This topic was descrived in the Smart City Sofa Summit 2020 event by the speaker Jorge Saraiva, Innovate.city
As we return to normal we may take the risk of enter in a dark age because of the priority of economic recouvery at all cost OR we have the golden opportunity to do it right and thrive in a new normal. How to do that is what I call FBE: Future Building Ecosystem!
The Bank of America has announced that there will be a new world order after the pandemic. The world economic forum has alert for the fact that if we get our policy responses to COVID-19 wrong, we risk exacerbating the climate crisis. But it also provides us with a massive opportunity to build back better.
The fact is that a pandemic is a three-phase stress test: a stress test to our health system that progress to a stress test to our economic system. That is the transition we are experiencing now. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. The worse danger is letting everything behind and focus exclusively on an economic recovering at all cost. It can cost the planet, our society and the progress of humankind. That is the third stress test to our value system!
As all stress tests are consequential, it is crucial to understand the typical pandemic cycle and its distinct actions required but, above all, it is essential to have in mind the final consequence is that things will not return to as they were. A 'new normal' will take place after the vaccine!
Usually, it lies in the hands of the world leaders to take the world by the hand into the new paradigm. But we can see now that will not happen. The pandemic occurred at the dawn of a transition of the economic leadership from the USA to China. These countries are battling against each other, so it is easier to find them accusing each other than joining forces. By the other hand, technology has connected the world at very high speed. When the virus started to spread across the globe, people did not look to leaders but decided to use their skills to contribute to the solutions they wish to see implemented. Hundreds of research platforms were created in contrast with the obsolete procurement models installed in the public sector. Ventilators were designed and patented on behalf of Mankind; volunteer coders developed tracing apps, communities build masks for all, and empty Airbnb were converted into incubators for homeless entrepreneurs.
It could be this is not what Bank of America meant when announced the new world order but, if there was a leader during the battle against the COVID-19, people self-organized into collaborative platforms would stand out as the next model. Most of these platforms indeed failed on details like unexisting models for co-creation, no recognition from national health systems and most governments but those are lessons that soon will be improvement focus areas to drive the new world order based on a system that is not top-down nor bottom-up but rather side-by-side.
Amazingly, leading this new order, we find Europe! EU listen to the voices grouped in the Hack for Europe movement and organized the EU vs Virus Hackathon. It was the world's largest hackathon by far! Its outcome is historic: 2.235 partnerships around 120 projects as a result of a massive movement of co-creation with over than 20.900 participants!
This is a golden moment for Europe. We found and have all the right conditions to lead via an innovative and new paradigm: co-creation!
Centrally, the injection of 1,85 trillion from EU will provide the essential oxygen to make things right in the 'new normal' leading by the European values.
To thrive, we must evolve in record time. We must act like the tech industry: start doing and correct it on the fly.
Looking at the ways, we deal with a pandemic; we can find that most cities and countries are prepared for such an emergency. All the necessary infrastructure (law enforcement, health system, firefighters, media, etc.) is created, aligned and ready to react to such event. But the same way governments created the reaction force to survive a pandemic they need to develop a future building force to thrive! The consequences can be tremendous if failing on this new type of team, but, the benefits are incredible when created.
The future sustainable development of every region will depend on its capacity of building a Future Building Ecosystem (FBE)! To thrive, the FBE must learn from the past platform experiences and create the necessary tools and methods.
As an initiative from the EU via the EIP-SCC, the European Network of City Policy Labs is building those tools and methods making it available to all the FBEs!
As Jorge Saraiva, leader of the European Network of City Policy Labs (innovate.city) said "We take it as our mission to avoid entering in an era of exclusive focus on economic growth at all cost by proposing the alternative of sustainable development of an innovative ecosystem. Not only can generate more wealth but will also sustain a better world for all of us live in."
Author: Jorge Saraiva
With 20 years of IT experience (with a particular focus on eGov systems) for world-leading management software companies, Jorge is acting in Smart Cities arena since 2012 and is a recognised expert on the impact of Digital Transformation in society, local economies and politics.
Founder of EngageCitizen (a citizen engagement platform). Project leader for Smart.London (that inspired a documentary: