Vision is the necessity that is the mother of invention

If you go to the Henry Ford website at, you’ll find this paragraph: “Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. He didn’t even invent the assembly line. But more than any other single individual, he was responsible for transforming the automobile from an invention of unknown utility into an innovation that profoundly shaped the 20th century and continues to affect our lives today.”

When I was a member of the Community Development Foundation and CREATE Foundation’s Community Leadership Institute (CLI), I learned things about the Northeast Mississippi furniture industry and heard more than I originally knew about Morris Futorian. While I knew that Futorian was credited as “The Father of the Furniture Industry in Mississippi,” I did not know that he was also referred to as “The Henry Ford of Furniture.” He didn’t invent furniture. He didn’t invent the assembly line. But, his ideas that were inspired by an automobile assembly plant in Detroit, led to an industry boon that started with a plant in New Albany, Mississippi.

As I look at my life and my relationships, I know very few people who have not been affected by what Futorian started. They may not be directly involved in the furniture industry, but they are at the periphery.

One of the big names in the advertising industry is David Ogilvy. Ogilvy is credited with being “The Father of Advertising.” I get a lot of questions from my Boy Scouts who have taken courses on advertising about Ogilvy. I’m told that his tips on writing well are still being taught. His obituary from the New York Times mentioned the he “helped alter the landscape of American advertising.”

Ideas can transcend industries. Futorian borrowed ideas from an automotive assembly plant to begin a furniture plant, but it was his experiences that showed him how to weave the ideas from one plant to another industry. See what that has grown into. One of Ogilvy’s early jobs was as a door-to-door salesman, which led him into writing a guide for his company. Then Ogilvy worked for Gallup’s Audience Research Institute. His ideas coupled with what he learned created a revolution in advertising in the 1960s. And, look at Elvis Presley, whose upbringing and experiences merged his sound and music to become the King of Rock and Roll.

We all have the ability to make changes for the better. It starts with an idea. It takes patience, persistence and support. These ideas are vision. These visions must be marketed internally and externally. These pioneers had to have people who shared in their vision to be successful. One of the definitions that I use for “brave” in Boy Scouting is doing what you know is right while everyone else tells you that you are wrong. It is difficult to be brave.

Did Ford, Futorian, Ogilvy or Presley see where their initial vision would lead? I doubt it. A one-year vision is different from a five-year vision is different from a 10-year vision and so on. Visions are crafted and guided. And, visions can change. But, it all starts with an idea.

Originally published in the February, 2016 issue of the Northeast Mississippi Business Journal in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

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