The Learning Curve

There have been vague assertions about the need to use Covid-19 muscle memory on future challenges, like climate change. But what if we seized this opportunity to learn those lessons while they were fresh? In a project with Climate KIC, we‘re capturing and codifying pandemic policies and practice that could be explicitly redirected to decarbonising our way of life.

We must learn the lessons of this pandemic

Covid-19, the single largest global disruptive event since the Second World War, has challenged leaders, policymakers, and communities in ways scarcely imagined or rehearsed.

And while we are still some way from emerging from this current global health and economic crisis, it is not too early to start investigating the newfound agency, collaboration and policy experimentation that has arisen during the pandemic. Nor is it too late to begin exploring where the lessons we’ve learnt might apply to another unfolding crisis: climate change.

If we are to honour our commitments to the Paris Agreement goals, we are going to have to embark on an analogous journey of leadership, policy experimentation, and society-scale behaviour change that we have seen during the pandemic. And the risk is, if we wait until the acute phase of the pandemic is over, we may lose this learning opportunity as individuals and institutions ‘snap back’ to prior behaviours.

The big question we’re asking:

How might the pandemic act as a learning curve for us to take further effective action, faster on climate change?

Over the course of this learning experiment, we will be asking:

  • What new behaviours, skills and attitudes have been demonstrated by political, industry and community leaders and policymakers during the pandemic that could be transferable to our decarbonisation challenge?
  • What new policies have been trialled or developed that could be transferable to our decarbonisation challenge?
  • What new governance models have been trialled or developed that could be transferable to our decarbonisation challenge?
  • What new individual, workplace or community social practices and behaviours have emerged during the pandemic that could potentially be transferable to our decarbonisation challenge?

Tell us what early signals you are seeing.

What we're doing

  • We will design and run workshops to capture insights from policymakers. We’ll work with the States of Change Fellows and Climate KIC networks to run several sessions in parallel. Publishing an open-source workshop format and inviting jurisdictions to run their own workshops and share their findings with us.
  • We’ll review and codify the insights gathered to develop a draft framework - the Learning Curve Framework - to assist policymakers to more rapidly assess what emergent practice, policy and behaviour may be transferable to their local efforts on decarbonisation.
  • We will test and refine the draft framework to see whether it’s useful and intuitive, including by running a number of dissemination workshops with policymakers.
  • We will jointly publish the Learning Curve Framework, including notes on how people can run their own Learning Curve workshops in their own organisations.

If you are asking similar questions, we’re eager to share notes and build on each other’s work. Send us an email.