From the Director's Desk
The word innovation has a derivative of definitions, evolving as different sectors of society seek to infuse this concept into strategies and long-term planning. If you follow the etymological path of the word innovate, we will discover that the word is derived from the Latin word novus (new). Regardless of the varying definitions, the commonality and essence of innovation is about the manifestation of NEW things. It requires more than thought; it demands ACTION.
For several months, groups of individuals have been convening virtually to discuss Rural Innovation in Williamsburg. Moderated by the entrepreneurial extraordinaire Kim Bowman, members of government, academia, economic development, chambers of commerce, healthcare professionals, and business owners are charting the path forward for a NEW vision.
The ideas are centered around establishing a Digital Economy Ecosystem, which seeks to grow the economy with digital jobs, technical skill-building, entrepreneurship, and smart amenities (Center on Rural Innovation, 2019). As broadband initiatives continue to expand throughout America, rural communities will be able to connect with talent and share their talents with the world.
Big Tech and Venture Capitalists are not the owners of innovation. To some, Rural Innovation may appear to be an oxymoron. On the contrary, rural communities have been innovating for centuries. The cotton gin, grain elevators, harvesters, cultivators, and a host of other farm machinery, were the result of rural genius. Now, we must work to bridge the gap between urban and rural economies. The possibilities are truly endless.
For every problem we experience in rural South Carolina, there exists an opportunity to develop a solution. We should do less complaining and more collaborating to overcome the obstacles we face. We are powerful when we work together. Pursue opportunities to volunteer and get involved with the progress happening in Williamsburg County and become a change agent.