First of all I just want to send my deepest sympathy with those of you who are affected (one way or the other) by the covid-19 pandemic. This is a terrible crisis that most definitely will affect all of us for a long period of time. So stay safe out there!
I work as a cultural anthropologist and trend analyst. In my work I look at how people act, and react, what they want and need. I put this it into a future perspective to identify trends and tendencies. There is no doubt the current situation will give rise to many changes in the future”. Today millions of us are working from home and the cities have turned into storage of people rather than vibrant citiy life of culture and events. Our daily routines are broken and we try to find a normality in all this all-consuming new reality.
Before this crisis I was studying the polarization in society during the populist uprising. The “people” vs the “elites”. Right or left, rich or poor. Us vs them, and so on.
Polarization was a very obvious trend. A trend due to the absence of any alternative, progressive vision of our shared future. But now in times of crisis I see new trends that are arising.
People in crisis how do they act?
It often starts by people acting on impulse and somewhat irrational. For example they start to hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizers. Or in some extreme cases buying bunkers I New Zeeland.
But when the first panic has calmed down, new behaviors begin. Most people become more caring, more compassionate. And also we use our creativity to do good and develop within this new reality.
Besides all the terrible and awful effects of this crisis, there are actually a number of good effects. And in my post I will focus on them, the good ones. In times of crisis people tend to become more innovative and creative, trying to find new solutions, and also we notice a new type of solidarity, we stand more united against our enemy.
I have gathered a few creative cases from my colleagues from all around the world. The list can be made loooong.
- In Sweden the number one airline company SAS offer their laid off workers training for health care jobs amid coronavirus pandemic.
- Norways prime minister Erna Solbergh, who held a press conference to answer childrens’ questions about the Coronavirus.
- Vizinho do bem, a platform to connect vulnerable neighbors in Brazil that needs help to go to the supermarket, pharmacy or just walk the dog with the one’s that offer to help.
- From MIT Media Lab, creating an app that tracks where you have been and who you have crossed paths with – And then shares this personal data with other users in a privacy preserving way – Could help curb the spread of covid-19, and could let health officials tackle coronavirus hot spots.
- A number of distilleries of famous companies in the alcoholic industry shift into making hand sanitizers.
- Manufacturer of electric cars in Bolivia. One of the first companies to help gathering team of engineers and medical doctors to build a prototype of mechanical ventilator and other needs for Corona virus crisis.
- Company in Italy 3d-printing an adapter turning snorkeling mask into a ventilators.
- And when we get to see the entire musical and entertainment industry crumbling before our eyes, a number of artists and platforms offering live concerts and DJs to get those dancing moves going on.
- A group of Spanish engineers are teaming up with Seat and local hospitals to create an emergency breathing aid out of simple materials.
- Air Canada stepped up to provide meals for vulnerable people. It has begun to donate food from its kitchens to support Canadian charities.
- The Paul Getty Museum encouraged its followers on Twitter to recreate works of art with what they have available in their homes. The instructions were simple,”Choose your favorite artwork. Find three things lying around your house. Recreate the artwork with those items. And share with us.” And so many did.
Humans are social creatures. We need to keep on meeting and interact. So even though some of us are in quarantine, at home, we still identify new ways to keep interacting with others to create new ways of helping one another. I applaud all of you healthcare workers around the globe that are doing all you can to save us all from harm. That is showing real empathy!
History supports that idea that we turn more creative and innovative during difficult times. After all, crises tend to provoke the collective into action. So let us use this time to identify new and better ways to act for a more sustainable society! We in the Urban trends study, use this time in quarantine to interview managers from successful innovation cases around the globe to identify the best processes för development of sustainable projects for a future society!