Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on May 4, 2017

Why Cities Should Ponder The Source Of Inspiration

Why Cities Should Ponder The Source Of Inspiration

Over the past decade, I’ve observed a number of cities strategically focus on attracting young, digital, high-growth businesses. The belief is that these companies will drive economic growth for the city and/or region.

This new focus garners new terms, such as “startup ecosystems”, “collaborative environments” and “creative flex-space.” City planners are investing heavily in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness – key ingredients that breed digital startups.

But the one thing cities are not involved in is the inspiration stage of startups – the process of coming up with creative ideas that will become the next blockbuster. It’s assumed that entrepreneurs already have this figured out.

Yet, failure rates on new business ventures – including digital startups – continue to be very high. If entrepreneurs don’t get the first part right, real success will continue to be elusive.

If cities want their “startup ecosystems” to be successful, maybe it’s time to help entrepreneurs at the stage where it all begins – with the inspiration.

It’s here that I think about a great quote from Bernard Baruch – something I referenced in a Values Quote video a few years ago (see below).

Imagine the inspirational impact if city planners provided a way for entrepreneurs to learn HOW to notice the obvious – better and faster – and then HOW to ponder over why it is that way.

Maybe we just need to take some time to ponder over the obvious in this issue…

Does your city help entrepreneurs with inspiration?


Today’s quote is from Bernard Baruch, an American financier, political advisor, and philanthropist.

A quote from Baruch is:
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.”

Baruch’s reference to Sir Isaac Newton, the most influential scientist who ever lived, highlights that only a few people tend to notice the obvious and are then inspired to ponder it. And yet, the value of inspiration can be fostered by anyone who desires it.

As a differentiating value, Inspiration means a product of creative thinking and work; or revolutionary ideas.

Where do creative thoughts and groundbreaking ideas come from? From the world around us!

Many suggest Newton was inspired to consider the laws of gravity when an apple fell on his head. In reality, his genius came from noticing the obvious and then exploring the reasons why.

Baruch’s success as a stock-market speculator and then as an advisor to U.S. presidents mirrored that of Newton. He saw what others saw, but then studied the reasons behind it. His capacity for creative thinking expanded with practice and he learned how to leverage the value of inspiration for his own benefit and the benefit of others.

If you have an appetite for discovering innovative ideas, I encourage you to embrace the value of inspiration. And be like Baruch and Newton – notice the obvious and ask why.