In previous columns, I have shared my passion for collecting quotes that I use as a source of inspiration when faced with challenges. Today I am pleased to present a curated selection of four quotes that I believe offer profound insights for communities and their organizations for economic development in our rapidly evolving world.
- “Operational excellence ensures the present. Innovation excellence secures the future.” — Roger Milliken. This timeless quote sums up the essence of success. To thrive, we must simultaneously excel in operations and innovate relentlessly. This principle does not only apply to individual businesses, but also resonates in communities that strive to balance immediate needs with a long-term vision. Milliken’s words are genius and evergreen.
- “The best time to plant trees was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — a Chinese proverb.Important changes often take time and patience. If there is something worth doing for your community, even if it takes decades to fully develop, it is vital that we start now. Today’s exigencies often distract us from the long-term work that can transform our communities for generations to come. In the face of daily necessities, remember that planting and caring for acorns is how we grow mighty oaks.
- “The real sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” – Albert Einstein. In today’s world of data and information ubiquity, imagination is more important than ever, including at the community level. Using our collective imagination allows us to imagine a brighter future and design new approaches to economic development. Embrace risk and uncertainty, because it is far more risky to stifle the collective imagination and continue to trudge forward with our heads down.
- “In a time of change, the students inherit the Earth, while the students find themselves wonderfully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” —Eric Hoffer. This finding resonates strongly in our current landscape, where inertia can hold us hostage to outdated practices. These are changing times and learning has never been more important, including at the community level.
I look at these quotes often to refocus and lift myself above the daily grind. I hope one or more of these will resonate with you as you work to strengthen your own community.
John Moore is principal with Momentum of strategyan upstate consulting firm specializing in helping communities and their economic development organizations build successful and efficient innovation ecosystems.
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