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Norm Goldstein

Norm Goldstein: Empowering Young Inventors by Promoting Innovative Thinking in Education

In a world where the potential of youth innovation remains vastly untouched, there emerges a guiding light in the form of Norm Goldstein, the Founder and CEO of EduNetwork Partners. His dedication to this cause has earned him recognition as a Congressional Leadership Award recipient, one of CNN’s “Ten National Innovators” changing lives in America, and a Global Goodwill Ambassador and Humanitarian.

Norm’s journey began with a personal experience involving his 11-year-old daughter. She struggled with using broken crayons due to a weakness in writing. His daughter gave him an idea, which made him realize that kids have good concepts. They devised a solution using water tubes from rose purchases to create a device that she could easily grip to insert broken crayons.

With Norm’s extensive experience as an inventor holding seven patents, he recognized his daughter’s potential and helped her obtain her own patent. This experience inspired Norm and his daughter to establish By Kids for Kids in 2003, with a mission to empower children to innovate and develop critical problem-solving and creative thinking skills. Through their company, they provided children with free patents and assistance in commercializing their inventions, resulting in 26 patented ideas.

Drawing on resources from the US Patent Office, Norm and his team rewrote an inventive thinking curriculum to distribute to thousands of teachers nationwide. Sponsored by Xerox, their educational kit included a poster, teacher guide, and student workbooks, all aimed at promoting innovative thinking among students. Through partnerships with corporate sponsors, they organized competitions and live events to further engage young minds.

In response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, Norm and his team adapted their approach and transformed into EduNetwork Partners. Leveraging their proven methods, they now assist businesses in meeting their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals by promoting youth innovation and empowerment. Norm’s dedication to this cause continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and communities across the nation.

Engaging Youth through Experience

Norm believes that experiential and hands-on engagement are key components of their success at EduNetwork Partners. They utilize their platform to actively involve youth and families in ideation and problem-solving activities. Competitions and contests, in particular, capture the imagination of participants.

Beyond the allure of prizes, the process of preparing a submission provides a real-world opportunity for young people to apply their skills, knowledge, and experiences to address a challenge. The desire to build a strong academic resume for college or post-high school education further motivates young individuals to participate.

Being able to showcase their ideas and achievements not only boosts their confidence but also sets them apart in the competitive admissions process. Norm finds it rewarding to celebrate the innovative ideas and accomplishments of young people, recognizing the importance of acknowledging and nurturing their talents.

A Success Story in Educational Marketing

Norm shares that at EduNetwork Partners, the team measure the impact and success of their educational marketing programs and materials. They track metrics such as the number of participants who engage with their emails and outreach efforts, as well as the number of submissions they receive and process. Additionally, they utilize pre- and post-surveys and conduct focus groups to gather feedback and refine their offerings.

One notable success story is the Warren Buffet Secret Millionaires Club initiative, which featured a cartoon series voiced by Warren Buffet himself, along with guidance and an aligned curriculum developed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. This program garnered over 2 billion media impressions, including coverage by prominent outlets such as CNN, CNBC, New York Times, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal.

They also provided 120 sponsor-branded free educational financial literacy activities for teachers, accessible through a website that received over 1,500,000 downloads of educational materials. Furthermore, the “Grow Your Own Business Plan Challenge” attracted over 16,000 participants, with online voting resulting in over 130,000 votes cast for top ideas. The culminating event in Omaha saw Warren Buffet awarding the 15 winners with 10 shares of Berkshire Hathaway B stock, highlighting the program’s impact and success.

A Legacy of Giving

In his book, “The Book of Normanisms” (2020), Norm shares insightful advice that connects deeply with him and others. A quote from page 57 expresses his philosophy: “We were given the gift of life. We need to give something back as a way of passing on our blessings.”

Following the pandemic, there has been a notable shift among companies towards demonstrating their efforts to contribute positively to the world. Norm’s companies are founded on the belief that early experiences can profoundly impact youth.

