How not to waste a crisis

We hosted a weekly conversation with people asking interesting questions about the crisis we face. Here are all the links to recordings and notes so you can catch up on the session you missed out on. Thanks to all our speakers for sharing their time with us!

27 May - From fringe to frontline

Design, data and digital responses to COVID

Practitioners in the disciplines of design and data have long argued the case for a more strategic uptake of their approaches in policy-making and public service design. With the arrival of COVID-19, these approaches have been thrust into the heart of decision-making and response, as we try to understand the impact of the crisis and rapidly build and deploy our response. So what does that look like in practice? And how can we build on this moment to create a legacy that can endure beyond the crisis?

Joining us to explore these topics were Misha Kaur, Assistant Commissioner - ATO Design at Australian Taxation Office, Eddie Copeland, Director of the London Office of Technology & Innovation (LOTI), and Ben Cerveny, President, Foundation for Public Code.

📺 watch the recording of call #9


20 May - Global challenge, local response?

Local Government responses to COVID

“Should ‘local’ be our focus for innovation and structural change? Are central government responses helping or hindering local efforts? Where are governments building trust, and where are they eroding it?”

These questions tap into a long debate predating covid-19; one of decentralisation on the one hand and holding (or hoarding!) all power at the centre on the other. When to lose control, and when to grasp it. When a global challenge dwarfs any single government, whether local, regional, national or international how do we best respond?

Three inspiring humans with a diverse set of hands-on experience in driving innovation in and with local government join us: Dominic Campbell, CEO of FutureGov, Stephanie Wade, Government innovation Lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Stephane Vincent, Director of La 27e Region.

📺 Watch a recording of call #8


13 May - Fit for the future?

International organisations in a post-COVID world.

The global pandemic has shown up in harsh light the fundamental cracks in our global systems and structures. If we truly want to break from the shackles of our past, we need the imaginings and dreams of another new world. We need to also understand what created those systemic wounds in the first place. What are the futures of humanitarianism and development? And what are the futures of international organisations that are entrusted with the responsibilities of humanitarian and development work?

We were joined by Aarathi Krishnan and Joseph (JD) D’Cruz from the UNDP.

📝Read the notes or watch a recording of call #7.


6 May - Slowdown and the future of living

“Just as nature is slowly reclaiming the streets and the skies outside the window, suggesting what our environment could be, the dreamlike psychological state of forced slowdown may be a loose sketch of what new forms of a community could be, what our economy could be, of other currents running deep.” (Dan Hill, From Lockdown to Slowdown, April 2020)

How is the Covid-19 crisis changing our perspective on our ways of living? Is it enabling us to recreate our future living, and in what ways?

We were delighted to be joined by Dan Hill, Head of Strategic Design at Vinnova, Charlie Leadbeater, Author and public innovation thinker, and Cassie Robinson, Senior Head, TNL Community Fund & co-founder of the Point People.

📝 Read the notes or watch the recording of call #6


29 April - Playing with the Future

The Future clearly isn’t what it used to be. But what might happen next? How might we explore our possible, plausible and preferred futures? How can futures thinking help us navigate the choices we face beyond the crisis? And how might speculative design help us to make the future more tangible here and now?

We were delighted to be joined by Dr Noah Raford Futurist-in-Chief and Chief of Global Affairs for the Dubai Future Foundation and Anab Jain Co-Founder and Creative Director, SuperFlux.

📝 Read the notes or watch the recording to call #5.


22 April - Experimenting in a time of crisis

We're in uncharted territory. Can governments test transformational interventions, radically new service concepts, or apply whole new thinking about the way they operate? It's human to struggle with uncertainty but when everything is largely unknown how fast can governments learn what's working, and what isn't? This is an opportunity to try things and learn from them. How can we sustain that sense of experimentation?

We were lucky to be joined by Mikko Annala Lead of Governance Innovation at Demos Helsinki; Giulio Quaggiotto the Head of the Regional Innovation Centre Asia; UNDP, and Hefen Wong the Director, Technology Management Office, GovTech Singapore.

📝 Read the notes or watch a recording for #4.


15 April - Leadership in a time of crisis

These times are a test of good leadership. But what does good leadership actually look like? For this session, we focused on the type of leadership the pandemic is calling for and explored how governments can handle the uncertainty and ambiguity they face. What can we learn from that and take with us into the future?

We were joined by Christian Bason CEO of Danish Design Centre, Andrea Siodmok, the Director of the UK Policy Lab & Sam Hannah-Rankin, Executive Director Public Sector Reform, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria Government.

📝 Read the notes or watch the recording for #3.


8 April - Time for a new social contract?

We focused on how the crisis is mobilising new kinds of citizen engagement and altering the social contracts of society. How do we best understand the ways in which people are mobilising in this time of crisis? And what teachable moments do they offer us that we should hold on to?

We heard from Panthea Lee, the Exec Director of Reboot, Penny Hagen Director at Auckland Co-design Lab + The Southern Initiative & Louise Pulford, Executive Director of Social Innovation Exchange and Angie Tangaere Social Intrapreneur, The Southern Initiative.

📝 We've written up the notes to call #2


2 April - How not to waste a crisis

We heard from Geoff Mulgan, Nesta’s old CEO and professor at UCL; Gabriella Gomez Mont, who ran Lab de la Ciudad in Mexico City, and Marco Steinberg, founder of Snowcone & Haystack and the former Director of Strategic Design at the Finnish Innovation Fund (and lead of Helsinki Design Lab). Brenton Caffin from States of Change led the call.

📝 The notes and a link to the recording #1


What this series is about

It feels like the rule book has been ripped up. Decisions that would have taken years are now being made in moments. Received wisdom feels like a relic of a different era. More than ever before, it seems we need to imagine a different world, or at least a new future, fit for us all.

That sense of possibility seems exhilarating; and bound only by the limits of our imagination. But that journey into the unknown also seems daunting. Perhaps you feel it too.

We’re asking thoughtful people whose work and ideas we admire: how to make the most of now? We may not have all the answers but together, we hope at least, to be asking the right questions. Now is the time to pause, and make sure we learn the lessons of this moment.

Join us for a series of intimate and honest, weekly conversations that look to tap into our collective imagination. A moment of reflection, as we hope to learn together: how not to waste the lessons of this crisis.

Would you like to lead a conversation?

Please do get in touch if you would like to be involved, or lead a session. Help us keep you in the loop by signing up to our mailing list or following us on twitter. We'll share summaries of what we talked about there, as well as on here.