The relief that followed the dismantling of social restrictions in the wake of the health pandemic was abruptly dashed on 24 February 2022 by a massive Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. The unfolding events left us all dumbfounded and dispirited. And then we're not even talking about the IPCC's latest report, the third installment of which was published just a few days ago. It seems all bets are off for the future of humanity. And yet. Is there any other option than to go for hope, in humility? Because, as Edie Eger writes in her celebrated book The Gift, "hope isn’t the white paint we use to mask our suffering. It’s an investment in curiosity. Hope is the boldest act of imagination I know."
Here is a sprinkle of updates on our work at shiftN. We're moving beyond clarity in complexity. Manifesting potential is the name of the game we increasingly are finding ourselves in.
One angle we are taking is the exploration of alternatives to the current economic model. Because if there is one root cause behind all the upheaval that we are experiencing it is the ruthlessly extractive logic underpinning our relationship with our planetary habitat. During the month of January, we invited four scientific researchers and activists - Timothée Parrique, Jennifer Hinton, Thomas Schantz and Arpita Bisht - to our Alive in the Anthropoce platform. Each of them offered compelling perspectives on wellbeing-oriented economics. Christophe posted a 2-part summary of the insights in our shiftN Papers on Medium.
Another piece that flowed from Christophe's pen talks about aligning head, hand and heart in work as life. Baking bread is also part of that. The posts was picked up by a national newspaper and morphed into a 2-page interview with the author.
No, we are not only sitting behind our desk to journal. There's also work to be done. Randy continues to build a coalition for an oncology research system that is more assertively oriented towards patient value. Marta is pulling out all the stops to arrange transports with Ukrainian refugees from her native Warsaw. Christophe provided imaginative foresight content to a very big bank that wants to retool its organisation (on invitiation by our Spanish friends at Mindset in Madrid). Susanne joined shiftN late last year and has been totally devoted to a comprehensive assessment of integrated care in our country (in collaboration with a great team at an academic partner, The Institute of Health and Society at UCLouvain). And Liesbeth? She's doing serious groundwork. Leave her alone for a bit. Philippe is working on soil stewardship and sustainable agrifood futures. And doubles down on his PhD research at Newrope, ETH Zürich. Witold is also new to the team. He's an artist. And understands better than most what it means to manifest potential in a world characterised by irreducible uncertainty. And then there is Santiago. He's kind of an artist too. We have been working together for a long time on all kinds of assignments that involve data analysis and visualisation. Since Santiago moved back to Europe from the Bay Area, it has become much easier to collaborate. And so we're doing that with gusto! A snapshot portrait of this playful data scientist is here. Soon we will be able to show more of his remarkable work. To conclude, some news on the shiftN Academy. We're basically rebuilding it from the ground up. It's quite a bit of work and we're not quite ready yet to remove the scaffolding. But we're excited to present you a first peek into our Academy 2.0: a series of four sessions devoted to Raghav Rajagopalan's book Immersive Systemic Knowing, in the presence of the author and co-animated by our friends from Expressive Arts studio Yohaku. More information is here. There's only four weeks to sign up and 16 seats available, so please don't procrastinate and take the plunge. Believe us: immersive systemic knowing will be the critical skill for the 21st century