I’ve talked about the Catalysts of a different era. These horrific events of our past were catalysts towards a better future. This horrific event – the Corona Virus – will shine a light on education, health, work, and other aspects of our well-being, while exposing underlying weaknesses. Responding as a global community to these types of events is hard. I’ve asked the question about the catalysts of our future in a recent Poll – please participate and add your thoughts.
Whether it is the inadequacy of our healthcare system to deal with a pandemic, the fact that many kids do not have a computer or Internet access and cannot continue with their education, or the stress on the system when workers are forced to work from home, weaknesses are exposed. Once exposed, the virus serves as a catalyst for change – assuming humans embrace the need for change. This Article on the Corona Virus from earlier today contains a quote that can be applied to any institution of our day:
“We are at point in human history where every thoughtful idea should be pursued, well beyond the tools we have, which were developed in the 13th Century (quarantine), the 17th Century (medicines) and the 18th Century (inoculation/vaccination),” says Laurie Zoloth, senior advisor to the provost at the University of Chicago for programs on social ethics.
Think about that. The mechanisms and institutions that form the foundation of society were developed centuries ago. Said another way:
We face the task of understanding and governing 21st-century technologies with a 20th-century mindset and 19th-century institutions – Klaus Schwab: shaping the fourth industrial revolution
Although Mr. Schwab said that in the context of technology, it can be said about any institution. Consider Education for example. It was built in an era when children were educated to work in factories. As we face new challenges, whether initiated by globalization, climate change, pandemics, or scientific and technological advancement, we must think differently. In the article referenced above, the author explores whether CRISPR could be humanity’s next virus killer. Although very early days, the approach highlights a completely different way to think about dealing with a virus of this nature.
In our emerging era of great invention, new challenges will be presented – but so will new ways to deal with them and the challenges that have been with us throughout history. If we confine ourselves to thinking in old paradigms, we are destined for sub optimal results. I close each of my presentations with the slideshow below. In a time that demands great leadership, let’s embrace the characteristics of great leaders – and think differently.