I wrote a post in November from Budapest where I reflected on the way Hungarian society is changing rapidly and the capital is becoming increasingly diverse. Now I am here again and I see further evidence of diversity - in my own subjective way.
Wherever I travel I have the habit of making reflections on how internationally "connected" a certain situation is. I know it sounds a bit weird but it is fun and it will give you some kind of unscientific index on how affected the place or situation is by globalization. This is an example of how it works: When I was visiting Frans in the US earlier this spring I was standing in a shop on Manhattan thinking to myself: Here I am - a Swede in New York, buying an Italian bag from a Russian shopkeeper as a gift for my Hungarian girlfriend. Several nations "involved" in that single purchase. And that is not because New York is a extreme city - you can easily see similar "chains" in places that are not nearly as big or multicultural. That is just the way modern society works.
In Hungary some ten or fifteen years ago, however, it wasn't like that. The reflection chain would be something like: Here I am - a Swede in Budapest. And that was it. Possibly with the addition drinking Danish beer (which isn't very exotic to a west-coast Swede.) Now - in 2008 - things are different. Being unable to stop this behaviour, I was thinking while having dinner the other night: Here I am - a Swede in Budapest, drinking Mexican beer in a Persian restaurant while we are being entertained by a Turkish belly dancer (which is very exotic to a west-coast Swede) and trying to figure out if the people at the other table are from India or Pakistan. Budapest really has changed.
And here is the thing: Everytime I manage to make a "long chain" I am in a situation where I spend money - and where other people spend money. In other words there seems to be some kind of correlation between mixed national perspectives and entrepreneurship. Maybe these overlapping layers of diverse national experiences and skills automatically provide a divergence of ideas - and divergent thinking is what generates innovation. If that is true these longer chains I reflect upon is a sign of fertile soil for what we could call business creativity. Furthermore - an idea that is conventional in one place may be vital and even innovative elsewhere; a Persian restaurant will undoubtedly have less competition and higher profile in Budapest than in Teheran.
Well, this is not research - just thoughts. And I am just a Swede in Budapest. Spending my American money.