As lockdown began to bite in earlier Spring- both two months and a lifetime ago- a number of new initiatives bubbled into life, as intuitive responses to the handbrake turn of Covid.
GoodAfterCovid is one such, only 2 months old but has already established itself as a touchstone for key voices in business, social sciences and the arts, a laboratory to work out just what the best approach to the Covid Crisis might be, and, in Kurt Vonnegut’s words, how we get through this thing together.
The brainchild of Kim Polman of Reboot the Future, Carlo Giardinetti of Franklin University & Sara Roversi of the Future Food Institute, GoodAfterCovid takes the form of a rapid-fire laboratory of ideas, kicked off by a weathermaker statement from a lead practitioner, followed by an hour of machine-gun responses from carefully curated subject experts- then culminating in a open source discussion which admits multiple voices from across the spectrum.
This format- a “disruption”, followed by curated counterpoints, and then a wide agora of discussion- has led to genuinely left-field and eclectic responses, each time on a different theme, but always at its heart the question- what do we want the world to look like after this? And how do we get there?
Discussions are brash, ambitious, progressive, optimistic. Each event is themed, notably asking questions as varied as: How do we retain the climate gains of the last few weeks? led by Jonathon Porritt. A subsequent discussion was convened entirely by millennials; and most recently, a collision of 40 scientists and mystics exploring the shared space between spirituality and scientific method (through the lens of artificial intelligence).
Only two months old, GoodAfterCovid has already established itself as a bubbling ferment of ideas as to how we are going to reshape our world, a kind of Zoom Salon, a theatre of conversation. Ultimately, the emerging ambition is that these discussions will act as markers for the return to the public sphere with blended discussions pinging back and forth between the virtual world and the real one, navigating us from the covid crisis to the climate (think a kind of post-covid Tedx).
The next GoodAfterCovid will take place this June with leading education practitioners asking how we can use this moment to redefine our education system in a way that incorporates both issue both of the global ecology and internal personal values.