Developing ideas and insights that create major shifts and trends, solve humanity’s important problems, improve the quality of life for people around the world, lead to prosperity, and result in lasting achievements – this is our quest.
The question we are exploring is whether Europe’s recognized enthusiasm for culture in its various forms – food, music, architecture, literature, and many more – and greater commitment to the preservation and promotion of such expressions of culture would offer a good platform for generating new and important ideas given that the enabling technology may not need to be quite that complex.
My sense is yes, they would.
Among other things, if innovators in Silicon Valley and elsewhere immerse themselves in the cultures in Europe, my hypothesis is that they will gain access to different perspectives and insights with which to approach their own entrepreneurship.
Their tastes will, I imagine, become more mature and sophisticated.
The resulting fusion of cultures – ethnic, interdisciplinary, cross-functional – all of it, my instinct says, will lead to exciting possibilities.
Here are some ideas I would be interested in seeing explored as part of this experiment:
Some of these experiments have already begun, for example, a collaboration between the French and Cambodian governments has resulted in Artisans d’Angkor, a wonderful lifestyle brand where French designers are working with Cambodian artisans producing beautiful clothes and home furnishings. With time, such experiments will blossom into bigger, more comprehensive industrial phenomena.
So, the role I see for Europe is in reaching out to the rest of the world and taking a leadership stance in developing taste. Whether it is educating the Chinese market about French and Italian wines, or packaging culture for the consumption of Silicon Valley’s geeks, there is a European renaissance possible. But it will likely not be one concentrated in Paris or Florence; rather, it will be an international renaissance whereby Europe exports its strengths in culture, preservation, cuisine, and style to a world growing in wealth and sophistication.
The by-product of that kind of wide-ranging taste-making will also yield gains for Europe on its own soil. Like me, people who are seduced by the European way of life, the cobblestone streets of Toledo, the joys of discovering designers like Sarah Pacini or Alfredo Dominguez before they were well known, and the pleasure of a three-hour lunch in the Provençal village of Vinsobres, will always come to visit.
They will come to Europe to look for the real thing – the je ne sais quoi missing from their everyday lives in Shanghai or San Francisco.