Boston: the birthplace of innovation

Some of Boston’s notable firsts:

  1. 1635 The country’s first public school: Boston Latin.

  2. 1636 The country’s first college: Harvard University.

  3. 1690 The country’s first newspaper.

  4. 1845 The country’s first sewing machine.

  5. 1853 The first patented burglar alarm.

  6. 1859 The first house in the world to be lit by electricity.

  7. 1876 The first telephone.

  8. 1897 The country’s first subway system.

  9. 1999 The creation of Napster.

  10. 2004 The creation of Facebook.

If Boston wants to cement its reputation as the birthplace of innovation - and it should, because it is - we need to make a stronger cultural case for why we deserve the title. To start, we should build a museum, publish a website, and host an annual awards show.

Boston’s innovation history is equally as impressive as its Revolutionary-era history - stories that are preserved and presented in bricks and mortar around town. How many tourists leave Boston without first walking, or at least hearing about, the Freedom Trail? Entrepreneurs in Boston have created institutions, products, and technologies that have changed lives around the the world. But there’s no one place, online or in the real world, where those achievements are broadcast loudly and proudly. As a result, tourists don’t learn the story of Boston’s breakthroughs when they visit, and the information isn’t even easily attained online.

It’s time to start showcasing that history. A website touting all of Boston’s firsts would help. It could be part online museum - a one-stop shop showcasing the past, present, and future of Boston innovation - and part online social network - a place where people can contribute, collaborate, and connect.

Second, there needs to be a real-world location that tells our story: call it Boston’s Innovation Museum. Finally, if New York can have Fashion Week and California the Oscars, why can’t Boston have an awards ceremony of its own? There would be no better way to celebrate people who save and change lives from their offices here in the Hub.

Article written by J. Alain Ferry for the Boston Globe. Read full article here.

Source: Boston Globe