar panels to recharge devices, reducing reliance on electrical outlets.
  • Biodegradable Trash Bags: Specially designed to break down more quickly than traditional plastic, reducing landfill waste.
  • Adjustable Standing Desks: Allows the user to switch between sitting and standing, promoting better posture and reducing back pain.
  • Quick-Dry Towels: Made from materials designed to wick moisture away quickly, convenient for travel or gym use.
  • E-readers: Designed for digital books, many models also reduce screen glare to mimic the appearance of actual paper.
  • Anti-Fog Bathroom Mirrors: Specially coated to prevent fogging up after hot showers.
  • Luggage with Wheels: Designed for easy transport, making travel less physically taxing.

Each of these examples showcases how design choices directly impact functionality, safety, sustainability, and overall quality of life.

Related Resources for the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award

Nova Awards Program (STEM Awards)

The Next Big Thing Nova Award is part of the BSA Nova Awards program, which aims to integrate STEM concepts into scouting activities. Focusing on product design, this particular award fits into the broader goal of encouraging Scouts to engage in hands-on activities while exploring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Like other Nova Awards, the Next Big Thing allows Scouts to work with counselors and mentors from STEM fields to gain practical knowledge. By completing the requirements, Scouts not only delve into the intricacies of product design but also get to apply theoretical STEM principles in a real-world context. This aligns with the Nova Awards program’s overarching aim to prepare Scouts for an increasingly STEM-dependent society.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award

What is the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award?

The Next Big Thing is a Nova Award focused on product design. It explores the balance of time, cost, and quality in creating new products, whether for consumers or businesses.

Who can earn the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award?

Scouts BSA members can earn this Next Big Thing Nova Award as part of their scouting activities.

What are the main components of the Next Big Thing Scouts BSA Nova Award?

The Next Big Thing award includes watching or reading about product design, completing relevant merit badges, and engaging in specific activities like product innovation, prototyping, market research, and design methods.

Do I have to complete all the Next Big Thing requirements in order?

No, you can complete the requirements in any order, but you must finish them all to earn the award.

Can I use a merit badge I’ve already earned for another Nova Award for the Next Big Thing award?

No, you must complete a merit badge that you haven’t used for another Nova award.

What type of shows can I watch for Next Big Thing requirement 1A?

You can watch documentaries or shows that involve product creation, innovation, technology, or engineering design. Examples include PBS’s “NOVA”, Discovery Channel, and TED Talks, among others.

What should I read for Next Big Thing requirement 1B?

You can read articles or books about product design. The main aim is to spur questions or ideas that you’ll later discuss with your counselor.

What if I want to both read and watch for Next Big Thing requirement 1?

You can do a combination as long as the total time spent is not less than three hours.

Can I do the activities for Next Big Thing requirement 3 on my own?

While you can do the initial research and brainstorming independently, you will need to discuss your findings with your counselor.

What types of products can I explore for Next Big Thing Requirement 3A?

You’re free to choose any product that has multiple versions. It could be as simple as a pencil or as complex as a smartphone.

What is “painstorming” in Next Big Thing Requirement 4A?

Painstorming is a brainstorming technique that focuses on identifying problems or ‘pains’ that a product or situation causes, without immediately thinking of solutions.

Do I have to create a 3D model in CAD software for Next Big Thing Requirement 4A?

While using CAD software like Autodesk Inventor or Google SketchUp is an option, you can also sketch your design. The key is to effectively communicate your ideas.

What should I prepare before visiting a company for Next Big Thing Requirement 5A?

Have at least five questions ready to ask the professionals you’ll be meeting. The questions should relate to how product design is implemented in their work.

Is parental supervision needed for watching online content for Next Big Thing Requirement 1A?

Yes, if you choose to watch online productions, do so under a parent’s or guardian’s supervision.

How long will it typically take to complete the Next Big Thing Nova Award?

The time varies depending on your pace but expect to invest at least several weeks, considering the three-hour reading or viewing requirement, activities, and merit badge completion.

Can multiple merit badges be applied to this Next Big Thing Nova Award?

You only apply one merit badge that hasn’t already been used for another Nova Award.

Do I need special approval for the shows or articles I choose for Next Big Thing Requirement 1?

You may need your counselor’s approval for certain content, so it’s best to check beforehand.

What do I discuss in the reflection for Next Big Thing requirement 6?

You’ll need to reflect on how product design impacts daily life and what you’ve learned through completing the award requirements. Discuss these reflections with your counselor.

Can I use this Next Big Thing Nova Award for other Scouting awards or achievements?

The Nova Award and its requirements are generally standalone but consult with your counselor for any overlapping achievements.

What happens after I complete all the Next Big Thing Nova award requirements?

Once all requirements are met and discussed with your counselor, you’ll earn the Next Big Thing Nova Award, which can include a patch and certificate, depending on your scouting organization.


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