Lam naraka mundhu muddah (long time without seeing you, ل م نرك منذ مدة)
History is a sort of inertia that makes changes slow and difficult… until a revolution comes, chops off some heads and redesigns the whole country. Or at least tries to, as often times there are few real changes or none at all.
As we are just reflecting and not planning any vigorous change action, revolutions are naturally discarded. We are not the country rulers, and therefore the approval of new laws in order to make our general system more efficient is out of our reach. So the only practical way might be starting to be more demanding with our politicians, local authorities, public administrations, economic leaders and, generally speaking, those who really have power enough. Power for what? Power to start changes.
The changes I think about here are simply to make our lives better. Although Spain is not the most bureaucratic country in Europe, we do suffer something worse: the “Reinos de Taifas syndrome ” (XI-XII century), where every little “king” competed against the neighboring ones to see who has more power, better buildings, more wealth and a more special culture. Such division made it easy for the Christian armies to reconquer the cities.
The first defeat of these taifa small kingdoms (emirates, to be precise) was economic. They had to pay annual tributes called parias to the Christian kings. In other words: they were not focused in making their people´s life better, buts just their emir´s and ruling class.
Globalization is a wave that moves everywhere and makes information easy to access as it has never been. Now we know in real time what´s up in our city, region, country, company or whatever we might be interested in. Markets are now interconnected; products and services are available no matter where physically supplier and customers are. And the best practices and most useful knowledge are there somewhere in the Internet: just search and there you are.
So we have an important resource fully available: the information. There is another resource sadly scarce these days, the money. Qatar and other emerging countries are not short of it and can therefore buy the best brains. What about the countries that have the knowledge but lack of cash to finance the necessary changes? Well, the answer is related to the criteria to decide priorities. There is limited money so the tough action is to decide what goes first. What is absolutely necessary and what isn´t.
Now the political considerations come to the stage. Right-winged parties have their ideas, and they are not really close to those of the left-winged ones. If there is not a sense of duty to the whole of the country there are little chances of establishing long term agreements and actions on basic areas. The History based old inertias become a problem when substantial changes are needed.
I am now enrolled in a fascinating MOOC titled “Design Thinking Action Lab” directed by Leticia Britos from the Stanford University. In one of the assignments it explains a way to ideate solutions that I suggest you to at least have a look at. These solution-thinking inspiration is grouped for more effective thinking in the following concepts:
- What are the most obvious solutions for this problem? (even things that you know already exist)
- What can you add, remove or modify from those initial solutions?
- How would a 5-year-old child solve the problem?
- How would you solve the problem if you had an unlimited budget?
- How would you solve the problem without spending any money?
- How would you solve this problem if you had control over the laws of nature (think invisibility, teleportation, etc.)?
So it´s just a question of freedom of mind aided by for instance this thinking tool. How imaginative can we become when it´s time to rethink our present situation? The comparison with Qatar is just a way to help showing that it is possible to change and improve what´s wrong or outdated in our country.
Name it the education system, the economic model, the qualifications and role of those in command of private companies and public administrations, and the general way of getting organized to make the citizen´s life better. The idea is to start doing something… now!
I started years ago my journey of changes, re-thinking, re-qualifying and sharing knowledge. What about you?
Images: personally taken by Alberto Losada in Doha