18 Keys for a Highly Leveraged Post-Covid Resilience & Regeneration Plan (Wise Paper 4)
Co-authored, co-signed by 29 experts
Covid-19 has been the catalyst and the accelerator of making visible the incoherence, inefficiency, and unsustainable socio-economic “system”. It has been left naked in front of our eyes. In the coming years, national governments will inject more money than ever in our economies to relaunch a Post-Covid economy. Now is the right time to innovate in the plans to best leverage that investment for long-term, sustainable recovery.
Quantitative easing (printing money and injecting it into the system) has proven to be of too low leverage. Deploying purely political agendas are limited too. Every euro, dollar or pound should multiply 10- or 100-fold. It is possible and only requires a few insights in systemic intelligence and complexity management. The solutions exist and are on-the-shelf. Here is a summary of our recommendations. A systemic crisis should get systemic answers, not linear ones.
While the variety and density of challenges ahead do not leave us with the luxury to address them in the traditional political way, we face territorial complexity management failure. These challenges are coming up and converging now, with increasing speed and unprecedented amplitudes. But current territorial development practices are not conducive and lack the new 21st century complexity awareness and skills needed to manage that size of systemic complexity. Some are unwilling to challenge existing systems because of political and lobby agendas. As a result, significant latent human capacity to handle complexity is being suppressed. Global human resources, skills and talent will also be in dramatic shortage in the next few years.: For example, in continental Europe, we lack millions of people to renovate buildings. Meanwhile, hyper-regulation is a serious red-tape to cross to implement the enormous transition issues ahead.
Convergent global challenges require convergent, global strategies, modeled and developed at a global, systemic level — which means building knowledge intensive interconnections between networks of networks, making an authentic difference together. This calls for introducing liberating structures that allow and foster the emergence of systemically-literate, globally interconnected and resilient societies. This new system will flow within the creativity of humanity, of each and every earth citizen, and is unleashed with new awareness that new wealth generation requires a viable planet and viable human species.
Accordingly, social, administrative and legal dimensions, including governance should be pragmatically adapted at the appropriate democratic deliberative instances levels to avoid colossal obstacles of unfitting policy and regulations. This is critical in order to facilitate the prototyping of the new enduring, regenerative and resilient solutions that the world needs, making the societal value of emerging approaches more desirable and efficient than the former ones.
The pace of urgency is accelerating. Citizens are aware of it, yet they are unclear about “What’s next?” and “What can I do?”. They recognize and challenge incoherences, and we see increased social unrest as a result. Our collective awareness is awakening little by little as life threatening (and unintended) consequences are written in history books. The biggest challenge will yet be to get people out of their collective anxiety and psychological coma.A Japanese proverb says: “Strategic vision without action is daydream, action without strategic vision is nightmare”. The following keys to new, system growth fit within the strategic vision of a“Supersystem”. As such, these plans are based on the principle of “re-animation”: re-enchanting, releasing latent potential.
Let’s visualize it with an image: on one side, trimming existing trees, on the other, growing the new from ashes of the old. And today we can add: foster a mutation (metamorphosis) inspired by the caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly principles. Lots of great initiatives and projects are emerging, as entire sections of the system are collapsing. Let us detect the most valuable ones, show them, and scale them. The need for sensemaking in a complex polarised world is critical, not just for the policymakers, but for the citizens voting in participation or silence. Doing this requires a method for a whole systems view, and shows as an opportunity to consider what is true, what is in integrity, meaningful, coherence and ethics.
This document proposes a series of interventions that are key to the new models needed. These are organized by action topic:
Foresight. We need to calculate the total cost of transition, and retroplan the huge transition issues to be accomplished. Unfortunately, for some strange reason, we cannot find any serious and comprehensive analysis and pragmatic foresight in most countries. There is a significant gap between what we will get if we go on with current trends and investments, and the quality of life we truly desire.
New Business Intelligence. We have to be effective, efficient and timely on how to use scarce resources, including talent and knowledge management.
Connecting the dots utilizing a systemic and holistic perspective. Build new transversal and circular alliances in R&D and in businesses.
Refine and improve the Best. Inventory of the best-in-class, multi-solutions and quality knowledge — and wisdom — to enable both a sustainable transition.
