Across Europe, the only constant is change
I had yet another fantastic money-making idea. Could have been an app, could have been a website, but people would have been queuing up to pay me money for the privilege of using/viewing my product. What could it be, you ask? My plan was to take a century’s-worth of maps showing the changing borders across Europe, and create a time-lapse sequence that would allow you to view the changes, zoom in on any given region and view developments in devolution and unification, zoom out to view the impact of wars, conquests and invasions, pause on specific years and take in the wider picture, and more. It would have been awesome. Fly in the ointment, though; someone’s beaten me to it. And stuck it up on YouTube of all places, so that’s pretty much any hope of monetising that one gone straight out the window.
I suppose it’s nice to see what my idea would have looked like. And perhaps if I stuck to being the ideas man and let someone else do the development, these things would come to fruition much more quickly and I’d be a much wealthier chap. Hey ho. Check it out for yourself on YouTube here.
What brought it into focus for me was the recent independence vote in Catalonia, which, if the time lapse map is correct, seems to have been a functioning economy centuries before Spain was even a glimmer of an idea. Similarly, there has often been discussion about Bavaria splitting from Germany. Belgium is divided half and half between the Flemish and the French speaking Walloons with, seemingly, a corresponding socio-economic divide. There are others, too, and of course we can’t forget our own independence vote in Scotland in 2014. Nor, indeed, Brexit.
Politicians in the UK have argued that the push for independence in Scotland has driven the push for greater devolution across all regions of the UK. EEF reports that manufacturers are calling for a clear strategy on devolution, and indeed want devolution deals rolled out across all areas of England. Can you view the drive from devolution to autonomy to independence not as a straight line but as a never-ending spiral?
Looking again at the changing European borders video, it struck me that ‘stability’ is very much a relative term. Over the centuries, the only constant has been change. What does that mean for business? On the one hand, business craves stability – change, particularly dramatic change is bad. On the other hand, even dramatic instability, when you take the longer term view, is just a snapshot in time. So what conclusions can we draw? Well, for me it’s all hammered home, yet again, that I’ve simply got to get my best ideas to market much more quickly. Back to the drawing board once more, I fear.
Mark Simms Editor