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#BeyondCOVID Town Hall - AUS 04

Updated: Jul 24

Full Series information and registration for future episodes


#BeyondCOVID is the new mindset we have all had to adopt… how do we operate in this new changed state? I've gathered together some amazing Design Executives to share what they are doing now and in the coming months to survive and thrive in these difficult times.




Contributors:

Celso Borges - Head of Experience Design at Tigerspike

Nancy Bugeja - Managing Director at HM Group

Hassan el Rayes - State Sales Manager at Schiavello Systems

Theodore Kerlidis - Director of K20 Architecture

Julie Ockerby - CEO, Creative Director and Principal at Meli Studio Australia


Quotes:

COVID is not a desirable position to be in, but it has forced us to change our way and I'm really proud of the way we've dealt with that - Theodore Kerlidis
A community that has great depth and great value looks after all the population, not just the people who are thriving - Mark Bergin
Our resilience is built on standing on the values and the culture that we've established, and it's really a good test to see if they hold up - Celso Borges
There's nothing more controversial and more challenging than COVID in recent times, so you know, bringing up controversial topics that normally we could probably sidestep around, we just talk about it now - Julie Ockerby
The central office in most businesses is going to become a hub of wellness as opposed to somewhere where you go and actually do productive work - Hassan el Rayes
Managers who are still sitting in the mindset that you have to come to the office to work are going to really suffer... we're going to have to bring them along for the ride otherwise they'll be left behind - Hassan el Rayes
For some people, change means getting to the future benefit faster; for other people, change means current benefit loss... it's about the imagination of the future and that is something we don't explain to people - Mark Bergin

Transcript:


Mark Bergin 00:01

Hello, and welcome to the fourth Australian Design Executive Club Town Hall. When I began this series, obviously, four times before this one, so going back three months, I began it so that we could go talk about Beyond COVID. What was really interesting was how people were reacting to the COVID circumstance? How were they then actually rebounding and then what were they reimagining has been the scope of the conversation. In the last month, we've seen Black Lives Matter raise its head, and we expect to see many more of those sorts of challenges come up. COVID has actually got us to go reimagine what the future is going to be like. Normal was broken before we got to COVID, and some of those issues need to be dealt with. So we definitely know that from an equity and social justice standpoint with Black Lives Matter, there's some corrections that need to be made there. From an environmental perspective, there's elements that need to be addressed. But we also have to think about the efficiency and how we're creating leverage for organisations so that their investment in design is actually something that carries them further. If we don't focus on that we're actually creating new cost without new benefit, so we need to make sure we get both of those levers right there. Joining me is a panel of experts. For those of you that are meeting me for the first time, I'm Mark Bergin, the founder of DRIVENxDESIGN, we run a series of Design Awards around the world, and some people say the largest network of Design Awards in the world, which I feel very grateful for. But the important thing is that we work out how to create recognition for past projects. The people who are on the call here have all been involved with the awards in different ways over the years, but what they bring is an understanding of how does design work from the organisational leverage and then have it also work in their practice? So I'm going to jump in here and I'm going to ask Theo, I'm going to go directly across to you and ask you because K20 has a speciality - the 2 0 was actually meant to be 'to zero' emissions and you've been that way for 15 to 20 years. We're seeing dramatic changes taking place from an environment perspective, but you've also got some projects that are underway and in build stages, how has COVID interrupted that cycle, that cadence, and then also how has it changed the priority of the people who are supporting those projects and sponsoring them?

