This morning at Austral University, our guest speaker was the founder of a medical software start up company. In his lecture, he detailed the whys and how’s, and basics of innovation. He talked about a few of his own products, and how they failed. But then he explained how his failures turned into successes. It was a really thought-provoking lecture and it was a little inspirational at the same time. He is not the only entrepreneur that has overcome failure and been led to success, but he just serves as another reminder to keep pushing through all challenges. Today’s lectures were less medical based, and more business geared, but it was interesting nonetheless.
After our lecture, we traveled to the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, and learned about the history, famous landmarks, and culture. La Boca is a town known for the fantastically painted buildings, and the tango. La Boca has changed over time, from starting as a low-income neighborhood for immigrants, where 20 families would cram into the same house. It has now gained a little bit of income, because of it becoming a tourist attraction. It’s accommodated tourists by opening shops from artists, jewelry makers, etc. It also maintained traditions of the tango with performances, music, and photo ops in tango outfits and poses.
I think that people often think history must be sacrificed to stay modern and innovative. But I don’t think that is the case. I think tradition must be sacrificed when it stands in the way of progress, but often it can be combined with new ideas or preserved separately instead. My fire company has been in the middle of a merger with another fire company for several years now, and it all comes down to this idea. One side believes that all of our history as two entities must be scraped for this new department. However, this isn’t the case. Our history will remain and be told to the new generations, just through the voice of a new department. This situation is complicated by the phrase “We’ve always done it this way,” indicating a history of tradition, but also the stubbornness to refuse change. As a department we have so much potential to keep growing and continue to innovate our processes to become a more efficient company. But this idea of tradition versus change keeps getting in the way.
La Boca has embraced change by setting up shops to draw people in, which simultaneously provides for the community. But they have maintained their traditional values with the brightly painted buildings, and tango music drifting through the streets. They have combined tradition in progress to become a landmark of Buenos Aires, without having to sacrifice one or the other.