How will we know when Innovista is succeeding? Well, to begin with, we won’t be at the point where we can call it a complete success for many years, at best. But along the way, there will be signs.
Some of them will be big, such as the new baseball park and the Moore School moving to the geographic area that is central to the Innovista movement. Or the eventual construction of the waterfront park that makes the area more inviting. Most important will be the development of high-tech start-ups that you won’t even be aware of at first, but that will grow and feed off each other as the dynamic starts working.
But there will also be other less obvious signs. Here’s one small, but definite, sign that jumped out at me in recent days…
Have you heard the radio ads for Thirsty Fellow Pizzeria and Pub? The part that jumps out at me is when this eatery/watering hole announces that it can be found in USC’s Innovista. I’m never in a position to take notes when I hear it, but here’s what the Thirsty Fellow says on its website:
Owners Willie Durkin, Chuck Belcher, Dean Weinberger and Terry Davis want you to join the Thirsty Fellow family. Located in the USC Innovista area, we have a comfortable atmosphere, a great menu, a full bar and plenty of televisions. Open for lunch, dinner, late night and Sunday brunch, put Thirsty Fellow on your “to do” list.
“Located in the USC Innovista area.” Whether you take that as a boast — a desire to be associated with the idea of the Innovista — or merely as an acceptable way of giving directions (thereby suggesting that everyone knows where the Innovista is), this is a small-but-telling sign of the concept moving forward, taking hold in the marketplace.
Let me say that again: In the marketplace. You know, that place where Gov. Sanford and the Policy Council don’t want USC to go messin’, the place where they believe, with all the fervor of their secular anti-gummint religion, it is doomed to fail.
And yet, the place where, in this tiny way, it is taking hold…