Over the last 12 months I’ve been exploring what we are learning about crises and change as the pandemic continues. Here’s an abbreviated run through. Early in Lockdown 1 I was trying to figure out what would have helped me, back in my local government days, track what was happening in response to Covid. And so the 2×2 came into my head while I was running and a couple of glasses of wine later I had developed this into a blog which became super popular. It’s now known as the Future change framework.
It’s worth asking the question: So what impact can a blog have?
Well, we tested the framework with community groups especially with the School Social Entrepreneurs, turned the idea into a workshop and started to market it. It became the Foundation of the events in the RSA’s ‘Bridges to the Future week in early summer 2020 in which we explored the impact of pandemic on programme areas. We made a downloadable guide available and hosted an autumn event exploring how RSA Fellows had used it.
At same time we published A stitch in time, a report in which we explored the value of long term thinking and foresight to society, individuals and organsations. I expanded the application of the framework as a core tool to help understand how different actions need different routes into the future.
Early in Lockdown 1 we had also co-hosted with the National Lottery Community Fund a series of discussion groups exploring impacts and opportunities for change, which led to a commission from the Lottery to host some community conversations. The future change framework was at the heart of this exploration and the insights from it were published insights as a ‘guide to the terrain‘ – recognising everyone’s experiences are different .
We gained two major commissions on the back of using the framework with others, supporting two major NHS organisations on their strategy refresh and preparedness for a future after the worst of Covid-19. Through numerous other workshops we have helped organisations and individuals explore the impact of crisis and change and think thorough strategic directions – including sessions with OECD, MOJ, MOD, Warwick Uni, ICRC and the United Universalist Association of Mid-West USA.
Lots of people and organisations have used the framework of their own accord, such as the whole Northern Ireland Civil service, local authorities, schools and the wider health sector. Many have been gratious enough to get in touch and share their gratitude and learning.
In turn, what have I learned?
I might have had an idea, but lots of people have helped bring it to life, including testing workshops, stress-testing the thinking, turning the workshops into a commercial product. Further, online workshops can work! Finally – and this is the part I struggle with the most – put your ideas out in the world. You never know when 10s of 1000s of people will read them and generate an unexpected income stream. This isn’t about putting content out for approval or in some way prove your worth, it’s about sharing ideas that others may find helpful. If only ones person does, that’s a positive.