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Research & Design Strategy

What’s next? It’s up to us

May 11, 2020

We are told the world has changed, I have heard people talk about the recent past as “the before” in recognition that we are in transition and not going back. I have also heard people talking as if this is a tough time, that we need to buckle down and wait for it to pass.

In all likelihood these are both true.

As the world tries to figure out what is going on and how to react to the immediate changes and issues, it would behoove us to stop for a minute and figure out where we are right now and where we might be heading.

Beyond the health crisis that COVID-19 has brought us, it has also challenged many of our deeply held beliefs. Our response to the pandemic bears a closer look.

The responses to the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen as an amplification of the dynamic that drives other social and ecological crises: the prioritization of one type of value over others. As people, companies, and institutions, we need to look at which values have served us well, which haven’t, and what new values we must nurture to move forward.

As we have been talking with clients, we often hear a message along the lines of: “I think we need to scale back or maybe even stop.” This makes sense. It is an instinctive reaction, when faced with uncertainty, to hit the brakes. Don’t rush forward into the void. It also makes sense because most large organizations have a vast array of processes in place designed specifically to stop activity at the first sign of any unknown, risk or uncertainty. Stopping, slowing, and hunkering down appear to be the safest approach. But this, too, bears a closer look.

Yes, the world around us is experiencing massive, rapid change. Yes, our organizations are reeling. However, stopping activities, saying no to exploration, and retrenching may NOT be the way to succeed in an uncertain environment. It may, in fact, cause struggle, stagnation, and cause one to fall even further behind the tide of change and behind your competitors.

12 Article Norvaisas Covid2
Which values have served us well, which haven’t, and what new values are needed to move forward.

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