Clear and Mobilizing Message. Communication and engagement can be done in a way that transforms and empowers people and stakeholders, as well as brings a fresh wind of optimism and shows that change is possible.
Facilitation. Key obstacles, barriers and self-censorship need to allow the flow of energy necessary to accomplish goals and vision. Insights require propagation and principles tested for congruent scale-up of best-in-class solutions.
THE 18 KEYS
Here are the proposed KEYS to leverage on the field, respecting principles of natural transformations. Let us together unlock potential and witness the large scale self-organisation of a better society for the benefit of us all and our planet.
“Redeployment” is a bias. KEY1: It should be called a “systemic intervention and deployment plan”, because redeploying the “old” is a non-starter. It would worsen the global social and economic situation. The plans should include an intervention plan and the deployment of new sustainable wealth generating business models: holistic, circular, social, systemic, knowledge and intangible value models in which thriving interconnections become the modus operandis. This is not a crisis, it is a historical opportunity to redesign our world, gradually, to release latent human capacity for what is next, naturally, using a bottom-up citizen intelligence provoking a new recovery-regeneration-renewal pathway at all levels. There will be meaningful engagement, measured as new jobs and businesses, for most of us.
KEY 2: Adopting a pragmatic foresight viewpoint. We live in unique times where historical challenges are about to converge. For every territory, these should therefore be plotted in time, be quantified, and anticipated in a systemic way by strategic interconnections which make the difference. The rest will follow. Answering the questions: What is the quality of life that we desire? How will natural, cultural and social system resources sustain this quality of life? What do we really need? What will we not need anymore? Skipping foresight is naive and simplistic. Especially western countries, ageing Europe in particular, are slowly losing their geostrategic positioning. Smart foresight could be — should cards be played well — a brand-new inspiring regenerative strategy for European countries and for EU as a whole. Our species is equipped to move beyond success into significance on earth.
KEY 3: Strategic and practical retroplannings. For the known megajobs to be achieved, as it is in renewable energy, materials, mobility, food, and real estate renovation for instance, retro-plannings should be made by considering all financial and administrative constraints. Where are they ? 2030 is tomorrow. Not doing it is bad project management. Measurable milestones could be an added value.
- NEW BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
KEY 4: Activating multiple stakeholders’ collective intelligence structurally. In living beings, cells act symbiotically to ensure the survival of the host. Let’s synergise systemically with natures processes, and demonstrate how such a holistic stance assists us to recognise that inclusion and co-entrepreneurship on all levels can not only help us survive, but contribute to a thriving society with engaged citizens, enabling public services, private companies of all sizes, media, academics and scientists, students and retired individuals. New collaboration formulas should be tested and scaled. Hybrid entrepreneurship and innovation models should be fostered and championed. We need inclusion, meant as cosmopolitan and global identification as global citizens of the world. We need entrepreneurial citizenship, on all levels. It is not appropriate to organize savings on collaborative intelligence. A legitimized, resourced, comprehensive, and systemic perspective matters. New public-private-citizen partnerships and governance should be fostered so trust can be recovered on all levels. Anxiety is not very good energy as a motivator — especially in this hypercomplex era.
KEY 5: New enduring and future proof business models, including immaterial value leverage. Knowledge-based, virtuous knowledge communities, smart communication, efficient and circular processes are the cheapest and fastest leverage points. Intangible business-intelligence will compensate for the lack of profitability of circular and social models. The capacity to see the invisible value behind tangible assets will be true power in close future. Intelligence and insights — beyond data, driven by purpose — will be the strongest drive to mobilize people and new businesses. This cultural shift is preceded by the constant growing of immaterial value in companies (exceeding 90% — S&P 500). If financial goodwill is over 90%, we should learn to consciously work with that value. It’s high time to educate our managers and students to these regenerative smart models — after gathering worldwide’s best-in-class testimonies and experiences translated into modern education templates and executive courses. In short, business models are inspired from biomimetic models in symbiosis with nature. Going back to classical recipes and predatory models “to retrieve the cash we lost in 2020” is very short-sighted. There are numerous companies like Nokia, Kodak or Arthur Anderson who missed the train, as examples not to be followed. On the government level too, examples of wasted money into mega-plans are easy to remember: how “not to do”. A double focus will be required from companies and public services. To achieve that, organizational refactoring is required giving the ability to companies and public services to combine short term economic recovery (survival mode) AND transformation towards regenerative and inclusive ecosystems (antifragility mode) generating positive impacts (as causing no harm) or at least achieving break-even goals i.e no adverse impact on people and planet (see here to know more about break-even goals and positive pursuit goals). Frameworks and models exist that can be sources of inspiration to help companies to pave the way (For example, a first toolkit about “Entrepreneurial, Ecosystem Enabling Organizations” can be downloaded here). Also, as the economy itself is based on our focus on what true value is, we should broaden our scope and measuring instruments on what we truly value: purpose, valuing progress, knowledge, ecosystems, strong partnerships,… for example with 7D-Value.
