On altering states (part 4)

Prepare for the future normal We can’t predict with any certainty the wider impacts of significant social change caused by events such as the Coronavirus pandemic, nor the second- and third-order consequences of actions taken in mitigation. Consequences may play out in unexpected ways, just as the increase in gas cookers in the 1920s led […]

On altering states (part 3)

Harness the potential for change Thus we can see a disaster “much like a revolution, when it comes to disruption and improvisation, to new roles and an unnerving or exhilarating sense that now anything is possible”.  We are giving through what we at the RSA call a ’social moment’ in which change becomes more possible. […]

On altering states (part 2)

Bring the present into focus  The first challenge, of course, is to respond to the immediate impacts that are manifesting across our communities. The impacts are being felt here and how, and many are involved in figuring out the most appropriate response and measures to mitigate these impacts. Would cynefin say this is chaos’ so […]

On altering states (part 1)

The coronavirus, in precipitating a response unparalleled in modern times, is stripping away the rhetoric that covers up structural flaws in society, is exposing our shared norms and revealing our latent solidarity, whist causing us to re-evaluate what is actually important in our lives and communities. Everyone, to a greater or lesser extent, will feel […]

On balancing competing needs (part 4)

What might this local diversity look like in practice? A cultural theory lens, one I’ve been developing with Matthew Taylor at the RSA,⁠1 looks at the power dynamics between the individual, the collective and the institution in any given social situation and is helpful in making sense of how we might think about a new […]

On the quality of our lives (part 2)

Where we live is where we pursue our own individual dreams of success, where we come together to provide a range of informal support as a community, and where institutional policy, laws and regulations are implemented in practice. We all try to build the foundations for a decent life, where to some extent or another […]

On changing paradigms (part 1)

New and intensifying challenges are forcing us to confront the changing nature of our relationship with each other and with the state. This idea is captured in the idea of a ‘social settlement’, describing those unwritten values that underpin our relationships with each other, our communities and the state we live in. How might a […]

On accelerating social innovation

In order to transform public services and improve population health outcomes, we need to accelerate the social innovation process in communities – co-creating solutions from the ‘bottom up’ to tackle complex societal challenges. There are wider economic and societal benefits to be realised from embracing the efforts of community organisers and social entrepreneurs. The challenge […]

On coalescing tipping points

“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people”.⁠1  Greta Thunburg Such were the words spoken before the World Economic Forum in January by a […]