Theodore Kerlidis 02:29

COVID has been really challenging on a lot of different fronts. It's been really fast paced Mark. It's been a very demanding period. What it hasn't been is disastrous for us. But it does require quite a lot of adaptability to change and I guess an openness to change. The way that translates out on to projects is the flexibility within our staff. So there's a number of things that I'm doing at the moment. One is the architectural practice, the other actually is the construction of one of our major projects at the moment, building that project and also the manufacture of that project as well, with the patent that sits behind it, which is what I call simple laminated timber. So, I'm involved from designing the lines, to constructing lines, to managing the lines and now there's another element to it, which is creating a housing organisation that comes out of that as well for people with disabilities. So one of the challenges that we're faced with in developing this vertically integrated element is an engagement with our people and a recognition around the entire supply chain. So, the entire supply chain is the entire supply chain here - so from, architects or engineers to plasterers to concreters, to manufacturers, to supplies of raw material, economists in terms of the reporting that we've done with housing organisation back to regulatory bodies or the registration requirements. So, there's actually been a full exposure that I've been involved in and one of the things that I've seen throughout the entire thing is a real change, or not a change but a real distinct band a difference between people that are willing to accept change and those who are willing to not accept change. COVID has thrust that upon all of us, if we like it or don't like it. And the thing that I'm seeing out there is people that are willing to accept change are surviving, people that are not willing to accept change are not surviving. But on top of that, what I'm also seeing is fear amongst people. And what I'm also seeing is the roles that we as leaders have in our supply chain amongst our people, you know, to calm the situation, to allow for understanding, to recognise that people are stressed, to recognise that, you know, not everyone's the same. So everything's become really heightened, everything's become really present. From my point of view where I see it, it's actually become thoroughly enjoyable. Hopefully, you know, don't take that any other way. But it's because you are simply in the moment, you're moving so fast that you've really got no other choice but to deal with everything, it's real time, it's now time. And that's been really good because it's actually allowed us to make decisions, certainly in the architecture business, to make decisions faster than we've had to do previously. Where previously we'd labor on every decision that we'd make Mark, we would really consider every decision, almost to the point where we actually wouldn't be making decisions. So for us, and really don't take this- you know, COVID is not a desirable position to be in, but it has forced us to change our way and I'm really proud of the way we've dealt with that, and I'm really proud of the way our people have dealt with that. You know, the culture of our organisation, the culture of our team, and it's really quite distinct when I'm out on the building site, you know, the attitude of people. People will, and I'm bouncing around between companies here but, you know, people will either say I can do that, or people will sit there and look at you for the entire direction and almost to the point where you're actually doing the job for them. And that's a really sad position for the person who's looking for the entire direction because that's a person who is just really constricted in their ability of functioning. But it actually makes it right now, a very, very apparent- Culture in organisations is very apparent. And again, I look at that and I go, that's a helpful thing. So you know, COVID is not a good thing, but what it's given us is the ability of recognising who we are, it's given us the ability to recognise that we need to change and you know we're either going to make a change or we're not going to make the change and simply if you don't make a change, well shut the doors and go home, basically, and we're not going to do that. So I'm not sure if i've sort of answered the two parts of the question there Mark...

Mark Bergin 08:28

No, you've done an absolutely brilliant job there, because what I like of what you've described, is you're talking about these four different in some ways, 'silos'. I know you thread them all together, but, you know, there's an architectural practice, there's a building development company in Longboat, there's the product development in timber works, and then there's the housing association that's in there. Now, I can see how they fit together but they have four very different contexts. What I find interesting is you've mentioned about the architectural practice, the cadence and the pace that you've got there, because things need to be done now, because things are running a bit faster, and in some ways that's enjoyable because there's less of the having to explain to people who are holding you back. And then you've also got in the development company that you can actually see that that's moving along, but because you had a very deep values based process and culture, those things come to the fore. What I'm really interested in is you spoken then about the change-enabled-people, that they're thriving, but the people who are actually change resistant are struggling, we're going to have a little bit of a look at that... If we go into the idea of equity, environment, efficiency, the equity part in social equity - helping people and giving them a hand up - fights with the efficiency side, and the efficiency side is 'just get me experts who are change-enabled and make sure that we take them through', so it's like a breakthrough, rather than a bring-along. And so I think it's important that we actually explore how are we bringing along some people who are struggling because a community that has great depth and great value looks after all the population, not just the people who are thriving. So I'm gonna dig into that a little bit, but what I want to do now is I want to go across to Nancy, and I want to have a little chat with you, Nancy, because there's a bit of a thread here. Nancy, two and a half, almost three months ago, you had a new daughter - oh sorry, son! Sorry, for some reason I thought it was a daughter. There you go. And so you have a new son and your new son has come in, and in many ways that's interrupted your role in leading the practice, but it's also this very interesting time of bringing new life. There's health challenges in there, there's lockdown, but you still have a practice that you need to keep managing, and you've still got a practice that needs to keep performing, and of course, you've got other people around the practice there, but this changes the way that things work. And there will have been some stresses and pressures and changes that have come in for yourself, how has that helped you in actually being able to go and thrive in some ways, and where have the challenges being?