- HOLISTICALLY CONNECTING THE DOTS
KEY 6: Adopting a holistic, systemic dimension with transversal approaches. Any societal functionality can be seen, diagnosed and healed as the organ of a living being or as an ecosystem. Every challenge and solution should integrate a systemic mapping of their impact on other issues and areas, the only way to properly grasp their irreducible complexity. This to prevent failure or negative, undesired effects — side effects being an insult to intelligence — or even better, build-in positive systemic leverage, viable super-systemic leverage. Utilising a shared holistic stance, let’s provoke appropriate practice between biologists and economists, philosophers and educators, gardeners and social workers, politics and nurses, psychiatrists and builders,… there are infinite discoveries just in front of our eyes, and multiple added values waiting to be capitalized upon. Not doing so would be sad and a waste of talent and intelligence. What we need to understand as leaders and policymakers above all: people are very willing to contribute positively — if the dynamics are well organized. The knowledge and wisdom are already there. Let’s legitimise and learn to use them.
Making every action and business to KEY 7: tackle multiple challenges simultaneously. So to create multiple solutions and produce an array of mutually reinforcing and converging solutions — thus a mechanical acceleration for sustainable transitions. Like in biological systems, redundancy (functional diversity) is a key for their resilience and this should be clearly taken into account. Systems evolve by testing and following parallel pathways that influence each other in a non-linear fashion. It will create more traction, and mathematically, mechanically create global acceleration of solutions on multiple challenges. A first systemic toolbox can be downloaded here. Another one here. It should be further developed, documented and taught. Classic recipes will lead to similar problems, but in worse versions. We lack the money and time to deal with all the challenges one by one. We would need over 20 times the GDP of any western country to finance its transitions. Shifting from linear business and actions, to multisolutions is actually quite easy — even though not obvious.
KEY 8: Fostering systemic collaboration principles, like crossing underused resources, such as land, buildings, machinery, skills, time, intelligence, networks, etc., with screaming needs on local to global levels (SDG’s). Win-win-win principles should be fostered. Systemic collaboration, when influenced by natures syntropy, where every living being can plug into resources in its environment, in exchange for theirs. Exchanging value on multiple levels in our stakeholders ecosystem is truly the key. It is much more resource-efficient, agile and de-risking. This also requires transparent communication with stakeholders we never would talk to. Functional diversity is power. Cross borders, cross business and societal areas, generations, sciences. A step further can be: combining local resources, cultural characteristics and world-wide knowledge. There are very few global solutions to local problems. They are called cosmo-local or “glocal”. Staying in our area, in our scientific area or function — or deal with every challenge without collaborating with neighbouring stakeholders — will prevent us from capitalizing on major synergies.
- REFINE AND IMPROVE THE BEST
KEY 9: Utilise “place-based wisdoms”. Ancient wisdoms are well connected to the intelligence of local resources and thus create resilience. Their wisdoms have been diluted in the global marketplace. With the emergence of more holistic thinking across humanity there is a meeting of minds of all-era’s and fresh appreciation of the why, what, how and consequences of living in synergy with nature. There is much to learn and adopt from the full spectrum of humanity, also from ancient wisdoms. No single group of people, or discipline, can figure all this out on its own. We need dynamics of radical, human-centred collaboration on concept-based approaches. The strategic and managerial decisions we make are critical for all life. This will include investigating the dominant paradigms — from all angles (scientific, psychologic, historical, cultural,..), surfacing underlying metaphors and assumptions, and then reframe them towards the intended future. Also, a gradual change of language and a reconnection to our human senses through embodiment is necessary to collectively grow and unfold into the new frame. There are thousands of innovative stakeholders ecosystems everywhere. These are inspiring living laboratories for new small-scale social dynamics. They can be benchmarked and shared. Building the new with old paradigms, beliefs and patterns as a basis will cost years of delay and billions of wasted money. Innovation will lead into rebound effects and short-sighted action-as usual will only worsen the intensity of collapse that can be expected. What is even worse as the present paradigm struggles to cope: by not reframing and practicing out of a renewed worldview, we will keep losing people, courage, talent and engagement on the way.
