There are plenty of people locking themselves in rooms at the moment to try and sort out the world economy. But not many invite a bunch of comedians to help out with the mess. Such was the inspired thinking behind Kilkenomics, Europe’s first economics festival, held in Kilkenny, Ireland. The idea was to cut through the jargon and have a bit of fun at the same time by getting a sharp bunch of comics to help a bevy of financial gurus explain what the heck is going on in the world, in a way that’s digestible for the average punter.

The economists dressed down. The comedians wore ties to boost their credibility. In true comedic style, the timing was perfect – the festival ran the same week that the Irish Department of Finance discovered the country was 3.6 billion Euro less indebted than previously thought, thanks to an accounting error. Oops. With the bean counters already a laughing stock, people turned up to Kilkenomics in droves.

It may be that not everyone at the festival was looking for answers, but Businessweek’s report suggests there was an honest mix of hard thinking and hard laughing. If nothing else, people left happier than when they arrived…and surely that’s what good economics is all about.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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