If innovation is desired, then sustained commitment is needed

Richard G. Horan | Biograph Venture Development LLC founder and principal

The critical inputs to building an innovation economy are said to include talent, technology and capital. There are others, though, with one of the most impactful being a sense of commitment to one’s vision or purpose.

Commitment is integral to successful entrepreneurship: Given the long odds of accomplishing something truly innovative, not to mention the time frames involved and persistence needed, unless one is fully committed, the chances of succeeding diminish.

For a community interested in building an economy around innovation and entrepreneurship, it is essential that there be a broad basis of commitment, one that survives transitions in political leadership and that draws upon the public, private and nonprofit sectors to marshal the resources needed to transform an economy from industries in decline into possibilities for a next generation.

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My favorite commentary on the matter of commitment comes from a mountaineer named William Hutchison Murray, who led the first Scottish expedition to the Himalayas in 1950. It concludes with, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

Our community has in fact demonstrated such commitment, dating from the moving of the rivers back in the 1980s to the Wexford Innovation Center soon to open its doors. Hopefully, we can sustain the effort needed to realize the return on our investment.

Murray’s famous passage offers a call to action that should resonate with Rhode Islanders, suggesting that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.