When catastrophe looms, a great place to focus is not the eye of the storm, but the edge. Start with the economic edge of the world rather than the conventional centers. There you can still see significant improvement and development. While the suggestion that emerging markets would be untouched by the global economic crisis proved false (as anyone who spent a couple of minutes considering the interconnected nature of the global economy could have predicted), the reality is that countries that have been on the edge of disaster for decades are making sustained economic and social progress. I’m thinking sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh. In much the same way as India was relegated to the non-performing heap in the 1970s and is now a major player, many of the world’s poorest nations are making inspired use of their edge status.
The Edge was an idea I helped develop with my colleague, Brian Sweeney, ten or so years ago when we were working out what made New Zealand distinctive and where our competitive strengths as a nation lay. It has been an idea that has evolved and developed online and then gone off to take action in the real world. This seems to me to be a very twenty-first century model: explore, experiment, test, and then get out there. Since then, Brian has created another website called Paradise Road. It is a very cool collection of images from Brian’s travels and our home country New Zealand. I’d not realized what a committed photographer Brian was until a few years ago when I saw some of his images of New Zealand’s South Island. In this stark landscape, Brian saw an austere beauty that often goes unrecognized. Brian has been with me helping to develop Lovemarks since it began. On ParadiseRoad.com you can see how he has created a Lovemark of his own.