Consequences Blog #66 What do space travel and protests have in common

I have been taking time during COVID to further research and explore the relationship between good uncertainty and its superpowers – greater balance; less trauma; better decision-making.

During this time, I have taken a concentrated leave of absence from incessant noise of the world wide web including sharing my thoughts and learnings in the Consequences Blog. I have set myself no boundaries of absence other than a promise that as I research these superpowers and how they can assist in building back better or the readiness for living with COVID – I would share my thoughts – this is one of those times.

Before I go into this blog, I recognize it may not be a shared view for many and I simply ask that you hear me out and please I welcome comments or arguments against my suggested views – all I ask is that it is done respectfully.

Whilst I note the excitement of space travel as captured by media outlets all over the globe, when it comes to the billionaires (Branston and Bezos) their galactic space flights, investments in both space dollars and space sectors – I do not share the same views as Space MattersSpace tourism takes off or Space joy rides for millionaires being a good thing. I understand there may be many gasps as I share my sentiments but for me the rub is broader than the dollar expenditure or impact on the environment – surely history has shown that doing things because you can – doesn’t necessarily make it right – just like protests in global pandemics!

In true Consequences Blog style, I am keen to consider the consequences particularly at a point in time where it is impossible to avoid the fact that the world is in trauma.

2021 is the second year of living in a global pandemic, being the first global pandemic in the 21st century (not that we want another one). Although having issues with lockdowns and a tardy national vaccine rollout Australia’s’ experiences of the pandemic does not correlate in intensity with many other parts of the world – take Indonesia for example.

This is a pandemic that will not go away until every nation has things under control, an action best summarized as global herd immunity. It is not going to work with just a few countries reaching herd immunity and this is primarily due to the 21st century being such a connected century – the connection includes space and while I’m at it protests as well!

The relationship or tension I am grappling with is whether the funds and time invested in this escape from earth (or challenges of freedom of speech) could be better invested – maybe in achieving innovative ways to achieve global herd immunity? At risk of being considered as a lagger I write as an early adapter or innovator with much passion around the importance of transformation. The descriptor statements I am using come from the Diffusion of Innovation model (Rogers 1962) which shows the segments of communication behaviours for our connected century – extremes of innovators and laggers – and everything in between.

For example, in the Diffusion of Innovation model it states very clearly
that in the scenario of innovators (although the minority) not bringing others with them on the ‘journey’ means to innovate at your own peril. Surely during a global pandemic (like we have right now) nothing is certain which requires innovators to also be innovative for the whole on whatever they are planning.

I am finding in my research about the superpowers for life in post COVID times, that being innovative during a global pandemic means making decisions that are fit for purpose – therefore space travel and protests at this point in our pandemic times really highlight a conundrum for me. The commonality of tensions that they share are how decisions are being made that are not fit for purpose.

I understand this may be quite a controversial line of thought, but the fundamental foundation of the Consequences Blog is to explore (with much curiosity) the consequences in decision making. It is fair to note that I am extremely convinced by the fact that the solution for the global pandemic will be for global herd immunity and not just for individual jurisdictions or countries but for nations and continents alike. Personally, I think Matthew Taylor outgoing CEO of the RSA said it best:

The world is not short of people with good ideas, it is short of ways of actually achieving changes

Broadening my critique away from space travel and protests to achieving herd immunity at a global level maybe this is a good example of how to achieve change rather than having good ideas. The wonderful adage of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts can also be demonstrated through achieving global herd immunity. Many of these changes can begin by each individual considering everything they do BUT in the best interest of a whole.

If I could be convinced that the space sector and protest behaviour could provide a shift away from the selfish extraction behaviour – I may have a different view.

