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UF Innovate

Get ‘er … planned?

Photo by: unsplash-logo Štefan Štefančík

A famous comedian a few years back coined the phrase, “ Get ‘er done!” You could hear it everywhere, it became a catchphrase for a while before it faded into the background.

However, the philosophy behind this pithy saying — “get something done” — still rings true. In fact, my staff presented me with a coffee mug bearing a facsimile of this quote (well, not exactly, my mug says “Get S*** Done,” but you can see the similarity) because it is my essential base premise. I like to accomplish things — to check off the boxes — and to show results.

I’ve written a post regarding planning before, and planning is certainly essential. Having a “master plan” allows you to look at contingencies, evaluate scenarios and try to predict obstacles in advance. A really thorough plan contains the financial ramifications of what you are attempting, the characterization of whom you serve and where your market is, and a complete description of your product and service. It is, as they say, your “road map to success.”

But in some instances, planning is all that takes place. I know of one municipality that’s been planning for economic development and growth — for years! They convened a committee nearly 20 years ago to determine “sector specialization.” Then they organized another group to evaluate “economic opportunities.” Yet a third panel met for several years to “accelerate growth in biotechnology/medicine.”

The municipality organized a fourth, then fifth, then sixth committee — all for planning efforts in several other specific areas, and now, finally (almost 20 years later!), it has a published “master plan” on site development, research park formation, sector focus and other key focal points for growth. Again, it’s a “plan” (one of many; I have several published versions on my bookshelf that no one has even read, much less implemented). The area paid consultants, paid for surveys, paid for research, but at the end of its planning it has (drum roll, anyone?) a plan.

And to the onlooker, nothing has changed in the community’s economic development and growth — at least according to this plan 20 years in the making. The municipality has accomplished nothing.

However, while it immersed itself in planning, other municipalities DID THINGS rather than propose strategies or gather data to produce more plans. Other locations developed a decisive plan of action and actually began to execute that plan. They built buildings, started companies, developed funding and, in short, made progress.

For those communities, the “ get ‘er done” phrase was more than a concept; it was a reality. What did this mean? It meant while the one location was planning, the other locations were doing — and now, 20 years later, guess which communities show marked progress?

Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan, and I’m definitely not intimating that planning has to be fast and loose. It means “there’s a time for planning, and there’s a time for action,” essentially.

You’ve heard the phrase “a failure to plan is a plan to fail,” or something similar to that attributed to everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Alan Lakein. Whoever said it, I believe it.

A good plan is essential for success (although some people do get by with dumb luck). But planning must end and implementation of the plan must occur. So set targets, set goals, and set time limits — and plan. Don’t wait for unanimous agreement (like THAT would ever happen!), but get the facts, get reasonable consensus, and then get it done.

In the end, it takes action to get results. Progress is not measured in the number of plans you make! So, get “it” done — the sooner, the better!

Mark Long has long experienced the intricacies of business incubation, acceleration, coworking spaces, makerspaces and other entrepreneurial assistance venues around the world. He shares his experience, outlook, background knowledge, studies, and observations in regular posts at the IncubatorBlogger. Feel free to follow him there — or follow him and UF Innovate right here.

University of Florida Innovate supports an innovation ecosystem that moves research discoveries from the laboratory to the market, fostering a resilient economy and making the world a better place. Based at one of the nation’s leading research institutions, UF Innovate comprises four organizations: Tech Licensing, Ventures and two business incubators, Sid Martin Biotech and The Hub. Within the UF Office of Research, the three organizations form a comprehensive system to take technologies from the lab to the public, bringing together the five critical elements in the “innovation ecosystem”: facilities, capital, management talent, intellectual property and technology-transfer expertise.

Originally published at http://incubatorblogger.wordpress.com on January 26, 2018.

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UF Innovate connects innovators with entrepreneurs, investors and industry; incubates startups and growth companies; and fosters a resilient innovation ecosystem — all in an effort to make the world a better place.

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UF Innovate

UF Innovate

Tech Licensing, Ventures, Pathways, and Accelerate, which includes two business incubators, The Hub and Sid Martin Biotech. We build business on innovation.

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