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Don Arney, inventor of aerial wildfire-fighting Bambi Bucket, inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame
by Ken Chawkin

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13 May 2017


Don Arney, newly inducted into the 2017 National Inventors Hall of Fame, stands under the medal, with Edison and Lincoln looking on. The inscription reads: ''The Patent System Added The Fuel Of Interest To The Fire Of Genius.'' Photo source: National Inventors Hall of Fame.


Induction at the National Inventors Hall of Fame

Forbes reports that 15 extraordinary innovators became 2017 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) in the U.S. The induction ceremony took place May 4 in the majestic central hall of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., where presidential balls are usually held.

Among the 15 is Don Arney, inventor of the Bambi Bucket® for Aerial Firefighting. Arney is from British Columbia, Canada.

Frederick E. Allen, Forbes Leadership Editor, described the evening's activities: To Become A Great Innovator, Get Left Back In Fourth Grade: Induction At The Inventors Hall Of Fame. In a section about Don Arney he writes:

Don Arney invented the Bambi Bucket, which carries and shoots out huge quantities of water to fight forest fires, suspended from a helicopter. It is used in more than 110 countries. He said he owed his success to Transcendental Meditation, which he discovered after a spiritual journey that began when he found himself ''sitting in the university library wondering if facts are all there is. . . . I've been doing it for 47 years now, twice a day, every day.'' He said TM has helped him understand that when it comes to invention, or any kind of creativity, ''you don't do it yourself. Those things are gifts that come to you.''

When it was announced in March that Don Arney had been selected as one of the 2017 NIHF inductees, he was the subject of an article in the Vancouver Sun: B.C. inventor of wildfire-fighting Bambi Bucket inducted to hall of fame.

Watch the NIHF video of Don describing the invention of the Bambi Bucket.

In the video, filmed in part at his beautiful home on Salt Spring Island near Vancouver, Arney talks about mining the mind for ideas at deeper levels (much as David Lynch describes in his book, Catching The Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity).

Arney has found that ''meditating is a completely non-directed process, and inventing has to be the same.'' He explains, ''You know all of the things you're going to be doing as you engage in the process, but you don't direct it.'' What he finds is that the answers come, and organize, on a very profound level. ''They bubble up, and very quickly and innocently the solution appears.'' An intelligent observer, he saw the ''elegance in simplicity,'' how one thing could be adapted, improved upon and applied in a whole new way.

In his NIHF acceptance speech, Arney acknowledged the power of his decades-long Transcendental Meditation practice, twice a day since 1970, to enhance his creativity, allowing him to mine the ''nuggets of information'' and ''kernels of innovation'' as gifts that come to him.

He also paid tribute to his longtime SEI Industries business partner, Mark McCooey, and invited him to stand and be recognized. Mark was able to transform Arney's invention into an iconic product sold around the world, commanding over 95 percent of the international market. Bambi Buckets were used to cool Japan's Fukushima nuclear site after the 2011 tsunami. The Bambi Bucket has saved forests, homes and lives. These facts, plus the simplicity, effectiveness and ubiquity of the product was why the NIHF chose Don Arney as one of their 2017 inductees.

Adapted from The Uncarved Blog

Copyright © Ken Chawkin



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