One of my favorite metaphors was concocted by the American biologist Leigh Van Valen who was inspired by the Red Queen character from Lewis Carroll’s "Through the Looking Glass."
If you remember, the Red Queen is the one who runs hard but never gets anywhere because everything else in the landscape is also running. As she tells Alice, “It takes all the running you can do to keep in place!”
Van Valen used the Red Queen as a metaphor for his evolutionary principle that regardless of how well a species adapts to its current environment, it must keep evolving to keep up with its competitors and enemies who are also evolving. Thus, the “Red Queen” effect: do nothing and fall behind, or run hard to stay where you are.
Look around and you'll see that the "Red Queen Effect" is happening in many places: it's part of the business landscape, new technology development, and arms races. Indeed, in the past few years major universities have a "Red Queen Effect" going in their fund-raising drives. One university will announce a goal to raise $4.5 billion ("the biggest ever"), and a month later another will announce a campaign for $5 billion ("the largest ever"). Small money-raising drives carry less prestige.
Question: Where do you see the "Red Queen Effect" in your world?