At our recent Ideas Exchange event at The Gallery Soho, we invited those attending to write their questions on a giant blackboard as triggers for discussion. We’ve taken a few moments since then to offer suggested brief answers to three of these questions, and you’ll find our ‘starters for ten’ below – but we’d very much welcome the contributions, thoughts and suggestions of others: simply use the Leave a Reply box at the bottom of this posting to share your thoughts with us.
We’ll be posting ‘answers’ to other questions raised on the day shortly – follow us on Twitter for announcements, or subscribe to our blog to be notified of new posts by email. (And if you’d like to be notified of future events, please contact us.)
Kate Tojeiro, one of ASK’s Associates (and whose blog you can read online), recently sent us an article called “Risk is the currency of progress”. It’s a great example of a strapline for our times – Chris Evans made it the title of his Breakfast Show on 11 January, so the phrase is ‘in the air’. Kate was referring to many things – the bravery and charitable efforts of Dakar Team GB, the new experiences in the broadest sense that we can enjoy when we take ‘the leap’, but also “new territories, products, people, ideas, experiences, luck… profits.”
I understand the idea of the risk/reward principle, but I tend to see it as a mindset, a particular lens for viewing life through, or something closer to the rules of a particular game. A game, moreover, often played by people who think of themselves as ‘players’ and see their lives in terms of ‘winning’. Losing is not an option, and all that. It often comes – and no offence is meant to Kate here – with a keen sense of heroics and derring-do.
Although unbuckling might feel appropriate, swashbuckling tends to figure – at the very least metaphorically, so I couldn’t help chuckle when I googled ‘swashbuckling’ and Wikipaedia’s opening line quickly equated it with “rough, noisy and boastful swordsmen”. I know we’ve moved on a bit from rescuing damsels in distress, and nowadays the maidens have an equal right to bear arms. But if my honour – or even my petticoats – were in danger, I’d be tempted to hold for being ‘rescued’ by someone a bit more … well, admirable.
Human beings – especially the English – seem programmed to use the weather as a metaphor, and the recession has been no exception. You’re probably as tired of hearing about stormy weather and ill winds as you are of travelling in the real thing. Although there are no bonus points for collecting the set, the missing cliché is the one about battening down the hatches.
But it’s not one to dismiss. Last week’s news coverage included updates from the OECD on growth forecasts. The anticipated growth rate for the UK for 2010 has risen to 1.2% – recession is ending, at least by its dictionary definition. The OECD expects unemployment to continue to rise throughout 2010 and possibly into 2011, albeit at a slower rate. Here are the opening words of the OECD’s Economic Outlook No 86: