Turning Uncertainty into Opportunity

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Founder & CEO of Campaign Lab and the Publishing Partner of “Our World:Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence.

Welcome to Our new World. Embrace it.

If our Instagram and Twitter bios are a measure of how we self-identify, I’m probably an eternal optimist, a disruption enthusiast, and an entrepreneur.

Being an eternal optimist, I can’t help but see the best in people and strive to make the best out of situations. I see crisis as a blessing rather than a curse, and where most people see uncertainty, I see opportunity.

If you can properly phrase a question, one said once, then finding the answer is the easy part.

And the question that kept spinning around my head since day one of a situation where we can’t decide whether we’ve been working from home or living at work (I suppose the answer here is “we’re probably omni-channel”), was rather straightforward: “How do you want to be remembered in a year from now?”

Do you want to be someone who lived in fear or someone who lived exponentially? The answer was easy but followed by more questions.

“How can you be of service to your clients? How can you help your community get through adversity? Can you volunteer or donate? Essentially, what can you do to play your part?”

I feel that now is the time for Governments around the globe to ask some similar questions, starting with “How do we want to be remembered in a decade from now?”.

At the time of writing, entrepreneurs around the globe are working around the clock to build, restore, relaunch or keep their businesses alive.

And yet, most governments are still debating how to break the bureaucratic structures that simply drag those same entrepreneurs, who are struggling to meet payroll and ensure some sort of stability for the next quarters, behind.

I’m not just talking about the Fortune 500 businesses. I’m also and primarily talking about the small shop owners from Brussels to Rome, the farmers from Kenya to rural India, the hospitality entrepreneurs from Dublin to Athens who form the texture of our communities, and the start-uppers from Seattle to Berlin and from Helsinki to Tel Aviv, many of which are in it because of that burning idea they couldn’t get off their heads.

Yes, I’m talking about the very people who are moving our world forward. As they’re fighting to keep their businesses running in the face of unprecedented disruption, ready to embrace risks in order to experience all that entrepreneurship has to offer, they need Governments to reflect further.

“How can we be of service to our entrepreneurs? How can we help them get through adversity? Can we lower or postpone taxes and social contributions? Can we guarantee loans? Essentially, what can we do to play our part?” It’s about time.

Finally, as a student of disruption, I feel compelled to close this edition by writing the following. For a long time now I’ve been feeling that the way business is conducted in Brussels has to change.

I sense a feeling in town that where there’s a market, there will be buyers; and where there are buyers there will be business. This is simply wrong.

It is well known that an overly bureaucratic system governs the EU, but what people may not necessarily be aware of is that the way politics, advocacy and public relations are conducted in Brussels, is almost as boring.

It favours lacklustre tick-a-box compliance and reporting, where instead there could be meaningful engagement, grassroots movements and honest relationships. It favours top down behaviour in an increasingly flat world. And it operates in hierarchies in a world of networks.

It is my hope that this crisis will serve as an opportunity to modernise the way business is conducted at the European Union’s business and political Capital.

This is the time for consultants to be more agile and for politicians to be more result oriented. And if they won’t, well… when new entrants come to disrupt the status quo, not all incumbents are going to survive.

Welcome to Our new World. Embrace it.