To Build (not just dream) the Impossible Dream, by: Joe J. Wallace


Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace

In “The Man of La Mancha,” Don Quixote, the idealistic patriarch of the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, inspires as he extols the benefits of dreaming the impossible. Life does imitate art, and big dreams often rouse great feats that reap benefits enjoyed far beyond the circle of visionaries and dreamers. Risk-takers embark on a quest to realize their dreams, but the ones who do not implement well often see their dreams face the same fate as Don Quixote, who died early at the hands of the authority figures of his time.

In the world of innovation, implementation reveals the efficacy of impossible dreams. Without the perseverance to think critically, experiment and execute to realize a dream, a vision — as they say in Silicon Valley — is mere “vaporware.” Innovation hubs, as President Obama celebrated in a recent speech in North Carolina, are emerging as places where visionaries gather to dream, prove concepts, birth products, and launch manufacturing enterprises.

The California Innovative Hub initiative was crafted in Palm Springs several years ago, and today the Coachella Valley iHub is incubating 20 start-up companies creating high-tech products from branded social messaging to storage solutions for renewable energy.

It is one of 16 innovation hubs in California and first to add an Accelerator Campus to its iHub network.

The CViHub first nurtures and assesses the entrepreneurs’ dreams to the threshold of reality, and then mitigates the risks of entrepreneurship through the implementation stage of operating a business at the Accelerator Campus.

The question of the next decade may be this: Can innovation hubs lead the United States out of the Great Recession and toward a sustainable future where the American dream can again become reality for most of our citizens? Early results of the CViHub indicate the answer is yes.

The kind of creativity that drives innovation and entrepreneurship may be widely praised and desired, but, in reality, creative solutions often meet with resistance and open hostility. Apple’s Steve Jobs and other highly successful entrepreneurs are known for anti-social behavior, acting as though rules did not apply to them. Whether we like it or not, creativity correlates directly to nonconformity, and the success of innovation hubs will depend on recognizing, attracting and nurturing nonconformity.

A 2010 Kauffman Foundation study by Tim Kane concluded that “all net job growth in America comes from start-up companies.”

The CViHub surrounds its start-up companies with professional mentors and a workforce development program aligned with needs of the jobs being created. It is also Spartan in its surroundings to keep the entrepreneurs hungry and humble — a way to encourage the start-ups to work hard to graduate to the real world, creating wealth and much-needed jobs for the local economy.

President Obama is on the right track to embrace innovation hubs as a path to a sustainable future. When implemented in an exemplary manner, innovation hubs can be the birthplace of the jobs of the future where the American spirit of entrepreneurship is revived.

It is this spirit that can resurrect a time when each generation can once again expect to be better than the previous generation making the old American dream the new reality.

Innovation hubs — whether deliberate creations of the public, public-private partnerships, for-profit entities or even random gatherings of creative people with ambition — have the greatest potential to return the U.S. economy to one that continuously expands the middle class on the sustainable basis of desirable products built by people with valuable skills. To do that, innovation hubs must be more than places where people think outside of the proverbial box. To really elevate this country’s relevance on the world stage, innovation hubs will have to be places where people are inspired to live outside the box, to dream, invent and to build the impossible dream.


  1. I think the point you are making here, Joe, is an excellent one. It is a shame that the current “bending of the truth” about the recent CBO report has “caught fire” here. The freedom afforded by ACA to innovators to leave jobs that limit their horizons is an integral part of the innovations you praise so highly and deservedly.

    • Actually the freedom afforded by ACA is not something entrepreneurs consider unless they have a pre-existing condition. Most give up their paychecks to strike out on their own making health insurance a drop in the bucket. When I did my first start up I did buy a catastrophic policy for my family and it wasn’t even $100 bucks a month. In today’s dollars that would be about $200. It was a drop in the bucket then and still is. Most of our start ups went without coverage before ACA and are choosing to afterward. If you can’t afford the $200 before you can’t afford the $300 after subsidy afterward. The misrepresentations of the CBO are flourishing on both sides of the political aisle. A truer representation would have been to state the 4.6 Billion less hours will be worked as opposed to 2.3 Million jobs lost.