KEY 10: A “Solutions Bank”, a Wiki of global best-in-class in each area, with templates and road books, and a community of pioneers sharing best practices, should be shared in Open Source — enabling continuous real-time improvement. Each solution should be a “multi-solution”. It is a fabulous way to de-risk new ventures: not make mistakes others did, and learn from those who did the pioneering job (with gratitude). It will avoid reinventing the wheel, wasting time and money on existing solutions elsewhere in the world. Beneficial bio-psycho-spiritual-cultural-social systems, and ecological outcomes require robust metrics that lay out engaging leading and lagging indicators of success.
- MOBILIZING MESSAGE
KEY 11: Mobilizing the energy of all stakeholders through positive dialogue and communication: an optimistic, even opportunistic valuing of each diversity of origins, economic, cultural and industrial past, that includes everyone. To be energized, inspired by entertainment, gamification, celebration, and the joy of practising our desired quality of life. If we attempt to include and address a majority, we have to adopt the most advanced edu-info-tainment (education + information + entertainment) and story-telling strategies. Building the next paradigms/principles of society and culture should be made very exciting, entertaining, fun — not complicated, fearful neither boring: experiential, co-creative, tangible — and also, fast and massive… Everyone should be able to relate to change with nearly instantaneous feedback: « I see what I build; I see natures’ processes uplift, I see emerging communities », shifting the perspective of change and sustainability as a far away threat we cannot act upon. What challenges me to grow is as important as the collective outcome. A sense of powerlessness, which is often bundled with anxiety, has to be acknowledged as one of the major obstacles to mobilisation. Poor communication of good ideas is a waste of very precious time, money and effort. People now need a positive, engaging narrative that embraces their natural motivational flow, their will to truly live, entrepreneurship and mobilizing talent.
KEY 12: The general idea of disruption — profound change towards a resilient agility — should be promoted and valued, positive-ized, in an opportunist posture, as opposed to trying to re-launch problematic old recipes. The biggest disruption will be the distribution in the field of mental paradigms, power and solutions. Leaders in place are not used to it, but we have to deploy mass intelligence and energy by offsetting power “at the top”, towards people themselves. Leaders will reconnect to common good and collective thriving easily, and thus pull virtuous projects on and on. Disruptions, brutal changes, shifts will happen anyway — like in the climate field for example — whether we like it or not. So let’s warn people honestly, and get them warm and excited for volitional engagement in the development of the life that they really want. Making them more anxious will lead people to burnout and various illnesses. More than ever, human connection — helping each other in times of crisis — creates the new out of the chaos. The theories to support this positive notion of change are out there, but not taught enough. It will lay ground to a healthy and elevated awareness development. The media can be instrumentalized to bring new regenerative models, examples, and philosophies, instead of constant focus on crisis and bad news, pushing people into more anxiety and collective burnout.
KEY 13: Problems and challenges can be considered as opportunities to come up with new smart solutions and new business/societal intelligence. There are many of these, so there are lots of new opportunities too. Youth can and should play a key role in those solutions. After every shock in history follows renewal. In this era too, profound renewal is emerging as we speak. Behind every landmine hides a treasure.
KEY 14: Involving, encouraging, enabling, enhancing the inclusive participation of people of any generation, background and culture bearing in mind that most will have to shift jobs and upskill. Their psychological, emotional and relational stability and health will be an enabling key for societal thriving. The opposite will simply provoke an implosion of social structures like mega-dominos. Empowering intangible capital is key. Worldview and paradigm knowledge, communities of practice and engagement, rich relationships, purpose and quests, talent, autonomy, trust, commitment, values are considered as basic principles. « Regenerative human development » first. We will do nothing valuable with fearful people who perceive themselves as powerless. Consciousness and connection to each other, to oneself, to the planet, to common purpose are the keys to a thriving society. Not fear and anxiety, anger, distrust, dependence. These are « survival » modes. We need to switch on « life-engaging » modes. To design and/or favour places and ecosystems or environments where people of any generation, background and culture can express their full potential in other words safe, trustful and co-managed places. These places already exist here and there. It is now time to multiply them with a methodology.
