I see growth has been in the headlines a lot lately. Earnest and learned think tanks have confirmed the end on the “Great Recession “is nigh. NIESR has revised up its estimate for GDP growth for 2014 from 2.5% to 2.9%. The economy is or will be shortly bigger than it was in 2008. I could go on…
However, I thought it might be interesting to take a different tack and see what other growth indicators might be of relevance to us all. Are there other signs that might give us confidence of being able to battle our way out of the deepest and longest recession we have ever known? Do stats alone do it or do we each need something more tangible and more powerful?
I got to thinking about this as I was walking my faithful dog over the green hills of Cheshire. Musing on what might put these encouraging but essentially dry economic facts into context I tried to look at the big picture. Is there a logical narrative that flows through all the twists and turns we’ve all experienced in business since 2008? Is there anything that ties it all together and makes more sense than just stark headlines or lifeless statistics on a printed or digital page?
At the risk of being laughed out of court I’m going to suggest that the unifying theme could be nature. I know it’s a tenuous link but does that matter if it does the job?
When I first started work for a multinational chemical producer my manager often used to talk about seeing “the green shoots of recovery”. Long before the media got hold of such expressions and used them to excess he used to talk about tending delicate seedlings from which a strong and mature business would grow. Gardening and natural metaphors abounded of which Percy Thrower himself would have been proud.
So I think my old boss might approve of my stance today. Toiling over the hills in all kinds of weather I see at first hand the results of nature’s work. I can frequently see storm damaged trees on one side followed immediately on the other by the most resplendent wisteria blooms imaginable.
For me this is a fantastic reminder of where we have been and where we are now. I’m reminded of what harsh treatment has been doled out as the sights of destruction are still visible. Equally though, I’m now able to feast my eyes on bluebells in record-breaking abundance, cow parsley that shimmers at almost shoulder height and wisteria so heavy and dense it hides the wall its hanging almost entirely from view.
Which will inspire me and drive me more – reading the Economist or walking in the Bickerton Hills? I think you can guess! What will you draw on for inspiration?