Woman in Innovation: Hollie Bell
"Humans are fantastic at realising the impossible."

Each Wednesday we interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

What are you working on?
I have just started making custom dress maker’s dummies for people who sew.
This involves scanning the person with a 3d scanner and then using this data to carve out their exact replica in dense foam using my 4 axis CNC machine.

I can’t wait to see what other ideas people have for the use of 3d scanners and subtractive manufacturing,
I am also in the tedious process of finding a suitable manufacturer for 2 more of my inventions.

Why is innovation important to you?
To me innovation is a little like open source code. One person may start with a brilliant product or idea, but then that initial idea will spark others to contribute and improve on that idea.

This can be seen with 3d printing, who would have ever imagined in the 1980’s, that the first 3d printer used to create a basic cup would eventually inspire people to 3d print human skin and titanium implants.
Humans are fantastic at realising the impossible.

What drives you to make a difference?
I’ve always been involved in male dominated industries and have really enjoyed that dynamic. I don’t really see myself as a girl doing boy type things, I just do jobs I really love and they just happen to be non traditional female career paths.
Hopefully with more women doing STEM type roles, eventually when you tell someone what you do, they will no longer be surprised.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into the innovation ecosystem?
I think it’s important when we talk to our kids, not to shape our conversations based on traditional gender roles. For instance, I would be more likely to teach my son about how a siphon works because he may find that useful as a male. There is no reason I shouldn’t be teaching my daughter this as well, but because we assume girls are not interested, we don’t automatically teach them STEM topics.

When they are young, no matter how simple their ideas are, help them to explore them further, to go from an idea to a fully finished product. So when they have that great idea, they know the steps involved and have the experience and confidence to pursue it.


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