Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah Among Ghanaians in the US Making Great Strides caught up with Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah after he was recognized with a Distinguished Patent Fellow award for his innovative ideas. This encounter was to learn from him and share his thoughts to inspire youths all over, specifically those in developing countries.

We also wanted his thoughts on how policymakers, governments, and generally people in key positions in developing worlds especially African countries could be encouraged to reconsider innovation, invention, and patents to secure their economies for now and the future generations.

There are huge benefits in innovation, inventions, and patents if pursued very well and diligently, Dr. Anim-Mensah said. This is an area not well developed in Africa; hence, people lack the understanding and oftentimes terminologies are vaguely used.

On several occasions without a proper invention search, some Africans assemble or make things that already exist that they unknowingly claim as inventions while that creation might already exist in a preceding invention protected by a patent in respective jurisdictions.

Some inventions lack the right technical and business backing to pursue commercial gains. For an invention to be patentable it should be novel, useful and non-obvious. For an invention to be novel it must be substantially different else known to the public i.e. something new.

An invention can be defined as the creation of something distinctively new with potential value through a utility such as product, process or service Dr. Anim-Mensah said to “Before creating something new one will need to assess its value and feasibility. On the other hand, innovation occurs if someone improves on or makes a significant contribution to an existing product, process or service i.e. something new and uniquely useful,” — Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah explained.

Being innovative affords one to stumble on an invention which is securable by a patent. A patent gives the inventor(s) the exclusive right for some number of years to commercialize an invention to reap the benefits without competition.

Alexander Anim-Mensah
Alexander Anim-Mensah (Ph.D.) in a pose with one of his inventions in hand. To his left, is the Distinguished Patent Fellow Award he received in May 2019 in Chicago IL at the ITW headquarters / file photo

In simple terms, innovation is where business and technical perspectives meet to give birth to new valuable and lasting opportunities to solve problems that make life easier, generally bring about improvements, with associated monetary gains, and/or securing a better future.

For an ordinary person in a developing country, “filing for a patent could be expensive, however, any country that wishes to pursue this area could have an institution that thoroughly assesses and screens the various inventions to show its business and technical benefits while making them accessible to attract local and/or foreign investors to take them to the next level.

This could lead to commercialization which creates positives like new businesses and solving local problems among others. Generally, inventions geared towards solving existing community, societal or global issues goes a long way to improve its business viability and interest. For countries that wish to develop a strong innovation, invention and patent system are necessary,” said the Doctor.

It has always been the vision of to serve as a conduit to promote Africa’s development by tapping into key information and transferring them from both sides of the oceans to inspire the youth to make a difference.

Through this process, we help the youth carve their visions and have role models. Owing to this we have followed Dr. Alexander Anim- Mensah’s work over the years and see him as a rising star among some of the US-based Ghanaians making great strides.

Also read: Using Apple’s iPhone To Explain The Difference Between Invention And Innovation.

In 2017 Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah got inducted into the Illinois Tool Works (ITW) Patent Society as a Fellow. About two years on he was recognized as a Distinguished Fellow of the same society in May 2019, for his involvement in inventions generating exceptional levels of commercial and technical successes.  It appears this Ghanaian inventor knows no stop as he keeps amassing patents and realizing ways to make lives better.

Dr. Anim-Mensah was recognized for his contributions on the inventions relating to “Flow through Chemical Sensor” used for both qualitative and quantitative chemical sensing and monitoring i.e. for detecting the presence and absence of different chemicals as well as for the different chemical concentrations used on some commercially available products. This invention led to several patents in the USA and key parts of the world including the European Union, Canada, China, and Mexico.

ITW employs over 65,000 people and is a $14.8B US revenue global manufacturer of diversified products and is well-placed on the Fortune 500 list of companies in the USA. It is ranked 4th among its peers of industrial equipment manufacturers.

Dr. Anim-Mensah is results-driven with a track record of delivering sustainable technical, business and management results through award-winning performances. He has a Ph.D., an MS and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati – Ohio, North Carolina A&T State University – North Carolina, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology – Ghana, respectively.

Among his numerous specializations is Technology, Operation, and Value Chain Management from the MIT Sloan School of Management – Cambridge, Massachusetts, Business Strategy from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville Virginia. He also gained an Intellectual Property Law and Policy education from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and certificates in both Advanced Project Management & Project Leadership from the University of Dayton – Ohio. Before University education in Ghana, he attended the Ghana Secondary Technical School (GSTS).

He is presently involved with over thirty (30) inventions, and US/world patents in areas spanning from improved chemical & water use efficiencies, sensing, energy management, cleaning, refrigeration & heat pumps, optimization, process improvements, performance monitoring, waste minimization, and environmental impacts reduction.

Dr. Alexander Anim-Mensah is the co-author of 2 books, 2 books chapters and several technical papers in the area of membrane science and technology, and biomedical applications. Some of his leisurely activities include writing secular articles, engaging in mentorship and mobilizing fellow diaspora-based Ghanaians to give back in Ghana. He is also a key player in Ghana-affiliated associations and organizations based in North America. believes Dr. Anim-Mensah is on track to enter the innovation hall-of-fame, which is why we will continue to keep an eye on him. For now, please find him on LinkedIn and don’t forget to comment on and share this piece or point us to people like Dr. Anim-Mensah you feel that Africa and the world must know about. 

Written by Oral Ofori

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