Nancy Bugeja 11:22

Well, my son was born kind of right when we went into lockdown in Melbourne and it was only a couple of weeks prior - he came a month early, mind you, so it just totally kind of wasn't part of the plan - that we had transitioned the agency from our studio in the city to respective homes. Suddenly my son's born. I had no choice but to keep going. So I found that I embraced the whole lockdown situation as an opportunity for me, because one, being able to bring a baby into the world - it's my third, so I felt very fortunate that it was my third, it wasn't my first - there were no visitors at the hospital. I can sleep, I can rest when the baby's down, I don't have to worry about, you know, people walking in on me. So I made a really swift, amazing recovery, so I was very grateful for that time. Came home, other the children at home homeschooling, all of that kind of thrown into it, but yes, we had this agency to run and I run my agency with my partner in life as well Miguel, and it's our livelihood so we absolutely had no choice but to make it work, so we kicked into gear basically. Having the children home as well meant we didn't have to worry about drop offs and pickups so it actually was a positive position to be in although it was daunting and fear could have totally interrupted our flow, we didn't let it. Generally, whenever something brings me fear, I go through this process, you've all probably heard of it before, where I address my fears. I write them down in a note whether it's now or in the middle of the night and I just write down goals to help me achieve, to enable me to address these fears, and they no longer become fears, they become goals that I have to achieve. So I kicked into that mode, you know, optimism was my only option. I had to deal with ensuring that our culture remained, and like you Theo, we've got a very value based culture at HM. So, the people we've recruited that kind of went with us from the studio to homes were well equipped with how we roll and everyone knows you know, you're on this bus with us and if it's not suiting you, there are other options for you. So we were able to transition very successfully as a team. I was able to be there, be present, and I guess it's something I was speaking about earlier in a meeting just this morning, being in lockdown and going through COVID, it enabled me to connect with people more than I ever have because had I had a child [in usual circumstances], I wouldn't have been so connected to the business, I probably would have taken a few months off as a minimum, right. But because all of this happened, I cracked straight back into it and it enabled us to keep the momentum up in the studio, which was really rewarding for me, it was really rewarding for the team. The team felt security, which was wonderful for them because it is day by day, we're still not able to forecast six months in advance or a year in advance. It's week by week now. Being present and being able to be at home, I knew what I needed to do as a leader, and it was all about just presenting that optimism but being realistic as well. So I hope that answers your question.

Mark Bergin 15:13

So it's interesting, 'answer' is a very interesting concept, isn't it? You know, I think definitely you've addressed it. You know, I remember always saying 'I never answer anything, I just address things'. So I'd then like to go across the Celso, because the team at Tigerspike are on the good side of income and don’t need the government’s income supporting scheme, JobKeeper wasn't appropriate to the studio and so that's actually one of those trigger points where you saying, well, it means that you weren't hit with a 30% downturn in revenue. But you've began to go and actually open up to hire new people. The freeze on the head count has changed and now you're having to reimagine 'well how do you go help those clients who are after new projects, increased scope of work, business to go get to the future faster. Where are you going to locate people? And you've probably also got the pick of the pie because there's some really great talent that were let go from people who couldn't afford to hold them. What's going on for Tigerspike?

