Blessed Are The Innovators

By Jackson M. Henry —-

Innovators are history’s greatest change agents. Without their creativity and courage to try something new, mankind would have been condemned to life in caves where survival is dependent on hunting and gathering. History would remain in perpetual stagnation.

Looking back at man’s thousand years of history, we learn to appreciate, not only the thinkers but, also the doers, whose innovations transformed nations and enriched lives around the globe we know today.

As Palau approaches its 19th year of sovereignty this October 1st, we tip our hats to our founding fathers, whose innovations and creativity have birth to our nation and helped transform our islands to modernity and enriched the lives we enjoy today. It is not difficult to imagine what Palau would be like today without their innovative thinking.

Thinking ahead is a prerequisite of innovations. Thus the cliché, “Think outside the box”.

The quest to find solutions to complex problems of societies and the wider world around us is one of man’s greatest passions. Whenever we feel that something is not right and it badgers us to a point of exasperation, we stand up and take decisive actions. So we humans are inherently innovators and posses some talents or abilities to creatively solve nagging issues that confront us daily. The quest for perfection is an endless pursuit.

I recall a Puritan preacher who once told his congregation, “Our creator says you have to make a difference. It is not a matter of choice, it’s a duty”. History has it that the early Puritans’ work ethic and innovations that gave birth to capitalism in American.

One country that has employed creative thinking to carve out a vibrant economy is none other than the state of Israel. 64 years ago, it was a barren land mass, half of it was desert with little water and few natural resources. With its innovation driven people, it has become an oasis of technology, aqua-culture, and agriculture. It has the most start up firms per capita worldwide and 3rd highest in the number of patents per head.

And let us not forget China. Deng Xiaoping’s innovative “one country, two systems” has liberated 500 million Chinese from the shackles of poverty and propelled China to become the world’s 2nd biggest economy in the shortest span of time.

Innovative thinking gave birth to Palau and it is innovation that will solve the economic challenges we face today. Given Palau’s isolation and few of natural resources, our leaders need to think “double time”.

As my wise Ruback buddy said, “You do not need a special invitation to be innovative. Just use your coconut”. I say, blessed are the innovators, for they will occupy a special place in Palau’s history.

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