By Dr Mark Thorpe
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
Understanding and navigating change is, or at least should be, central to businesses working in the research and consultative industries. From social and commercial research, through to public relations and management consultancy, change now matters like never before. But what makes our current times so special?
History is replete with the belief that every age (each ‘now’) was a period in which change was more profound than in any previous time. Whether our focus is the Industrial Revolution, the Renaissance, Modernism or Modernity, change is central to the way those in the developed world think and talk about the world in which they live. So, isn’t our ‘now’ just another expression of a well-worn narrative?
Yes and no. Change has many guises; it is, and can be, many different things. For much of modern history in the West, change was often presented as ‘progressive’ in the sense that something was being built – democracy, capitalism, social infrastructure, health for all etc. The change we are dealing with now often has none of these co-called progressive qualities. In many ways, ‘our change’ is the antithesis of many of those other historical change stories.
We are finding our way through the remnants of a brutal global pandemic. The ‘impossible’ war in Europe has happened. Public services are being compromised to an extent unrivalled since their inception. The constant supply of fuel can no longer be guaranteed with any sense of certainty. Climates are changing. Inflation has risen its head again after a long period of relative stability. Many millions of parents are struggling to feed their families. Food Banks are increasing exponentially. Political incompetence and self-interest has deepened. Lies have become normalised and realities undermined by both ‘faking technologies’ and cavalier political rhetoric.
Recent commentary in the UK has suggested that The Social Contract, by which the state would provide due care to all citizens, has been fundamentally broken. The extent to which such a ‘contract’ every really existed is debateable, but its’ raising as an issue does point to a fundamental sense of failure. What we are living through, simply, is the unhinging of the norms, conventions and expectations that have shaped our western world for the last 50 years.
This sense of disruption is very real. It is not just a concept. Real people are having to live through the consequences of a world turned upside down in so many ways. Business and brands ignore these new realities at their peril.
This is the background to Truth launching its ‘Navigating Change’ series. Our aim is to unwrap and explore the changes that are taking place, and to assess the implications these changes are likely to have. There are four core areas that we will focus on:
· Climate & Environment
At Truth, we are fortunate to be part of people’s lives each, and every, day. We want to bring these real experiences to the fore and question how these new realities will shift the way brands and businesses need to behave. What are the changes taking place? How do we understand them? How do we best navigate this change?
Along the way, we may also challenge a few prevailing myths and question orthodoxies. We will do this because truth matters. Always.
Why not contact us to find out how we can help your business navigate change.