On crises and change (a guide to the terrain)

In early 2021 I worked with a team at the RSA to listen to community stories of the impact of Covid-19. Our aim was to tease out some learning about the preparedness of people, communities, institutions and our wider systems to absorb the shocks precipitated by the global pandemic. Our thesis was not an original […]

On not rushing through transitions (part 1)

There was a moment, sitting nervously high up on the edge of the gantry from which I was to jump, when I realised I couldn’t reach the trapeze. I had to launch myself forwards, focused on the bar, and anticipate catching it, quite literally letting go of the safe and familiar to leap forward, confident(ish) […]

On dreamspace

Some things can’t be rushed. We know this. The maturation of a wine, the build of a three hour NFL game or a five day test match towards its denouement, the germination and development of ideas, the growth of a forest or the development of a child. But today’s world seems to have been gaining speed […]

On communities after Covid-19

Grafton, a small New England settlement in Vermont state, had long been home to those seeking a quiet, unintruded life characterised by low levels of government regulation and civic participation. It seemed like the perfect place to develop a community based on logic and free market principles, and that is exactly what a group of […]

On transitions and loss (part II)

Transitional periods are a mix of both letting go of the old and experimenting with the new. Relationships, habits, patterns, behaviours, identities, ideas… It is not simply the case that a transition is a clean switch between two known states, the before and the after. Usually the after can’t be known. It arrives after a […]

On transitions and loss (part I)

Covid-19 is precipitating change the likes of which we haven’t seen for generations and the extent to which we can only currently guess. Out of necessity, and against the odds, we have seen communities, the wider public sector and civil society step up and work together to respond to local needs, largely in the absence […]

On the markers of distance travelled

There’s a phenomenon when you take a new journey whereby the journey out seems to take forever compared to the homeward leg. It seems to be true however you’re travelling, so long as the route home is the same as the route out. I remember as a kid being surprised how quickly we seemed to […]

On existing at different speeds

“Civilisations with long nows look after things better. In those places you feel a very strong but flexible structure which is built to absorb shocks and in fact incorporate them.”  Brian Eno The global coronavirus pandemic is nothing if not emergent. It has shortened our time horizons and brought the here-and-now into immediate focus: respond to […]

On countering our anti-risk instinct

Why does the status quo prevail despite our best efforts at change? We are faced with a huge amount of content. Incoming streams of news, data, demands are sprayed at us from all angles. Things move so fast we often don’t have time to even note what’s changed before the next thing. These are tough […]

On making sense of crisis

How do we make sense of how the crisis is changing the world as we are living through it? Lots of conversations are taking place around how we track, learn from and make sense of the crisis, our response to it, and how we build bridges to a post-pandemic future. Thinking through the measures that […]