This morning I was blessed to see this infographic on Twitter from the ever-inspiring Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer of the National Health Service in the UK.
At a time of nervousness and apprehension around the current COVID-19 outbreak, examples like this of a silver lining shine brightly for me.
Let’s review some of the stats:
- 290 people joined from all over the UK joined virtually
- 290 people saved 4.5 hours of travel each on average
- 6,525kg of carbon saved
- £12,000 saved on London venues
- £52,000 saved on train travel
Now we do not know what the user experience was like, the effectiveness of the virtual conference, how well it was facilitated, etc at this stage, yet these metrics are eye-watering to behold and should provide ample space for personal, work and societal reflection.
I am mindful of those that are suffering due to the current outbreak, but also must keep a pragmatic view when compared to other diseases and natural causes.
Economic & environmental rebalancing
Now as someone that is employed by a multi-national organisation I am fully aware that these savings equal loss of income for others. The pain of economic rebalancing is real, and it will require new social structures to support everybody over time, but in terms of this real-life example and the current COVID challenges, what if this is nature, right now, pulling on a global handbrake of ‘this is enough?’
With mental health stats going through the roof, people are feeling increasingly disconnected, the gap between rich and poor is ever-widening and more, it feels to me like mother nature is giving us an opportunity right now to slow down, to re-appraise our approach to our unique chance to be on this planet and to reflect on what really matters, both personally and collectively.
This is not a fun time.
I am not naïve.
I am however hopeful.
To think that as a result of the current pandemic, we ‘could’ start meaningfully turning around climate change, we could spend more time with our families and communities as we travel less, there is more money left over to pay people better and contribute to societal projects more meaningfully, etc These ideas in combination whilst still ‘doing business as usual’ only 8 weeks ago seemed like a pipe-dream, yet today, they all seem highly viable, and collectively.
Indeed, I have shared the above infographic with my work organisation today and asked if I can be trained as a super-user on our Microsoft Teams technology to aid my work organisation and peers/organisations outside of that, to facilitate more effective virtual conferences and help ensure human connectivity remains high, especially during periods of challenge.
I never thought that being an Interpersonal Catalyst virtually could be as interesting as it is in-person, but this infographic inspires me that everything is possible.
I will ALWAYS prize in-person connection over virtual, but to have a robust alternative in place that allows us to continue to unleash connected, human potential at times of crisis; I am all-in for this.
The time to embrace without fear an alignment of tech and human is here, in one of the biggest experiments ever run.
Oddly, in a small way, I am grateful to mother nature for pulling on the handbrake, I sense that we will see a better world as a result of it.