Walking back from dinner the other night, Piyush Malik and I discussed some of the common challenges both Athens and IBM share. At the core of both are long, distinguished histories – centuries of history in the case of Athens! The challenges have been to avoid being too narrowly defined by just one thing.
In IBM’s case this could be a popular product or service (like the AS/400 or the ThinkPad). Allowing the world to define IBM this way makes it very difficult for it to evolve as a company in a constantly changing marketplace. IBM must embrace its history as an innovation company, but it must constantly evolve “how” it partners with clients to deliver that innovation.
Athens is a destination to experience cultural history. This is at the core of the city’s identity. What must constantly evolve is “how” Athens can enable this unique experience that no other destination can provide. Simply put, this is our challenge. Maintain the character of Athens while improving access to and livability in the historical center, not just for tourists, but for all Athenians.
It starts with respecting the history, but requires creating a future of what this city can become.