A quick tour through the Waltham Museum of Industry yesterday provided a quick refresher course in New England's deep heritage of innovation, a history that is as old as industrialization itself. I come from the Merrimack Valley and my family grew up in the shadow of the Lawrence textile mills, just down the river from Lawrence's sister city, Lowell, Mass., with its similar industrial and technological pedigree. These cities -- and many others in Mass. and New England -- were the birthplace of modern-day America, the cradle of a somewhat more peaceful second American revolution. (Note the use of the phrase "somewhat more peaceful"...especially today, as the country once again chooses up sides in the union vs. non-union battle. But I digress...) Like the star outfielder who knows nothing about Jackie Robinson, it's sometimes possible for entrepreneurs to forget the innovators, risk takers and visionaries who effectively set the table for them by building a culture that prizes continuous improvement. After all, entrepreneurial passion can be all-encompassing and the burning desire to change the world, fast, can cause your garden variety visionary to toss out his or her mental rearview mirror. That's understandable, for the most part, but our innovation DNA is strong here and the need to build, better and breakthrough is bred in the bone here in New England. The innovators path is a long trail. As we create new markers along the way, let's bear in mind that we are extending a tradition that began with a blast of steam long ago.