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Get off the couch Adelaide

The are about 7,400,000,000 people across the globe. Only 0.02 per cent of these live in Adelaide. With a small proportion in a big world, there is a risk of being insular and lacking the necessary self-identity and progressive mindset to be psychologically and economically resilient.

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Get off the couch Adelaide

  1. 1. 58 THE BEST O F ADE LAIDE AND S O UT H AU STRALIA SALIFE.COM.AU H OW CAN SOUTH AUSTRALIA – 153 PER CENT of the land size of France with only three per cent of the population – prosper in the new world? Earlier in my career I visited the Paris headquarters of the consumer insight agency I was working for. On politely remarking to my French host that “Paris, is beautiful” she confidently proclaimed “but, of course!”. I was a little taken aback by the arrogance. Yes, Paris has a fine cultural vibe and reputation, but at the same time it is awash with horrendous traffic congestion, an ongoing terrorist threat and streets riddled with poodle poo. Add an exorbitant cost of living, and I wondered how could my host be so blind to Paris’s deficiencies? South Australia produces the bulk of Australia’s quality wine, and its food, wine and beer are the toast of the world. In celebration of what really matters we can share time with family and friends, over a quality local beer or wine, without the ritualistic snobbery one would anticipate in the old wine worlds like France. Please feel sorry for the Parisians. They likely would rarely visit a pristine, uncrowded beach or a no-fuss, picturesque wine region. South Australians are overwhelmed with magnificent beaches, wonderful wine regions and a plethora of experiences only a short trip from home. Most Adelaidians go for a day trip at least once a month to nearby regions. The favourites: Adelaide Hills (75 per cent*), Barossa (50 per cent), Fleurieu Peninsula (42 per cent, including McLaren Vale), Clare Valley (27 per cent) and Yorke Peninsula (27 per cent). Plus, South Australia excels at sports, arts and cultural opportunities. There is an increasing volume of interstate and overseas visitors attending; South Australia sells 56 per cent of all festival tickets across Australia. South Australians are as happy as any Parisian, consistently noting a love of Adelaide and a desire to embrace a positive future. “We need to instill some pride in the people that live here.”** Business leaders are often far more negative about the economic situation.  “It’s really tough; the screws are getting quite tight.”** The general populace is aware of the economic challenges, yet desire business and government leaders stop the blame game and act. On the announcement of the Holden closure … “Concerned it took this long to think about new industries.”** Paris is by no means immune to adversity. Since 1961, more than 250 people have been killed in terrorist attacks. The November 2015 Paris attacks killed 130. Is the inherent pride of Parisians in part a resilience mechanism to such devastation? Perhaps true adversity builds resilience to prosper in an ever-uncertain world. My deepest thoughts go to the French. This is thankfully something likely unimaginable to the vast majority of Adelaidians. Yet, it may provide advice for how South Australia should be resilient to overcome its own economic adversity, which clearly pales in significance. Adelaidians sense positive change over recent years and have observed increased respect for entrepreneurial culture, plus growth in new bars, restaurants and a generally improved city vibrancy. Historically, South Australia’s geographic isolation and population size have been impediments to cultural and economic growth. However, the internet has largely removed geographic boundaries and produced many fast-growth web-based juggernauts. South Australia’s largest corporate Santos, established in 1954, has a market capitalisation of AUD $8 billion. As a comparison Facebook, established in 2004, now has a market capitalisation of $400 billion. Add to this Uber, AirBnB, Shopify and many more fast growth start-ups launched a decade or less ago and valued at well over $20 billion. Two priorities for Adelaide to be even better than Paris: 1. Get off the couch and spend locally.  Buying local should always be viewed as the default, and strong justification required to shop elsewhere. If Adelaidians do not support our local businesses, economic challenges will continue and job creation will flounder. Get off the couch and head to a shop, a show, a wine region, a local cafe or pub, restaurant, et cetera. 2. Embrace the local lifestyle and opportunities of a big world. South Australia needs to become a net global exporter, as opposed to a net importer, of products, services and disruptive technology, to minimise cash flowing abroad. There is opportunity for locally-based fast growth $1 billion-plus businesses selling to the United States, China, India and beyond. Adelaidians need to condemn the tall poppy syndrome, embrace multiculturalism, and support emerging and established entrepreneurs and the local jobs they create. Adelaide is already much better than Paris in many ways. Future prosperity will come from competing culturally and economically with such cities globally; embracing and building on what we have, and displaying resilience to the challenges and opportunities in a world of 7.4 billion people. Jason Dunstone is managing director of Square Holes, a progressive market research and consumer insight agency established in 2004 and now working well beyond its Adelaide home.  *Square Holes survey **Square Holes focus group ESSAY JASON DUNSTONE Do you agree with Jason?FEEDBACK Contact us at Get off the couch, Adelaide There are about 7,400,000,000 people across the globe. Only 0.02 per cent of these live in Adelaide. With a small population in a big world, there is a risk of being insular and lacking the necessary self-identity and progressive mindset to be psychologically and economically resilient. First published in SALIFE, February 2016. ©SALIFE Magazine, Adelaide, Australia.