Firstly, may I thank all of you that have been reading the Rock’n’Roll Business Blog through 2011. We have had a whopping 14 000 views since it started in earnest in June last year.
In terms of 2012, if we are to turn the UK plc round, its going to take every bit of adaptation, learning and innovation. You may care to reflect on some of the more popular posts of 2011 – Lady Gaga and adaptive strategy, Deep Purple, improvisation and innovation, The Beatles on creativity, Prince on excellence, Britney Spears on becoming a learning society, Hendrix v Clapton on innovation and Personal mastery in business and music – lessons from Jeff Beck, Les Paul and Bill Nelson.
So, what does 2012 hold in store for us? Well, here’s some views taken in the course of my travels recently, with the themes linked to pop and rock songs of course!
There is power in a union?
2011 was marked by a resurgence of industrial relations unrest in the UK. However, the recent public sector strikes was marked not by braziers, banners and protest songs, but by the best shopping day in 2011, as retail sales soared. I saw people leaving local government picket lines to go to Costa Coffee at 10 am. Is shopping for Ugg boots and flat screen TV’s the hallmark of the new rebellion?
Can we look forward to more industrial unrest? From talking with people in local government, it seems that there is still plenty of scope for downsizing and it also appears that quite a few people are basically happy with their pension, so it appears that the current industrial unrest may not develop. When I talk to my self-employed friends, there appears to be little sympathy with the strikes – as one remarked “Pension, what pension?” One thing is for sure, in an age of unrest we can expect more performances by proto punk protest singer Billy Bragg:
What’s new pussycat?
During 2011 I met Evan Davis of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills. During our conversations we touched on the vexed question of what we should do to rebuild Britain. There are no easy answers here and a debate has since been raging on Linkedin over this issue. There seems to be broad agreement that the UK plc desperately needs more innovation, especially the type that can be exported and that which builds out of our strengths in ways that are hard to copy or appropriate. At the same time the service sector needs to shrink, whether this is through a smaller public service component to the economy or in service industries that merely consume wealth at a local level – for example tanning rooms and burger bars. The change is going to be hard to swallow for some. Doing more of the same will not do, we need to do things differently. Musically, it’s more a case of ‘What’s new pussycat’ rather than ‘Do the standing still’.
We’ve got a meeting with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to explore some of the ramifications of the UK’s innovation needs coming up. More on innovation coming up in future posts.
What are your hopes and fears for 2012? Post a comment on this blog.