The only true, defensible advantage is innovation. It’s a simple thought, but one that demands repetition. It is also at the core of two events held in Providence this month that put Rhode Island on a national footing on the subject.
Last week’s BIF-9, or the ninth annual Business Innovation Factory Collaborative Innovation Summit, brought more than 500 people from across the nation and world to hear the stories of how people reinvented their businesses and themselves. The goal for attendees is to come away with a shift in their approaches that eventually yields something new and lasting. Spearheaded by former R.I. Economic Development Corporation chief Saul Kaplan, BIF is engaged in projects all over the country that take difficult problems and ask how they can be re-engineered to be better.
The second event is the sixth A Better World by Design conference, a joint venture put on by Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design students, to be held Sept. 27-29. This year’s theme, “Pause and Effect,” is designed to force attendees – both students and professionals – to step out of their comfort zones and learn new skills to take back into their lives that have the potential to transform them.
In both cases, the theme of reinvention is key, and it is a concept that all of Rhode Island should embrace, not just the fortunate few who understand its power. To do any less is to consign the state to permanent second-class status. •