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Larry Howell, professor of Mechanical Engineering and the recipient of the 2016 BYU Distinguished Faculty Award, delivered the Forum address Tuesday in the de Jong Concert Hall. Howell said that the principles of inspiration, collaboration and exploitation are important elements of creativity and innovation.

Larry Howell
Credit: Meagan Larsen/BYU Photo

"Although they could be worded differently and could be illustrated with different examples, I have come to believe that these principles [inspiration, collaboration and exploitation] are important to the anatomy, or internal workings, of innovation and invention," Howell said.

Howell spoke of a number of projects he has been able to work on at BYU that highlighted these principles for him, such as creating artificial spinal discs to replace damaged or diseased discs in the human spine, exploring the possibilities of minimally invasive surgery and developing deployable solar panels for space applications.

In closing, Howell asked the audience to remember the aims of their BYU education.

"You have unique abilities, skills, talents and background," he said. "How are you going to use that to make a difference in the world?"

If you missed Howell’s remarks, the Forum can be streamed on demand on and will be archived on

Next Week's Devotional: Blake Peterson, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

The next BYU Devotional address will be given by Blake Peterson on Tuesday, May 24, at 11:05 a.m., in the de Jong Concert Hall.

His remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv and, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM and BYU Radio.

Writer: Beau Jones