The Launch 2014: Celebrating Cornwall’s Innovation
In weather that can only be described as pathetic fallacy this week, Falmouth has seemed at once chaotic and beautiful; windy and mild; now exciting and nerve wracking. Last night I took my notebook to The Launch 2014, where we donned branded waistcoats and chatted words, branding and strategy with some of Cornwall’s finest bright minds. Professional journalists, Copywriters in Cornwall, innovators, artists and crafters.
Along with its unrivalled beaches, diverse scenery and friendly manner, Cornwall has been receiving a lot of attention recently for its innovation. The Launch celebrated this. In a place with such stark inequality and disparity of wealth, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is seeing Cornish people take back some power. Where we can’t find jobs, we create them.
It’s core to my business ethos.
Growing up in Boscastle meant I was blissfully unaware of how stunning where I lived was, in comparison to the rest of the UK. I mean, I thought everywhere was like that. Everywhere was full of creative people: writers, artists, and musicians. Cornwall is a breeding ground for excellent writing.
Don’t get me wrong: Dorset is biscuit tin cuteness; Wales’ dramatic black mountains conjure somewhere between Middle Earth and Narnia; the lakes and peaks ‘oop North’ are gorgeous. But, for me nothing beats a good sunset at Widemouth or Trebarwith. These places are seared to my brain, since I played there as a child. Even after living in some interesting and exotic places, such as San Cristobal on The Galapagos Islands, I can’t find beaches that match their beauty.
Cornwall, you see, is a brand
In many ways the iconic landscapes, the rises and falls of tides, and the association with DuMaurier, Hepworth and good old Richard Lander demonstrate Cornwall’s eminence exuberance and infamy. In a place famed for toiling tin, for hard workers and innovators, Cornwall is still resplendent on the international stage; putting its unique stamp on products from handmade pasties to bespoke websites; from agile and creative words to hand made artisan chocolate.
The seed cracks open
I may have quoted Occelli before, so I’ll paraphrase: to achieve its best, a seed must crack open and turn inside out; externally this appears as destruction, but essentially, it is regrowth.
Cornwall is an impoverished area. Eurostat reports released earlier this year, claim that due to its disparity of wealth; cost of living for the poor leverages less spending power than anywhere else in Europe. Yet the launch last night told me that innovation is very much alive, and leading aspiration in the county. Local businesses in Cornwall need to create opportunities for young people in the community.
Cornwall is also a hub of innovation. Over 20 startups exhibited at The Launch yesterday evening, and I have spoken with and met several others this year at various food fairs and networking events. We may be lacking support from a London-centric government, but we won’t go down with that ship. We will come up fighting, like the Celts who crafted us and we will persist as a brand.
Cornish creativity is some of the best
Emerging from Cornwall are some of the finest ideas, usually at prices that London companies could not afford to roll them out at. Having once been a pupil within the county, and since been a teacher; the minds being shaped beyond Brunel’s bridge (the gateway to the county) seek to extend this creativity and bolster the Cornish brand.
And long may it continue.