SCARBOROUGH — Innovation, the act of innovating, is the lifeblood of economic development. Much more urgently so in Maine, where the demographic population is far more disparate, a lack of cohesive public policy and education strategy more prevalent and the cultural encumbrances to the past are more pointed.

For Maine, innovation is the only answer.

What is the act of innovating? Put aside definitions, the media and talking heads. I urge you to listen to your insides.

Is there a push from within for you to create, to express, to bring to the external world your internal stories? Is there a desire to give birth to a real and functional thing that satisfies a need? Is there a forward-leaningness to bring to bear what your mind says should exist and have value that is validated by the world at large? If so, then you are innovating.

If you are doing it with a group of people who have not only agreed to join you on this arduous, herculean and absolutely emotionally and financially draining adventure, but also to believe in you, then you are part of the innovation economy. You are doing something very real to move the Maine economy into the 21st century.

The 21st century demands our collective ability to let go of the idea of making many small changes and vault ourselves to solving important and far-reaching challenges. There is a dynamic reason for this. The concurrent pace of human and economic development – together with the increase of global socioeconomic differentiation – is creating scalable opportunities.

And therein lies the leverage for us in Maine. Whether it is enabling a more efficient delivery of medicine to the entire pet veterinary market or having an app for virtual billboarding, these activities that are being engaged in Maine propel us from what was, to what is.

And at the end of the day, the act of innovating is an extension of your being, your soul. And what our souls demand is a modicum of self-determination.

It can be argued and supported by facts that for Maine to run into the head-rushing present with a level of its can-do spirit, it has to create jobs not by finding jobs, but indeed by creating them. We have to create our small businesses (our small companies, in my case). This belief is specific for fields in the technology sphere.

We have to incorporate the DNA of 21st-century entrepreneurship, born of what we did for shipbuilding, paper and pulp manufacturing and fishing, and bring ourselves into the forefront of biomedicine, advanced material and manufacturing, and scalable software architectures for data manipulation.

We have to do this to do some good. To increase human capital. To further solutions that are needed by us.

For me, to innovate is to breathe. There is a certain elemental rhythm to it, a tissue connectivity to what makes us human, a certain velocity of intent, and a manifest purity of the goodness in all of us. There is an egalitarianism to it wherein all of us are equal in the capability of our insides to bring to voice what is important to us. Otherwise why do it?

In this act of innovation we will fail, we will strain, we will tire and we will encounter the darkness that accompanies all of us. But in doing so, we get to the light and that light is the light of contributing to the movement of our lives from point A to point B, to teaching our children that in the doing of something is the doing of their lives, and that the love and support of our spouses, our mentors, our peers, our friends is one of the defining pillars of our lives.

The defining pillars of our lives – I say “lives” and not “professional careers,” because innovation is not just compartmentalized. It affects everything. Everything. It does so because not only is it that incredibly important but because it is born from something that is not related to money or status. It is born from a redemption seeking, willing to sacrifice soul. From what is true and right. From what is light.

At the center line of that road that you and I are on is the quest for meaning. We all want to matter, to each other, to ourselves to what comes next after us.

A little ephemeral reach toward immortality. Grabbing possibility from the impossibility. This is what innovation is.

So innovate. For our lives. For yourselves. For all our sakes.

— Special to the Press Herald