A view from Dave Trott: Don't get mad, get creative

Photo credit: Julian Hanford
Photo credit: Julian Hanford

A Credit Suisse report says the top 1% now own 50% of the world's wealth.

Wage inequality has grown yearly since the 2008 financial crash.

The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

But what can we do except grumble?

One city, Bristol, is doing something besides grumbling.

Bristol has launched its own currency: the Bristol Pound.

The Bristol Pound is the UK’s first city-wide local currency.

Of course, there’s a problem with creating your own money.

The problem is the Bristol Pound isn’t legal currency.

It can’t be spent or traded outside Bristol.

Most people would see that problem and stop there.

But the creative mind sees the opportunity in the problem.

And the fact that it’s not legal currency is exactly why the people of Bristol love the Bristol Pound.

It can’t be spent or traded outside Bristol.

In Bristol, they call it "Money that sticks to Bristol".

The problem with sterling is when anyone spends it.

Apart from a small amount for staff wages, most of it leaves Bristol immediately.

It goes to offshore tax havens, to big executive pay deals, to distant shareholders.

Eighty per cent of it leaves Bristol and it can only do that because it’s legal tender.

So it’s accepted the world over.

Which is why they created money that isn’t legal tender.

So it won’t be accepted anywhere outside Bristol.

No offshore tax havens, no executive pay deals, no distant shareholders.

The Bristol Pound has to stay in Bristol.

So far, 800 local companies are participating.

A thousand people have opened Bristol Pound bank accounts, and there are 20 Bristol Pound cashpoints.

And it’s just getting started.

The Mayor of Bristol has his £50,000 salary paid in Bristol Pounds.

And this year the total deals done in Bristol Pounds topped £1m.

And those pounds stayed in Bristol instead of disappearing off.

All because they saw a problem as an opportunity.

Local money isn’t recognised as legal currency, so it won’t be accepted outside the local area.

But if you don’t want your currency to leave the area, that problem becomes an opportunity.

Just by questioning conventional wisdom.

Which is exactly how an entrepreneur behaves.

Entrepreneurialism is another way of saying creativity.

Which is another way of saying street smarts.

And it’s exactly what we’ve lost in our business.

Everyone is so busy trying to keep up with new technology, no-one has time to think.

Everyone is so busy creating content to fill gaps, no-one has time to question what goes into the gaps.

Or whether the gaps are valid or necessary.

Or even what the job we’re supposed to be doing is in the first place.

Everyone is just like hamsters on a wheel.

Too busy running to ask if we’re going anywhere.

And if we don’t ask questions, we can’t change anything.

Dave Trott is the author of Creative Mischief, Predatory Thinking and One Plus One Equals Three

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