This is not the end of our species but it is also not how I imagined armageddon would be. Don’t get me wrong, these are serious and unprecedented times, but I imagined starvation, lifeless agriculture and underground warfare without sunshine, without daylight and without hope. But this is a different war.
We have different warriors, front line medical staff, food stackers and grocery delivery, infrastructure, educators, and the list goes on and could include us all. We seem to be in the war together. The peoples of this world, of this era, seem to have put their differences aside to come together for the whole of humanity, for the future, for our future. There are heartwarming stories of compassion by strangers, of those under lockdown sharing songs across balconies and there are the memes and jokes that seem to be one of the only ways to trigger smiles and laughter during these anxious times.
And these are anxious times, but they are also hopeful times: countries are sharing knowledge and know-how; politicians are devising unprecedented packages and measures to allow us to rise again; vehicle manufacturers are building respirators, and science is fast-tracking to solve the ultimate problem set in the shortest period of time. We have the most intelligent minds crowdsourcing the ultimate solution using the best technologies of the planet….science uniting behind a common cause, sharing findings across timezones using communicative and emerging technologies that weren’t with us a decade ago. And we have the clearing up of the sky and the reboot of our environment.
So what now for the rest of us? We have developed the world to live alone on our sofa, watching Netflix, communicating on Whatsapp and ordering our food on Doordash and Deliveroo. It’s our time to use Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts to communicate without boundaries. It’s our time to leverage the very powerful infrastructure of the Internet and recalibrate our work processes to acutely define our most valuable proposition. And it’s our time to live without stockpiling and without excess.
I have often mused about if education could be free, or freely accessible – just because of the power it could bring. Within a period of four weeks, the unthinkable has happened. Both teachers and the education industry have come together to support an army of new parent-teachers figuring out how to educate at the hard coal face while juggling a household and work. The very fact that education has largely become freely available for the billion-plus students around the world should not be forgotten when we come through this.
We have become remote learners, remote teachers, remote workers, remote everything.
When this is over, it will be a time for reflection, on how we move forward to a new north star.
But for now… we have a mission… we have a crisis.
This is not a time to party like it’s spring break. This is not a Chinese virus. This is not just a recession. The world is in Global Shutdown. There is one war. There will be casualties. But we will win. Humanity will win. And we will open again..to a new normal. This is not a rehearsal. This is remote everything.