Friday, December 18, 2009
The idea of creative destruction is that innovation or creativity delivers something to the market place that is taken up and destroys what was there previously - at least in part.
If you look back over the last few years you can see some consumer products having their hour of glory coming up to Christmas - for instance what was the year that everyone bought a digital camera? Satellite navigation? iPods? or if you look back further - your first mobile phone.
2009 did not start well, and by all accounts it is not finishing that well either. In the UK we have had negative growth over the year, with particularly hard hit sectors of the economy being:
Finance and banking
Transport and distribution
In amongst this we have used less utilities - less oil, gas, electricity and water both commercially and at home.
Small firm liquidations are up 14% (2008 Q3 to 2009 Q3) whilst corporate liquidations are up 51% on the same period. Personal insolvency is also up 35% on the previous year. If you compare with 2005 company liquidations are up from about 3000 per quarter to nearly 5000 per quarter. Individual insolvencies are up from between 12 and 17 thousand per quarter to nearly 35 thousand per quarter.
This volume rise is quite stark
Some clear casualties have been IFA's, Estate agents, Bankers, and Energy sales. This is against a backdrop of global warming, Twitter, flexible working, and grumbling Unions.
Bearing in mind the economy will have shrunk by a single digit when the analysis is done. For instance estimates discuss 5 percent fall for 2009. Bearing in mind the huge drop for some, this might beg the question - how is everyone else doing?
In some respects the government have "propped up" ailing industries such as automotive and banking to soften the impact. They are also supporting renewable technologies especially micro renewables such as biomass, solar, etc.
In theory the government want to reach challenging targets in 2012, 2016, 2020 for use of renewable fuel. At the moment the industry has not got the capacity of stoves, boilers, installers, and possibly even fuel to deliver this.
Whilst insolvencies are increasing corporate redundancies are generating more self employment and start up businesses. There are more people trying to work at home, working in a flexible way, and using the ever increasing set of digital services available to us.
What is clear is that the structure of the way that we live and work has changed quite radically. Some things have been checked by the market as a consequence of that, other changes may be cyclical.
If you are looking for the next big idea - you wont find it here! Picking winners is hazardous and logical presentation sounds good, but consumers and businesses often behave differently.
From a personal perspective I just think we are a little closer to some markets than we were a year ago. Technology for many things has been developed, but the market or the market structure takes time to get right. However if you are an engineer - then the renewables markets may perform better over the next year and the general energy market may have harder times ahead. If you are into business services, then the standards expected will continue to rise. Communications inches forward - a modern phone does a lot of things, but not everyone has one, so newspaper advertising may live a little longer.
I would not have picked a "slanket" to be a winner this year. In fact if someone had approached me with the idea I may have asked them a few challenging questions. It is a winner though - have you got one?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
There are a shortage of Christmas trees this year in Wiltshire. Most of the discussion is about trees. There are other seasonal decorations that have not had much airplay. What about Christmas wreaths?
Energy2grow employs is part of a work scheme to help disbled people in Swindon find work. They have made some beautiful wreaths for Christmas.
Further details are available here