KEY 15: Allowing legal exceptions to accelerate the prototyping of new solutions, as well as administrative simplifications. Ideally, starting test pilots in limited areas like “islands of resilience”, making new approaches more desirable and profitable than old ones. They can easily be anchored around City-hubs, incubators or experimental places where people, resources and sciences meet. It can work strategically if a shift towards a legislative supranational system would let legal exceptions be a case of flexible adaptation to a specific context and not a fragmentation drift of law. Legal exceptions will be tested and measured against their potential ROI (return-on-investment) impact upon the basic processes that underpin all thriving.
KEY 16: Teach and implement efficient, human-centred, living-systems-inspired methodologies and competencies for learning, designing, and operating projects. Differentiate between meta frameworks that stimulate a holistic awareness : Holistic Resource Management Revision 3 (2016), Integral Theory and Practise (2018), Full Spectrum Emergence (2018), and activation practices that best serve a given habitat and local paradigm. Integrate the systemic dimension in the design and social technology (Holistic decision making, Systemic Economy models, collective intelligence, action-driven learning, reverse classrooms, massive peer-to-peer learning, agile and lean management, design thinking / human-centered design, C-K theory, soft systems methodology (Peter Ckeckland), Appreciative Inquiry (David Cooperrider, Art of Hosting, Warm Data Labs, etc.) help to turn strategies into actionables with concrete ideas for information carriers, products, services, as levers for change with an ethically elevated level of ownership of everyone involved. It will basically boil down to the same basic building blocks: mapping challenges, putting in place resources and stakeholders ecosystems, detecting leverage points, planning and executing measurable multi-added value actions, setting up multi-stakeholders governance systems, fast delivery of solutions driven by self-organized and interdependent collectives. More specific road maps on demand. Going on teaching old school business, politics and economics is strange — because it only leads to old recipes, rebound effects, aggravated balances and unsatisfying results. It is time now to respect the intelligence of our youth.
KEY 17: Progressively prototype and scale up new solutions with early adopters, courageous leaders, entrepreneurs of all ages, in existing City-hubs. Holistically test all decisions that stimulate innate awareness of the functional, beautiful, good and true. Much of what will emerge will be beyond current comprehension. Where we have existing assets we can imagine those City-hubs becoming local marketplaces for business model innovation — efficiently connected with the “SolutionBank” of Key 10. Interconnected, learning from each other internationally. These spaces (geographical, legal, clusters) will soon become very inspiring and desirable — and grow organically. This could even be a prototyping ground for a reform of the whole administrative apparatus. Starting on a small scale, learning from best-practice, scaling up to the global level. Again, this needs multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary competencies to facilitate and open up human connection & collaboration spaces. Shift will not happen overnight, but step-by-step and progressively. But if every City-hub doubles every 6 months with the best scaling and investment strategy, major positive shifts can happen, and historical challenges met, in less than a decade. Yet, bottom-up, with high protection by the “Top”. This means one of the key ingredients of the recipe is to engage, motivate and activate people in cities and territories to create new alliances and regenerative projects. One by one, but accelerating exponentially. People all wait for this “something” offering a future for their loved ones.
