At this moment, new trend words are sweeping across the globe as societies explore new futures: “smart cities”, “smart government”, and “smart nation”.

What are we talking about?  What are we looking for? What is the future WE want?

These questions are at the heart of the human pursuit.  We want to become better versions of ourselves. We want to be happy and have a good quality of life.

“Resilience is as much about investing in the human and institutional capabilities to capture emerging opportunities as it is about dealing effectively with risk and adversity,” advises Gary Hamel, researcher at CISCO.

The mindset of resilient human beings is to see challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles.  So we must prepare ourselves to see the opportunities in the challenges that are being created in the BIG SHIFTS that are taking place in the economic, environmental, political and social architecture of large global systems and the impact of that shift on the most vulnerable amongst us.

We, as we are swept into the rapids of change, find the speed and systemic nature of this volatile change unsettling.  People and communities are feeling the profound effects, and governments are unable to keep pace with the needs. These transitions expose the weaknesses in the systems that insure resilience:  of people, of place, of knowledge, and of organization. These four categories are the foundation of a resilient society.

These rapids of change profoundly affect the people and communities that governments serve.  The changes challenge many aspects of culture. These rapids of change put enormous strain on many of the available institutional tools and assets of public administration on which public leaders rely. The public sector will not be able to control these global risks because of limited authority and influence over global, and regional threats.

Now, and in the past, citizens look to governments to ensure their welfare against emerging threats.  It has not mattered whether the public sector has direct control or not; it has been the role of government to protect its citizens.

As these rapids of change increase, citizens begin to question the competence of public services and the efficacy of systems of public governance when these threats go unanticipated and unaddressed.  Trust and legitimacy erode beneath the rapids. The search for a new approach to governing grows. The mantras of “there must be a better way” and “what kind of community are we” grows. Are we taking care of our people?  Is life going to better for our children?

What future do WE want?

The resilient community sees these growing challenges as opportunity.  

  • We want for our community to be safe and secure.
  • We want our people to have the right skills and the desire for life long learning for work and for life.
  • We want people-centered, responsive health care.
  • We want a modern, effective education system that prepares our people for work in a global society.
  • We want more effective and modern ways of public service to be delivered to the people who need them most.
  • We want new levels of well-being and the capability for older people to thrive,
  • We want our government to provide better ways for our people to participate in the decisions that most directly affect them.

Every society on earth is now faced with the greatness of opportunity and a sense of urgency.

Creating “Resiliency of Community” is not a top-down process; it is a bottom-up process dependent upon the distributive process of individuals, organizations and networks of people working together to influence a shift in governance and policy-making in order to have the FUTURE WE WANT.

What is the future WE want?  Is it enough to be “smart”? Or shall we be resilient?

What is the common understanding and vision we have of resiliency?  Of our people? Our Place? Our Organization? Our Knowledge?

What process will we use to facilitate engagement with ALL our people so that each conversation leads to more dialogue and deeper understanding?

How will we engage new actors in our civil society, in our government and in business community on what makes us resilient?

What are the new ideas and opportunities that we have discovered through research to build the future we want?

What will be the tipping point so that we have a since of urgency to implement what we learn?

Powerful structures are built on common vision and actualized through meaningful events.

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