2022-04-26 Beth Sawin designing change to withstand shocks

Dr. Elizabeth Sawin (@bethsawin): How are you designing your change work/teaching/care work to withstand (or even progress through) shocks? I'm thinking about this a lot lately.

The just-in-time-always-running-at-110%-without redundancy way of working is, I think, going to become more and more problematic.

Same for 5 year plans and projections and complicated project design of many interacting components.

I'm thinking about... small, shareable units, across a range of platforms. High fidelity to core principles but improvisation around implementation. Lots of attention to learning and sharing learning and truth telling about what's not working.

I'm thinking about taking on less (ironic in the face of rising need). Distributed teams. Make sure more than one person knows how to do everything important. Documenting carefully.

I'm thinking more breaks, more tending to grief and loss and illness and stress.

And unless donors increase their giving to match the rising cost of living on a stressed an inequitable planet, it probably means the same grant funds fewer hours of work or our teams are put into more precarity, or some a little of both

It feels to me like it is already and may well continue to get harder to get the same amount of "work" done. And the irony is not lost.

And also, though I don't see it as clearly, there will be opportunities if we know what to look for. Modeling care and knowing how to design for instability will itself, I believe, begin to attract support, resources, partners.

Can we offer, into rising need, solutions that come from life-centered priorities, circular economy, and true justice?

All to say, I am curious how others are thinking about the shifts that these times may be calling for.

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