Text: Benoît Dubuis
Photo: D.R.

Benoît Dubuis: "We need to cultivate positive impatience"

We need to cultivate “positive impatience”: anticipating the future to always remain a step ahead in a fiercely competitive entrepreneurial world.


A rush of good news, both political and economic, was whispered sweetly into our ears at the end of 2014. Citizens expressed their refusal to compromise our country’s growth, the fantastic development of major research initiatives, record amounts of funding raised, significant or even “historical” strategic partnerships, as some headlines put it.

“Historic!” The word is typically used to refer to a remarkable event, but I prefer to understand it as a push to do even better. It can too quickly turn into a cushion of comfortable laziness, holding less pleasant awakenings in store. Nothing should ever be taken for granted. Success is not only built by relying on one’s strengths but especially in response to intelligent, hard work.

There is a triple present that is not punctual, an instant between the past and the future, an expanded present. These three types of time coexist: the Present of the Past is memory, the Present of the Present is action and the Present of the Future is anticipation. Aware of the Past, we are building the Present and anticipate the Future. We have become a civilisation of knowledge, and we have an exceptional asset in our region with the density of top schools that generate this knowledge. Pioneers and entrepreneurs must take over and play their role as modern-day revolutionaries.

A revolutionary is someone who sees the way things are done and says, “There’s a better way! I can change the situation and lead people to do it differently.” Entrepreneurs do the same. They see dissatisfied customers or products that don’t reach the public and sense an opportunity. These men and women who, sometimes during their own lifetime, were considered enlightened individuals, renegades or even traitors, built the prosperity of our country with the mindset of striving to do something that hadn’t been done before: discover, create, and explore uncharted territory. We must remember that each large company and each product that revolutionised its field had an entrepreneur behind it.

The base of our economic system depends on these entrepreneurs who found in our region a land of opportunity. New technologies develop every day, providing as many opportunities to those who have the courage and tenacity to pursue their dream. The entrepreneur and the revolutionary are one and the same, but were born at different times, under different circumstances.

So the Past is not a foreign country, and thanks to history, the Past exists in the Present. Being present in the Present of the Present means opening up to what is to come, to the revolution that could occur. It means being receptive to integrating what comes from elsewhere. Acceptance and creation go hand in hand. Being present in the Present even means giving in to the impatience of the times, which will always guarantee that we remain a step ahead in a fiercely competitive world, which forces us to anticipate rather than react and which places us in the Present of the Future.