Sometimes a world needs a crisis for it to adopt significant change. Crises can pave the way for new systems, structures (maybe even a tolerance for the lack thereof) and values. It can bring a new spark to relationships that appeared to be long lost. Stuck in our routine, we are often not aware of the urgency for something to change. Critical moments call for fundamental turning points in the social and economic environment.
They say a person’s true character surfaces when facing a crisis. This also applies to a country’s whole political and economic system, too. For example, we see how such an emergency reveals how Europe is playing not as fair how it pretended to (as seen at the border of Greece, to mention one thing) and how Switzerland could suddenly recover CHF 32 billion to uphold the stability of the domestic market. Even on a non-political and economic level we can feel the impacts of the threat. It crouches in the corners of our newly established home office, it looms over us in every push notification we read and it lurks in the kitchen cupboards filled with unnecessary amounts of packets of spaghetti and canned food. This leads us all to rethink our ways of living and we have come to the recognition that we messed up before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the eleventh hour to start unmessing ourselves and everything else by not going back to how it was before.
This blog article gives a guide for everyone to come back to oneself, prepare for the change to come and to find where our true passion lies. This will help us with reconnecting with nature like we were supposed to right back when we disconnected from it. Only after aligning with our own house (to be understood as a metaphor for our minds and bodies) we are ready to embrace change with gratefulness, compassion and transcendence. When we have achieved that, we somewhat notice our abilities and how we can best put them to use to become catalysts of change.
Although we are caged within our own homes under self-quarantine at the moment, we paradoxically start realizing now how imprisoned in our routines before this crisis emerged. Now, a world-changing social movement is inevitable and necessary. What better time is there than the self-quarantine, where we can begin thoroughly reflecting on ourselves and start cranking the gears to design our inner and outer environment for it to be ready for fundamental change.
Start with asking the right questions
The first step is to not only ask “What can we do to prevent the worst?” but also “What can we do to achieve the best outcome?” Now, instead of trying to think of the easiest and most efficient way to make money out of this situation, think of what this pandemic inherently means to you and your immediate environment. What feelings does it trigger? Does this crisis bring up a trauma you were not aware of before? Where does it stem from? If you notice that you actively ignore a something, ask yourself what the root of that behavior could be. This already leads to the next point:
Once you slowly start understanding the patterns in your behavior, you can integrate your environment in your self-reflection and how it affects your ideologies, manners and outlook on life. You might come closer to understanding what role you are playing on this metaphysical level. By this, you recognize what and who brings joy into your life and what things in life drain your energy. This is key to for us to you notice the change that has to be made in our inner and outer environment. By recognizing our bias and understanding others’ perspectives, we can train ourselves to solve the problems of miscommunication and design solutions that reach and serve everybody. This we practice by genuinely and actively listening to our environment and others’ needs and concerns, especially in cases of disputes.
By being well informed, we are prepared. If we do so, almost nothing can take you by surprise, positively or negatively. It is key to stay skeptical, conducting multiple independent sources when you inform yourself on a certain topic and strongly doubt conspiracy theories circulating on the internet.
Accept and heal
When you understand your underlying motives, surrender to them instead of forcing yourself to change to be someone else. You can now slowly rid yourself of negative relations, be it with people or with objects, and begin with your healing journey.
Be compassionate and kind to others and yourself. It is normal and okay to mess up. With compassion, we can explore solidarity how far we can go with solidarity. We would have probably not offered to go grocery shopping for all grandmas in your neighborhood some months ago, but this the best chance to help the ones in need. But after all the people in our neighbourhood are helped and all the puppies are walked, ask yourself what more you can do to have an impact in your locality. From there you can build a network entirely built on solidarity and compassion, which could have the potential to trigger huge social movements. But remember how the butterfly effect works. Sometimes it only needs a small action that triggers tremendous change.
Working, studying and taking care of loved ones and ourselves during this crisis can be rattling and stressful. By taking a step back and distancing ourselves from our perception, opinions but also from the unstoppable stream of media, we can calm and relieve our minds slowly but steadily.
Be ready to leave behind all unspoken restrictions and rules because everything is about to change. It will force the world to be more digital, personal mobility will be significantly reduced and technological innovation is at the brink of tremendous exponential growth.
For example, think of the possibility that the rigidity of the standard nine to five might change going forward. Imagine there was an around the clock economy, the dependence on the sunrise and sunset diminish and people will work according to their biological clock and preference and an entirely new economic dynamic might emerge.
We all should be ready to quickly adapt and take action. This is the time to be creative!
Though these times may be very difficult for us it is of utmost importance that we keep remembering the fact that this crisis bares so many exciting new opportunities. It might spark new relations, new ways of connecting through technology might emerge, new needs on the market and new possibilities to implement ways of cooperation and co-creation will establish. This is the point where various new talents emerge and where the role of the design manager will be recognised.
By aligning our inner and outer environment, it will prepare us for a crisis itself and for whatever comes after it. Like this, we nurture creativity our ability to design for change and achieve to maintain our innovative mindset going into the future.
So, we shall not forget to water our plants and that an existential threat bares the perfect premise to tear down a corrupted construct and build something entirely new on its ruins. Stay creative!