One shining example is of the youngest inventor in America, who has since grown into a successful mother, entrepreneur, and role model, illustrating the transformative power of early support and encouragement. Norm’s dedication to giving back and making a difference continues to inspire others to do the same.

Reflecting and Refining

Norm shares that during the pandemic, everyone faced challenges in their journeys. Fortunately, he used this time to reflect, write his book, and clarify his values. As a result, he became better at helping others achieve their goals through coaching and mediation.

He also intensified his efforts to apply his entrepreneurial and inventive experience to his business. Norm listens to business leaders and assists them in refining their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals. By working together, they can develop programs and campaigns to ensure their success.

Aligning with Educational Standards

Norm explains that because of his early work with By Kids for Kids, he understands the importance of fostering creativity and critical thinking skills among children. This involves providing guidance, support, and curriculum tools aimed at nurturing creative and inventive thinking. They offer essential concepts, information, and materials designed to stimulate creative thought processes. Moreover, guidance for educators and parents from each of the CSR campaigns incorporates an alignment with appropriately chosen national standards in each discipline to ensure it reflects the educational goals and standards. This approach also engages teachers and parents in participating as they are achieving their required goals while also engaging their young people in meaningful and fun real-world activities.

In addition to providing resources, Norm’s approach involves presenting challenges and targets for problem-solving, which inspire young people to actively engage in the learning process. From the inception of their first company, Norm and his team have always believed in the importance and value of harnessing the contributions of young minds. This belief serves as a foundational cornerstone for their work, driving their ongoing efforts to empower and inspire the next generation of innovators.

Advice for Entrepreneurs

Norm believes in living life with the belief that anything is possible. He emphasizes that many great ideas are often right in front of us, waiting to be discovered. Drawing from his own thinking process, Norm uses his insights to inform tools and resources for problem-solving and innovative solutions.

For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a positive impact in the education industry, Norm offers valuable advice: “If you are doing your best, you will not have time to worry about failure. Look for good in all that happens to you, as good always comes out of the bad.” He encourages them not to be disheartened by setbacks and rejections. Instead, he suggests embracing failure as a learning opportunity that guides you towards necessary changes on your journey. Norm urges them to persevere in pursuing what they value and believe to be critically important, emphasizing the importance of resilience and determination.

Commitment to Action and Results

Norm follows the advice of Napoleon Hill in “Think and Grow Rich” every morning, drawing inspiration from the 13 great “Principles” outlined in the book. Additionally, he starts each day by making a list of tasks he needs to accomplish and diligently sticks to it. At the end of the day, before going to bed, Norm reviews his list to see what he has achieved and carries over any unfinished tasks to the next day. He believes it’s important to pay attention to both actions and results.

Norm finds inspiration in the belief that the world is full of opportunities waiting to be discovered. He shares another Normanism: “Throughout each day, there can be hundreds of seemingly insignificant encounters, choices, and decisions. These positive or negative choices add up and get deposited into an emotional account. It’s these little things that add up in building a solid character.” Norm emphasizes the importance of these small daily interactions in shaping one’s character.

Norm highlights the value of successful collaborations with others. He believes that these experiences are invaluable and serve as a foundation for continuing to work together towards common goals aimed at making the world a better place.

On a Mission to Offer Help, Advice, and Inspiration

Norm views success as a daily journey, encompassing personal efforts in various aspects of life. He strives to balance his spiritual life, personal relationships with family and friends, and professional endeavors.

Throughout his career, Norm has held notable positions such as President of Geoffery Beene and has assisted individuals like Peter Max and companies like Sharper Image in achieving their goals. One of his most rewarding experiences has been assisting Warren Buffett in empowering the next generation with sound financial advice.

Norm takes pride in conducting honest work and helping others through his roles as a mediator, coach, mentor, and friend. He believes in using his integrity and character as a moral compass in all his relationships and actions. Norm cherishes his 47-year marriage and the success of his three children and seven grandchildren, considering them as his greatest achievements.

He emphasizes the importance of earning esteem through worthy acts, highlighting the value of personal integrity and ethical behavior. Norm’s ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for individuals by offering help, advice, inspiration, and encouragement.