Celso Borges 16:21

Yeah, it's been a very humbling experience, all the way through this and knowing that we may have had a pretty fortunate run, as much as we put precautions in place, we put a freeze on certain professional budgets and things like that just to be responsible during this time, to make sure that we're not going beyond our means, but we definitely saw a pretty consistent stream of work coming in. What's been interesting is, as we progress through this time, and we've seen, you know, one of our approaches is that we prefer to work collaboratively with clients and even to go there and work with them, and obviously, this has created a bit of separations we've had that all virtual, but now there's this request even from our team to go, 'Hey, when can we actually go and sit there with the clients?', 'can we go and interact with them? Can we go and collaborate with them so we can close this gap that we've clearly seen.' In terms of having the different locations it becomes difficult, because we've been easily able to have our design talent from our Sydney office support Melbourne projects and Melbourne clients and even from Brisbane. So now, when we're talking about co-locating, logistically that starts becoming a little bit difficult because well, it's not so easy to co-locate someone from Brisbane or Sydney, you know, into a Melbourne scenario and vice versa. So those are the kind of things that we're going through at the moment. And then, you know, that means that we're needing to start expanding our talent pool right now, because we're seeing some new work coming in that week that we didn't know was coming, and that we've been fortunate to have that land with us, so we're expanding in that way. But I definitely think that, from what Theo and Nancy were talking about is that, this has been humbling and it's really taught us to look at ourselves and understand what our position is, what our values are, because it tests that. Our resilience is built on standing on the values and the culture that we've established, and it's really a good test to see if they hold up. I'm not surprised, but I'm very pleased that it has held up. It's made sure that we've been able to progress and continue through this time. So I think, you know, we've seen some positive growth as much as was slowed. We're just going to continue to go with that.

Mark Bergin 18:56

I think it's really interesting, the idea about the energy that comes from being in each other's presence. A good friend of mine, a musician, was saying that he had one of the students that he's been doing tuition via Zoom with, and the child wasn't thriving that circumstance so as we came out of lockdown then he did an in-person tutorial lesson for them, and he said when he heard the child playing, that he broke down with tears because of the energy that was coming from having somebody performing in front of them. It was so different than the person actually performing via Zoom. And I think we forget the energy that comes from being in the same room with each other. Definitely offices are going to be different shapes. The way that we interact, there's convenience in this, but I think it's actually a balance isn't it? We need to make sure that we're actually with each other at important times, but also that we're able to connect and get that high fidelity energy. Now Julie, I want to actually throw across to you because in our pre conversation for this call, you shared that there's a project that you're just coming to the end of and you also mentioned there that there was actually, as Nancy had mentioned with the idea of the forecast being shot, that you were saying the pipeline doesn't have the resilience that you normally would think that your work pipeline would have. That seems to be a problem for a lot of people. How do they actually go build this pipeline when there isn't the casual meeting at a corporate event? There isn't an industry networking event, there isn't a cafe that you stopped into where somebody says, 'oh, you're at the end of the project, why don't you come and have a chat, we've got an overburden of work.' How are you actually addressing that, or is it still 'watch this space?'

Julie Ockerby 20:54

A bit of both. I mean, we certainly haven't had the luxury of sitting back and watching the world go by us to be honest. I mean, it's been similar to what Theo was saying, very hard and fast since this all started. The team itself, there is only six of us and in January and February probably 80% of us were brand new, when suddenly we all went into lockdown. So we barely even knew each other and then had to move the team to work remotely. So again, similarly to Theo, some of the things that we couldn't say no to was to actually really push out IT to get into the mode of working from home and our servers and all that to work. So we actually displayed a lot of resilience, and at the same time, being very lucky to have a strong stable projects at the time. But like you mentioned, as each project finishes, then in the long term we need to look at a project or two to replace that project. That's probably our biggest challenge at the moment. So meetings are not hard to put together, I mean, these zoom meetings are great. But certainly the intimate nature of having a meeting face to face, coffee, drinks, dinner, lunch, whatever, it hasn't been available. And historically for me, that's how I've built relationships, to have those moments together and and when you're not able to do that, it's been very difficult. So we've relied heavily on our existing relationships, and building the network outside of that, looking more at collaborative relationships, rather than, you know, b2b or even b2c. It's really hard to expand our horizons, but certainly pipeline is our biggest challenge at the moment. It's certainly not technology, it's not staff, it's not resilience, but it is pipeline, particularly after we've been able to get job keeper, so after job caper finishes, the numbers might run a little bit differently, and I might lose a bit more sleep. Although I have teenagers, Nancy, so I can think of other reasons.

