Fast isn’t fast enough when trying to change the world

By: Lauren Tilstra
Marlene Enright

At Verizon, we’re inspired and motivated by innovators. So we’re sharing stories from #InventorsWhoInspire as a way to connect with inventors, patent winners, and men and women we’ve met in the tech industry who can offer the best advice on how to create a brighter future for all.

Some people say the world is moving too fast. Not engineer Marlene Enright. “I say, ‘Not fast enough!’ I love the idea of what the world could be in the future.”

Marlene is a patent-holder who draws inspiration from her past.

“I come from very humble beginnings,” she explained in an August 2014 video. “My Dad worked his butt off to get us a life here in the United States when we moved from the Philippines.”

At the time, she said, “I don’t know the ideal invention that’s going to change the world, but I’m going to have fun trying to figure it out.”

We checked back with Marlene this summer, two years further into her career at Verizon in New Jersey, to see what additional perspective she could offer.

What inspires you?

Great works of art and literature, and how the writers and painters use their skills to change the other’s perception. Creating something beautiful drives me every day. I like to do crafts and paint. The creative aspect of an individual fuels the soul.

Paintings and other hand-crafted works of art are special and live on forever; it leaves a legacy. Think about the quilts that your grandmother made or the art that your toddler brings home for you. It’s so special because it’s crafted with lots of love and attention. Art and literature drive me to think about my contribution to the world and what I want to leave behind in the world.

What sparks your innovation?

I want to make things and help others live an easier life. Technology is not about replacing what you love; it’s about enhancing it. I remember going to the grocery store with my Dad. My whole family had fun spending that time together. Technology can’t replace experiences like that. It can offer convenience: now you can use an app to order and deliver your groceries to your home. But it can also add worries: you get your groceries, but perhaps the produce is not what you wanted because it’s not ripe enough. I want to enrich people’s lives, not create more things to worry about. Technology should take away worries and make life easier.

Tell us about one of your inventions.

One patent is about how to de-value lost and stolen devices. I wanted to give people who lost their phones a solution so they don’t have to worry about getting their identity stolen. When a device is stolen, my patent helps render the device useless.

What advice would you give any aspiring inventor?

Write down the idea and submit the patent -- but don’t stop there. Whether the patent gets approved or not, talk to people about the idea. Start a project and see if you can implement it. Change the world.

What does the future hold for you?

I am not limited by any bounds whatsoever. I just became a mom, which has given me a breadth of experience and new outlook on the world. I am continuously evolving as a person, and I want to take my experience and apply solutions in those areas. Who knows where my life will take me!

I want to help my team and company compete with the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. I want to generate new ideas using Augmented Reality or Artificial Intelligence, but not in the way that others are using it now. I want to take that technology and apply it in a more creative way. I just don’t know how yet, but that’s what keeps me up at night.

Read about other inventors who inspire us: