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South England’s pioneers: past, present and future

Thomas Edison famously said that Genius is 1 inspiration and 99 perspiration. This made me wonder if these are the only vital ingredients needed to become a successful pioneer. I decided to investigate and shine a light on some of the amazing pioneers in the South of England, which I cover in my regional role. I discovered that although each pioneer is unique, they often share similar traits: being imaginative, collaborative, adaptable and resilient. These characteristics enabled them to overcome challenges and chart a new course for the future. Imaginative and curious Last year marked the 400th anniversary when pioneers boarded the Mayflower and set sail from the Solent to discover the New World. Three centuries later a pioneer called Marc Isambard Brunel installed a series of pulley block making machines in Portsmouth dockyard. These were the forerunner of factory mass production lines that has transformed many industries and enabled business to grow on a global scale. I am sure the young Isambard Kingdom Brunel was inspired by his father’s creative spirit. He went on to pioneer bridges and railways across the country. Collaborative and open We live in a digitally connected world and can share ideas at a click of a button: a huge advantage with restrictions currently limiting our freedom to travel. It is amazing to think that this was all made possible by the pioneering research of Sir Tim Berners-Lee who created the first website in collaboration with partners at CERN . Adaptable and resilient Pioneers need to be adaptable and resilient in the face of adversity.