Nancy Bugeja 23:22

Yeah, different levels.

Julie Ockerby 23:26

That's it. But then I think I'm pretty pragmatic with how I think. With every business you have, whether it's your practice or you know, within a practice that you work within, there's always going to be a challenge. And right now this is our challenge. So what's the approach of it? I don't like to drown, so its head above water every single time.

Mark Bergin 23:50

But there's also a push that you've got about the reimagining of age care, which is your speciality, and then focusing on what happens when you go and look at the workforce inside healthcare, which I think is an interesting insight, and and then look at how the workforce is managed and how you actually use that as a way to go and actually create a new era of aged care? So you've got these very immediate things, but you've also got these quite- almost an expedition, there's unknowns out there and you're trying to work out how do you go on an expedition into the future of aged care. That doesn't return immediately does it? At some point, you're going to say, well, that's actually something we know that we need to go on address and it needs a design lens put on it so that we can understand with empathy. There's immediate needs, there's a cliff that's going to happen when JobKeeper stops. We've all got those cash flow concerns, but we also need to be investing in those longitudinal expeditions that can carry us into a return future at a later stage. I think that's really interesting seeing that balance of you've got of attending to the now but also attending to the future.

Julie Ockerby 25:09

And I'm also of the view that there's really the last three, four months, there's nothing more controversial and more challenging than COVID in recent times, so you know, bringing up controversial topics that normally we could probably sidestep around, we just talk about it now. For example, Mark you were saying with the importance of workforce in aged care where it's always been very front of house, there is so much more importance with employees looking after the aged care workers and their environment, because that snowballs to the ability to care. So our design practice now is very focused on not just front of house for the residents and family, but very much about designing for the workplace.

Mark Bergin 26:00

I think we're finding out through the Aged Care Royal Commission and through other sources, many of the people who are helping support in aged care as contract labour are people who couldn't get jobs as prison guards or as security guards and you go 'they're not the people we should be having in aged care', we should be having the greatest nurturers, not the failed security guards. And you know, I think there's a very interesting focus that we've got to look at in that workforce, they need to be expert in nurturing in complexity, not necessarily trying to go and run a detention facility for age people. Hass I want to go across to you and I want to go talk. At Schiavello you've got this huge mothership, so lots of people would know the brand, but you've also got a very compact team who are trying to make sure that you're working interior fit-outs in the office spaces in there. So you've got both dimensions there: you've got that micro dimension on the projects that you're working on, where's the pipeline come from? And you've also got this big mothership that is endured quite a few downturns in markets and interruptions to markets. How's it working for you in your world? How's the team holding together? And how are your clients actually creating chaos or hell for you?

