Originally appeared on South Florida's SunSentinel.com - June 05, 2010

Ways to plug oil spill

In many ways I was thrilled and encouraged by Bob LaMendola's story in the May 28 Sun Sentinel, "Inventors brainstorm ways to plug oil spill."

As a native New Orleanian, and now a part-time resident of South Florida, it is gratifying to read about so many smart, engaged and concerned South Floridians employing their creativity in an effort to help reduce the impact of this terrible disaster that threatens to alter our lives for decades to come.

That said, it is troubling to learn, not only here, but in virtually every report on BP's and the government's response to the spill, how slow, pondering and uncreative their efforts have been, especially in today's innovation-driven society.

Innovation, which is clearly needed in this unprecedented event, is fueled by ideas, not by rethinking the status quo.

The situation in the Gulf worsens not every day, but every second. A few fewer engineers and a few more creative thinkers at the table may have had this problem solved weeks ago.

It is interesting to note that a recent survey of 1,500 chief executives, conducted by IBM's Institute for Business Value, shows that CEOs identify "creativity" as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future. And yet, corporate behemoths like BP, and even our change-oriented administration, continue to function in the ways of the past.

We can only hope that sooner rather than later, the real innovators in our world will assume greater positions of influence. Perhaps then, disasters such as these will not only be addressed faster, but may not happen at all.

Keith Harmeyer, Hollywood, FL