It seems hard to deny we might be in a spot of trouble. Well, more than a spot. Unlike most conferences of motivating speakers and high paid edutainers, I was somehow allowed into the British Columbia Economic Summit, this affair was sobbering with none of the pomp of Davos (nor Bono mind you) or sizzling salesmanship of TED. Rather, lots of suits and members of the politiebureau showing up to get good and demoralized. This was quite the pity party, and for good reason.
It is hard, increasingly hard, to get honest information around our current situation. Not that people are lying but that a lot of people who only know part of the story are trying to tell the whole story of our current economic state. And others, know the story, the real deets, but are lining up their interests. It's a well know secret that while good money is made when times are good, the real money is made when times are bad. Fortunately, today was simply the true wise men imparting a frank and less than enthusing picture of today's world.
As a student of economics it was both fascinating and troubling. Especially when looking back at my profession from the macro economic picture revealed today. For years now we in advertising and marketing have been beating away at each other playing a game of oneupmanship as to whose wares are superiors. Pledging to deliver "big ideas" and build brands and grow businesses, while deeing all others as dead, unmeasurable or some other flippant dagger in the back.
None of that matters. What we are dealing with are fundamental changes in our global financial system and a shakeout of not necessarily old, but tired business models. This has nothing to do with so called dead industries. All industries are amidst a house cleaning. As our Premiere stated, when times are good it's easy for bad businesses, sectors and regulation to seem like a good idea. Today they are feeling the pain as weakness covered over by the blinding alixer of profit runs dry and companies that shouldn't have been in business enter the annals of business cemetary.
The key message was that there will not be a single solution. No easy fix. It's back to basics and rolling up your sleeves, or picking yourself and dusting yourself off if you prefer. Nope, no shortcuts. Just like anyone in a specialist agency or division thinking they are the only solution is arrogant or disillusion. As one of the most impressive living economic minds , that I and much of the world have heard, added that no magic solution exists, simple bearing down and thinking through your problems to find better, more creative solutions. Time to revisit fundamentals, not tactics or execution.
At a time when historical economist agree we are in uncharted territory, not because they said so or Twitter suddenly got a lot of attention, but because unprecedented shifts in economic fundamental metrics irrefutably indicatie something has changed. But like always, when we are in the middle of change, we don't really know what the outcome is going to look like, nor exactly what this change means or is. Guessing is a fools game, but we'll know when we get there.