In some respect the consequences I am trying to share in this Blog are pictorially provided best by the Guardian. A recent telling set of pictures from Climate crisis: 50 photos of extreme weather around the world- in pictures:offers current examples of how our world and not in locations that are far-far away. I propose that these picturessay much better in graphic form than I could ever say in words. For example, why are we continuing to focus externally (such as space) when our internal situation (earth) is on the brink of collapse? Some would argue the globe has already gone beyond this tipping point.

A very good partnership between Jack Rackstroom and David Attenbourough (Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Land) presented a 2021 feature documentary about nine biosphere boundaries. The documentary provides a current day snapshot of the toll and crisis that is happening within our planet. No longer can economic growth be the sole priority whilst only having some environmental considerations.

If you take nothing else from this Consequences Blog please watch this documentary as it is worth viewing and without stealing their call to action the following statement summarises their quest:

               It is time to change attitude about everything being infinite

Stronger still

             Time to view the natural world not as a commodity but a system that humans are a part of.

To assist my contentious argument, I am going to present my sentiments in the form of a case study – let’s call it Org W.

The country where Org W is based is at war and the Board and MD continue to request reports and everyday actions to continue – even though many of the staff are struggling and impacted upon by the war. With finances and shareholders always being of utmost importance the future growth of Org W is always focused on being competitive and profitable – no matter what. Regardless of the war Org W is wired to be innovative and must therefore keep the innovation projects going ahead. The C/Suite has received feedback that Org W is not performing so well with an increased employee dissatisfaction rate, but it is on track to achieve the innovative project plans at all costs. It follows through with these plans regardless of the current scenario achieving a quick short-term win, being the first to do something ahead of their competitors. In the long term these decisions correlate with mass reduction in staff who have left employment most dissatisfied with life choosing to protest this adding to the war. The innovative project becomes both mute and redundant – or lands in the hands of the enemy.

Okay quite an extreme case study but my research is showing that being innovative does not mean continuing to stay on track with plans especially when the setting has changed – immensely. There needs to be a ‘fit for purpose’ assessment to ensure the setting/timing is still on course – maybe an innovation pivot is required.

I am sure this case study could be both debated and argued by those who are much more qualified than me in inter-galactical space travel and/or behavioural studies but surely the pictures as demonstrated by The Guardian cannot be ignored – we may as well be in a war and being at war with each other is futile

I would like to add that making decisions that are based on habits of old or dominant default business models impact on both innovation and transformation.  In the Balance Point and across numerous Consequences Blogs I have referred to ADWAG which in simple translation means always doing what always got. I am not the first person to make this statement, but I am a strong advocate for ensuring that we prevent ADWAG and maybe this is how we shift from lots of good ideas to actually achieving change.

In referring once again to the case study and Org W I argue that by continuing with its innovation direction at the expense of everything else is in fact not an act of building back better but ADWAG in full flight. For me in Org W(space travel and protests alike) there is no consideration as to what is fit for purpose in the time of war (pre/post-covid world). The days of go ahead and then seek forgiveness later are long gone and something like COVID and a global pandemic cannot be brushed off as not knowing about it!

It is my hope in true Consequences Blog spirit that by suggesting the other side of celebrating these groundbreaking events I can help many consider the decisions they may be making in their personal and professional environments. Whether you are an innovator, early adapter, or lagger how are your decisions and actions helping our current world not only be better for you but for you to be the best ancestor that you can be.

 

 

Consequences –Dr Jayne Meyer Tucker, aka DrJMT is a social engineer and helps humans and organisations make #betterdecisions during uncertainty. Drawing on her global experiences in social transformation and her PhD research exploring the systemic tension between structure (governance) and spontaneity (leadership), Jayne has created the Balance Point – a transformative philosophy to make #betterdecisions within a framework to STRADDLEuncertainty with relationship building and decision-making traits that make #betterdecisions the E.A.S.Y Way. Jayne has worked in Executive Board/CEO and consultancy roles with several NGO’s, corporate and government agencies in Australia and internationally.

Reference

  1. M., Rogers 1962

What is the The Diffusion of Innovation model?

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