The Noise of Possibility

As Aotearoa enters Alert Level 1 and life returns to something like normal it is the perfect time to reflect on the impact of the global pandemic on our lives, our work and our communities. As someone who works in the innovation space where we are constantly exploring new ideas, concepts and opportunities that have the potential to make a difference in the lives of whānau and rangatahi these are exciting times.

Like many others I used the disruption of lock down to think about possibilities and potential.  My observation over these last months is that there is a lot of thinking and kōrero about ‘what our new post COVID normal could be’. The world as we knew it seems like a distant memory and the world of ‘what could be’ is not only more visible, but all of a sudden seems distinctly possible. 

Interestingly, with that buzz comes what I call ‘the noise of possibility’. You may have noticed this noise increasing in your workplace lately? 

The reality is that potential and possibility can be either disabling or enabling. At its best this new environment can be an incubator for new ideas and a creative space for positive change, new partnerships, the development of new initiatives and legacies. 

At its worst the sheer amount of information, data, thoughts and concepts can be paralyzing. As change agents and future makers we can easily become overwhelmed and struggle to navigate this additional complexity and find a useful way through. Ironically it can result in a move backwards rather than forwards with great ideas not seeing the light of day amidst the noise.

The trick is learning to filter the noise so that you can find the gems in amongst it – those that have relevance and meaning in creating solutions to existing problems. We also need to remember the vital role that key people play in driving the strategy and leading the operational actions that are needed to take any new concept to reality. That way the gems we choose to invest in are going to be ‘wrapped’ in the enabling conditions and supported by dedicated advocates, rather than having to start completely from scratch. 

In the words of Edward de Bono “Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” Events like the Canterbury earthquakes and the 2020 pandemic afford us this creative opportunity – we just need to learn to discern the creative signal in all the noise of possibility. 

As a country we now find ourselves in this unique place where it really feels like anything could be possible. We need to be creative, courageous and not be afraid to make bold moves because our rangatahi are going to need all the inspiration and possibility we can create – and without the noise.

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