Taking a Long Term View During Turbulent Times

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Taking a Long Term View During Turbulent Times

What’s the best way to respond to covid-19? There’s still so much uncertainty, it’s almost impossible to know. There are people and institutions that urgently need help – and first priority has to go them.

But there’s also value in taking a longer-term view in times of turbulence – I gave a talk last week on this topic, and you can see it here:

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I won’t recap the whole thing, as it’s all there on the video. But here are some of the key points.

In the first half, I talk about some personal strategies we can use to think about things. One of the key concepts here is an idea that I raised in my last post: pace layers.

This is a great talk where Stewart Brand explains the origin and meaning of the pace layer idea, and then Paul Saffo expands on it.

There are two books that have helped me think about how to best take the longer-term perspective. One is How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell. She looks at how to connect back to your local region as a method for combating the attention economy. The book came out of this post, which is also excellent.

The other set of ideas comes from Tyson Yunkaporta and his book Sand Talk. He talks about how the current world looks through an Australian Indigenous perspective. It’s a good way to start thinking about the 1000 year view of things.

In the second half of the talk I look at what we can do at an organisational level. The first key idea is that having a risk averse culture actually increases risk – it makes our organisations fragile.

One of the ways to think about this is to use the Cynefin Framework, developed by Dave Snowden. He also hosted a fantastic session on addressing covid-19 challenges using complexity-based approaches with a great panel that included Alicia Juarrero, Valdis Krebs, and Ann Pendleton-Jullian, moderated by Sonja Blignaut. All five of them are top tier thinkers, and it’s an interesting session.

We also included information about two sets of resources from the University of Queensland Business School. The first is a set of three of our classes on the edX platform at a greatly reduced rate – more information here. One of the three is the course that I put together on Design Thinking and Creativity for Innovation.

Even though there are no clear cut answers to questions about what we should do right now, I hope that all these resources can help us think a bit more effectively about how to best proceed.

And I hope that everyone that sees this is doing as well as you can under the current circumstances.

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