That Virus is Trying to Steal My Community!
March 29 2020
It wasn’t too many days ago that many of us were looking forward to spring breaks and
basketball tournaments. Even as the words “social distancing” began to trend, I didn’t’ imagine
that social distancing was “coming to a community near me!” As reality sets in, I’m feeling the
early effects of being isolated, out of touch and frankly…out of sync. Many of us are frustrated
to be separated from friends, family, and coworkers and mourning the loss of annual traditions,
like St. Patrick’s Day, tournament brackets, and springtime gatherings. We are all trying to
grasp the realities of social distancing.
As we launched the Purdue Foundry in 2013, our team committed to create and provide
dynamic services and guidance to those willing to take their ideas and create impact. We
further envisioned that this ultimately would result in a vibrant “Innovation Community” of
entrepreneurs, inventors, and all who wanted to be part of this new movement. We defined
success in our Innovation Community by committing to “Ideas having Impact!” We welcomed
all of you that wanted to be part of our movement and you joined us by the thousands to in
one way, shape or form, join this awesome community…and then along came a virus.
As a musician and occasional street performer, I often respond to the situations around me
with song lyrics. In this case, I simply say, “We’re Not Gonna Take It!” Thank you, Twisted
Sister, for your lyrical contributions! No, we’re not gonna take it because this Innovation
Community believes in their ideas, and this Innovation Community wants to support those
brave souls destined to make an impact. We’ve come too far and we’re not going back. We’re
not gonna take it because our Innovation Community has addressed some of the world’s most
vexing problems, and the process created thousands of new, high-tech, and high paying
jobs…most calling Purdue Research Park their home. We’re not gonna take it because, in the
past few years, we’ve doubled down on our past success in our Innovation Community with a
city of the future called Discovery Park District. We’re not gonna take it because Discovery Park
District has become a reality and is creating a plethora of new buildings where our vibrant
Innovation Community can grow and prosper at amazing new levels. We’re not gonna take it
because we are welcoming new additions to our Innovation Community every day, ranging
from the dozens of families that relocated here from Washington and Idaho as part of
Schweitzer Engineering Labs to dozens more that are making plans to move here from Sweden
to continue Saab’s vision. These new members are counting on us; they too believe in our
A physical place, no matter how beautifully designed, doesn’t produce vibrancy…people do. A
house becomes a home based on the interactions of those that live there…the people matter.
A building only becomes a school because of the learning that goes on inside. A mountain
range or a desert can take your breath away…but only if you are there to behold it. Yes, the
people make the difference…the people make the place, and our people are amazing.
And so…if we’re not gonna take it, what are we going to do?
Well, let’s start today, right now, using every available means to create a community despite
social distancing. In the next five minutes, reach out to someone in our Innovation Community,
and talk to them, check in with them, make sure they are okay. We’ve got the tools to do this
in our pockets and our bags. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, would a video call be worth
100,000 words? Reach out…see and hear our friends, our entrepreneurs, our innovators, our
teams, and colleagues. Let’s get creative on creating e-gatherings, let’s create our own
paradigm…let’s do it now.
So, what do you have that will help…what can you contribute? I bet you have or can create
something right now…maybe it is a video or a story. Perhaps you still have a napkin drawing
that you’ve saved despite the spiked demand for paper products? Share a song, share your
thoughts, and connect with us! Share it with our innovation community, get people talking,
and get people sharing. Our Innovation Community depends on you!
The Purdue Foundry has declared, “We’re Not Gonna Take it!” Share your ideas for how we
can get the Innovation Community together in new and virtual ways…as we await the end of
social distancing. Be the one among us who, because of the virus…helps create something
And so COVID-19…you can’t steal our innovation community…it is too precious, and there is
just too much riding on this Innovation Community to see it falter. We’re simply not gonna