A Philadelphia-area man, working as a cabinet maker, expanded his business to include the refurbishing/remodeling of elevators. (One company, strangely enough, wanted the interior of its elevators matched to its reception desks!) In doing these jobs, he found the standard practice of removing the entire elevator cab to do the work to be overly complex and time-consuming, and in 1996, came up with his own system of interlocking panels, making the task simpler and faster. With $65,000 in borrowed funds, he patented the system and incorporated a company. It now employs 30 people and booked revenues of $6.1MM last year. More here.
Innovation is often thought of as something that applies mainly in areas like software and biotech, but in actuality innovation is possible–and critical–in every industry. Our fate, dear Brutus, is not in our SIC codes but in ourselves. (SIC code=standard industrial classification code)
Politicians and their advisers, generally speaking, do not understand the economic and cultural importance of this kind of entrepreneurship, and tend to think of “innovation” in terms of “whatever is fashionable at the moment.”
Via Bill Waddell, who has lots of relevant thoughts.
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