KEY 18: Towards a new vision on migration and “super-citizenship”: We are entering an era where — more than ever — we will have massive migrations. To tackle ageing demography, talent and employment. For climate reasons or political reasons too, but above all, for entrepreneurial reasons. The fertile countries, visionary for new business, will attract investment money and talented entrepreneurs. Therefore, new ‘global’ citizen status should be organized so moving to those attractive and visionary countries can be facilitated. Every country brings its hard earned wisdom to the table. Each has a unique niche through which to serve the whole. Young talent moves around already easily with Erasmus programs. Investors also move naturally to innovation hubs. Your territory could become the next Eldorado for the next economy and smart business models if parameters aligned well. Legal exceptions and free trade zones can be an inspiration — so “super-citizenship” can be the strategic shape of a sort of stargate to fast, pragmatic and efficient new visionary development. Lets attract them in your country, instead of seeing the best of young talent and investment money migrate to other continents on cheap flights…
What does Europe need for itself under Ms.Ursula von der Leyen to develop and introduce a disruptive plan for human thriving, creativity and co-entrepreneurship that leads its citizens to the necessary resilient societal metamorphosis-mutation? Europe could indeed be the first continent to act and thus avoid environmental and socio-political collapses which, associated with aging populations, would generate massive youth exodus and migration moves. This, together with the risk of Europe being definitely an easy prey for other strong geostrategic interests, but also for the growing risk of the return of simplistic, reductionist and dictatorial ideologies that sufficiently demonstrated their horror in the previous century.
Europe could do this by interconnecting four features: demographic cosmopolitanism, legislative unification, systemic sustainable development, and radical reconfiguration with convergent technologies and philosophies. These four features characterize the EU as a complex system, and makes the EU a unique kind of trendsetting global player in the 21st century geopolitical scenarios. We welcome you, to be among our visionary leaders in this metamorphosing Europe. We need you.
Are we ready to be the first geolocalize territory to adopt a holistic, systemic, collaborative and regenerative approach to create new resilience towards the next decades ? All the elements exist, yet scattered. It will only take courageous teams to gather them and mobilize collaborative energies and experiments. It looks complex, but in fact, it becomes super simple if the intentions align on a strong common vision for progress. Everyone will follow…
Brussels, March 2021
In case we raised your pulse and awakened your intuition with any of the above — our collective has methods to leverage highly territorial development plans, and worldwide network of experts who can give a hand in deploying those. All these proposals are from scientific researchers, strategic minds, field experts and experienced entrepreneurs — and are available for concrete practical and methodological deployment.
Prof. Michel de Kemmeter, Club of Brussels, Belgium
Prof. Andrea Pitasi, World Complexity Academy, Bologna, Italy
Jacques de Gerlache, Club of Rome, Brussels, Belgium
Patrick Corsi, Club of Rome, Paris, France
Eric Seuillet, fabrique du Futur, founder, Paris, France
Antoine Bos, GBK, Paris, France
Bruno Viansson-Ponté, GBK, Toulouse, France
Bruno Wattenbergh, Solvay Business School, Brussels, Belgium
Christine McDougall, Syntropic World, Queensland, Australia
Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Pierre Cattoire, Spinel Advisory, Lyon, France
Prof. Kristel Van Ael, Namahn, Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium
Gauthier Chapelle, Biomimicry, Brussels, Belgium
Hugo Araujo, 7Vortex, Belgium
Prof. Michel Saloff-Coste, Université Catholique de Lille, Lille, France
Prof. Marc Luyckx, former member of Forward Studies Unit of European Commission; former Dean of Cotrugli Business School Zagreb and Belgrade, Croatia
Prof. Carlos A. González-Carrasco, (HITChile) Hub de Innovación Territorial,Santiago de Chile, Ecuanime, Chile
Alizée Lozac’hmeur, Makesense co-founder, Paris, France
Prof. Kris Vander Velpen, Flanders Business School, Belgium
Prof. Philippe Dambly, HEC Liège, Belgium
Prof. Philippe Drouillon, Ichec, Brussels, Belgium
Prof. Terry Irwin, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
Sophie Charrois, Oikos International, president, Brussels, Belgium
Prof. Carine Dartiguepeyrou, Albert-Kahn, Paris, France
Christopher Cooke, Founder of 5 Deep and 3LM, Stockport, UK
Bertrand Badré, CEO of Blue like an Orange Sustainable Capital, New York, USA
Dr. Philippe Bobola, member of American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, Académie Européenne des Sciences des Arts et des Lettres, Académie des Sciences de Lausanne, Lyon, France
Thomas Lederer, Economics of Mutuality, Geneva, Switzerland
Prof. Frederik Leloup, BMI International EMBA, Brussels-Vilnius
Prof. Dominique Steiler, Titulaire de la chaire “Paix Economique, Mindfulness et Bien-être au Travail”, Grenoble Ecole de Management