Our world is shocked by the COVID-19 virus. Un-order occurred, chaos if you want to say so. The world is in crisis, as if it was in war. We are in a situation far-from-equilibrium and more than ever we depend on each other for our health and safety. Habits we are brought up with and used to all of our lives, like shaking hands, have been unlearned in just a few days. We get simple rules to follow: wash your hands, stay at home, stay away 1,5 meter from someone else. Social distancing and lockdowns. Everyone realises that he or she is part of something bigger, where the whole is very different from its parts.
At the same time we see that in the interaction between people in a context like this new patterns arise (novelties), that are unexpected, that we could not have predicted and are unplanned. Thousands of in-active nurses pick up their old job to support their colleagues in the Intensive Care. People in communities help elderly with their food or shopping. There is a lot of improvisation going on: hotels become hospitals, an ice palace becomes a morgue. In Holland thousands of people clapped their heads at the same time to give the people in health care institutes a boost. Music is made by people from their homes and still together like the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
Many videoclips go viral to keep up the spirit. In our streets people massively put teddy bears in front of windows for the kids to see that are walking in the neighbourhood to get some fresh air.
What is happening to us? I would call it ’emergence’. In the last few years it has become my research topic: The emergence paradigm in quality management. If you transfer the theory about emergence in quality management from a complex environment of an organisation to the situation of the world in times of COVID-19 interesting parallels can be drawn.
I hereby present my latest power point on the topic. With video, since I cannot present it at the moment in a conference or workshop, like I would normally do. We have to find new ways in this context that is out of order. And yes, we can!