“So you ask me where are we now and where are we going?”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy …
2008, I took a sabbathical and became the eager audience to the Presidential elections- Clinton v McCain v Obama. The media were all over it, but after a time, it became clear that all the pundits and panels were becoming nothing more than echo chambers. There was nothing new to say, no fresh insights on offer about what the election was revealing. Until the Wall Street crash and then, my pet poodle could have won. In crises, people have little patience with the incumbent.
That was when I started to write the book, The Presidential Plot as a challenge to myself, “If you think you are so smart, then try and do one better.” And do better using your own expertize which is a narrative perspective on the whole thing.
I am feeling the same way right now about the CoronaVirus. It does not help that it arises in the middle of an intense political campaign and that it becomes the political hammer to bludgeon whatever side you hate. But at the same time, experts and commentators seem to be daily contradicting or being contradicted by authorities who seem to have other agendas besides protecting the health of the citizenry. People are also now worried about being at the start of a recession and what to do to protect Wall Street and people’s investments, people’s jobs, the airlines and tourism, and by the way, what happened to the election campaign? Who is Joe Biden again?
Unlike the 2008 election that became so predictable, this situation with the virus has been like an out of control car veering left and right and closer and closer to the edge of the cliff of incoherence.
In that light, we believe even if its for our own sanity, to apply the principles of Narrative Design to this situation with the goal of being able to shed new light on what is happening and open up a different conversation than blame or fear. In terms of dealing with any crisis, blame and fear are often our default postion, but history shows that they rarely solve any human problem. In fact, they soon become the problem.
So, the first question we as in the Narrative Design approach is “Where are we? and not who or why or how come. Let’s begin our conversation there.