      • I am one of those with a pre-existing condition and 3 of my five kids got the “asthma” gene from me. When I divorced, I had to have health coverage and my ex was not good about taking care of such matters, so I couldn’t plan on him following the order that said he was to provide insurance for our children, either. I signed on to a job I was “over-qualified” for for twenty years. I got promotions and raises, and it was a fairly rewarding job. I still wish I could have pursued the consulting I did “on the side” as my primary work.
        I suspect there may be entrepeneurs with pre-existing conditions coming out of the woodwork. I definitely think you will see people who can financially afford to retire early, but don’t have health insurance, clearing out of the workplace and freeing up jobs for younger workers. The whole trend toward people working longer is a drag on employment.
        I got lucky, and got in on a “buy-out” so I could retire at 60, with insurance. It took me about a half-hour to decide to go when the offer was made.The middle of this month, I will enter my 7th year of glorious freedom. I can’t imagine how awful it is for people my age, who are sick or tired having to work at a job that makes their lives harder. I have my doubts about those 4.6 billion hours being unproductive, just because they aren’t spent in the traditional workplace. You may even see something of a return to having one parent stay at home and care for children. There are many families that one parent works outside the home for nothing more than health insurance and childcare costs. ACA can let those parents stay home and care for their own children. Hours spent at “employment” are not the only ones we can spent at “productivity.”
        The far-right “haters” of ACA are welcome to their opinions, as it is a free country. Time will only tell who is correct. I still look forward to a “single-payer” system that totally severs healthcare from employment.

        • It sounds like the ACA is good for you. That is the trouble with governance though. As Mr. Spock always said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one”, so things like the CBO are set up to analyze the degree of such needs. I want our country to improve. Being optimally competitive while taking care of the incapable is part of that equation. I do not advocate a winner take all culture but can’t buy into a risk free life for all either. Entrepreneurship is all about risk. If you remove all of the risk you by definition diminish the reward. There are reasons that the best of the world flocked here for many years. Those reasons are not so dominant anymore. To choose to exit the workplace as many young parents do one must accept the economic compromises that comes with that exit. I am for portable insurance. Realize that even under ACA that portability ends at the state line. There are many things about this good idea that were cast aside by those who would not read before voting that are coming back to haunt universal healthcare. The focus now needs to be on correcting the shortcomings of the law. If it doesn’t happen, we like the USSR may just run out of other people’s money pursuing and ideology. That would be a shame. I think and am writing about ways to avoid the trap of killing ambition for benefits and reducing costs so the claim of “save the average family $2,500 per year” can be realized? It is possible if our leaders decide to milk the sacred cows for the American people as opposed to for themselves. In reality there is little difference in what the Republicans did in power and what the Democrats are doing now. The website idiocy was just a distraction from the real issues of how this law works or doesn’t work.

          • The way to “fix” it is single-payer, Medicare for all. That solves the portability problem and it totally removes the connection between employers and health insurance. It also does a good job of balancing the risk pool. I’m sure you don’t agree, but that’s what’s great about America.

          • @LKB,
            The only thing govi-pay would fix is the complaints about ACA. You really want us to believe that the government who gave you the ACA can do better if you have no choice?

            What’s sad is that the ACA has broken our health care and employment and we can’t go back.

          • @ Indiana Enoch:

            Bull puckey!
            I think you will find that most of us are very well-satisfied with Medicare. Balancing the risk pool would make it much more stable financially, as well.

  2. “Elevate,while moving forward”(~V-is-to-R~)…”Flight” to an apparent horizon.
    Good way to envision,find,and reach a destination,as well.

    Nice “work”, Joe.

    Via ad! Euge,

    Way to go! Bravo

  3. Good to see something that sounds good and looks good on paper make it into reality.

    Congratulations to those who help it happen, for some of the reasons mentioned in the article it is often unlikely to occur on its own.

  4. Imho Gomer sings THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM much better then Peter ,it’s still a meaningfull and a beautiful song if you hear it

  5. I recently read an article in a trade magazine which featured an up and coming business. Their goal however was to have 90 employees. That goal impressed me as more vanity than a good foundation to build a business.

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