Start mapping everything you do in your work, at home, in your community—it will all be different moving forward. That’s a scary and difficult idea to grapple with. It’s also an incredible opportunity to make things better. 

It’s hard to feel optimistic about the future when so many friends, neighbours and colleagues are facing challenges that they didn’t see coming, challenges that are completely out of their control. We hear snippets in press briefings that allude to our lives being different “for the foreseeable future,” but that is hard to comprehend. We aren’t complex capable in our thinking, and I think we all wish everything could go back to normal, to something that feels easier.

Some of what we’re seeing and hearing: 

  • We are all disrupted
  • This emergency isn’t over in a couple of weeks (like we all hoped!)
  • The change COVID-19 has created will last for years
  • We’re much more aware of the risks around us

So where’s the optimism? Where’s the hope? Let’s try this:

  • We are all disrupted—and for many people the systems that are currently broken weren’t working before. Let’s take this opportunity to leave behind systems that were failing people.
  • This emergency isn’t over in a couple of weeks—so we have a little bit of time (that we never normally have) to start designing a different path forward.
  • The change COVID-19 has created will last for years—and if we do this right, we can create positive changes for lots of people that will endure.
  • We’re much more aware of the risks around us—which always existed. We can create a more inclusive and safer society for everyone as a result of our new awareness.

This could be a transformative moment for everyone.

What happens if we get this right?

We have started to work on a human-centred design standard for safety. The standard should capture the best of this moment, and the hard parts too. It should create a guide that can be applied in a variety of ways—from how we think about services, to the design of physical spaces, to how human systems work and what might change about communication. We’re hoping this standard can become a resource for all of our clients, and we’ll be sharing bits and pieces publicly so we can all benefit.

Let us know how you have been impacted, and add to our research.

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