Hassan el Rayes 27:20

Well, yes, we have lots of insight into lots of other businesses, as we're embedded and partnered with all streams of industry. So it gives us a great insight of how people are coping, to learn their needs and wants. So one of the things that we've noticed- So, our wants and needs in the business are basically how do we satisfy people's psychological requirements? Because as a business, and Theo touched on this before, there are two types of outlooks in business at the moment, the ones that want to stay with status quo and don't want the world to change, and the ones that nurture and seek disruption and change, and actually are quite flexible and comfortable in that world where everything is in a state of flux. So most businesses will often satisfy the five stages of psychological want - Maslow's Pyramid of Psychological needs, from where I come from that's an important thing for me. So, the first stage is basic physiological - you need food, water, air to breathe. Second Stage is you need a sense of belonging. And goes all the way up to a sense of self actualisation. The problem is we all have given people a wage, a security of a job, and that's where it kind of stops. We don't give them a sense of being part of a team, being part of a society, and then they're becoming experts in that field so they feel like they're actually giving back to society as a whole. This is a great period to adjust to that and give people a little bit of something more. And therefore, the central office in most businesses is going to become a hub of wellness as opposed to somewhere where you go and actually do productive work. That could be elsewhere. So the fact that welness hub of the central office, we as leaders in the industry will have to change our aspect or our mindset on why are we dragging people into the office anymore. It is that sense of, like you said, to have an audience or have someone to speak to, that creates a certain energy. The productive stuff, the manual stuff, the things that you have to sit there and do alone, focus time work, that can be taken elsewhere. Managers who are still sitting in the mindset that you have to come to the office to work are going to really suffer with that concept. And we're going to have to bring them along for the ride, as you said, otherwise they'll be left behind. How do we do that as a society as a whole is going to be a modern large cultural shift. Most businesses today don't cater for your mental wellbeing, they talk about it, they want to get there, but they don't know how or have the vehicle to get there. That's going to be bringing in lots of different experts from different fields, and asking them how do we go into that journey? And for us, specifically, in furniture, where do we sit in that? I mean, that's an interesting point, how does furniture help your mental state? It could be all sorts of things from where we come from, it could be how colour effects your wellbeing and your status in the office; ergonomics is obviously an important feature; but also setting up the safe zones in that environment for you to come and have a chat and not feel you have to be at a working desk, you could be just in a collaborative space. It'll be very casual. So it is an evolving workforce, it is an evolving office. What you think it is going to be in the future, when you get there it won't be that, it will be something completely different and we have to be agile and flexible to adapt to that. I think the typical nine to five scenario, come in, Bundy in and Bundy out of the office, is dwindling away. People are resisting. And that's the thing.

Mark Bergin 32:10

I get this idea of a concertina effect that we tried to go keep the parameters of our community relatively constrained, but what's happening is some people are thriving and moving to the future, and the other people are actually staying where they were. There's obviously a capacity that we have to go tolerate that but there's also going to be a breaking point like an elastic band, and we want to make sure that we haven't left those people behind. So there'll be a certain degree of stress, there'll be a certain degree of trauma about the change that is coming about. One of the things I find interesting about changes is that for some people, change means getting to the future benefit faster. For other people change means current benefit loss. So it's about the imagination of the future and are you losing a current benefit or are you gaining a future benefit? And that's something that we don't explain to people. And if you're somebody who has relatively low equity in a community, generally it's been that you've lost on multiple occasions. I think that's like the summary if I had to go into black lives matter, if I went into people of lower socio-economic standing, their resistance to change is because generally they've missed out when change has occurred, they haven't gained. I remember that game Snakes and Ladders that we had as kids, you know, they've been picking up more of the snakes that have taken them down, they haven't been getting the ladders up. And really what we need to do is help their imagination, and that's through culture, it is through communication, that they understand that that change will help get to future benefit faster. And I remember my father, he was Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation and his imagination appeared to be that people should be working in conventional cargo on waterfronts, you know, the very old manual handling. It wasn't that if people weren't doing that work, there were other jobs that had higher realisation, higher agency for them, it was how do we go look out to the people where they are today. And so for me that's always present, that change, actually, if it's done properly, is a change that doesn't get that concertina getting stretched to breaking point, but we actually make sure we're taking not only the front group but we're also taking the mid and the back group, and that we're bringing everybody together into the future at the same time. If you just have people breaking through, you then wind up with a culture break, there is actually people who have and have not, it's very demonstrative. And you need to make sure that you're then repairing it. So I think Hass that's what is fantastic in that idea of the sense of empowerment, from people getting down into Maslow's, because at this stage we know that we have some introverts who are hating the idea of going back to the office. There has to be a way that we deal with the trauma that they've got, to get back to the office. And that's empathy and people that are used to change who are the people who should be doing that - that sounds to me like a designer. A designer is always about trying to get to the future, they're also about empathy, and they know how to go and thread that course of the problems that are there. So fantastic input. What I've enjoyed as we've gone through our talk today is that we've been able to go talk to go get those efficiency gains of the future, those future benefit things. We are going to need to go deal with some of the environmental and a physical environment for people start off with, as well as the broader ecological environment that's out there. And we also need to make sure that we're thinking about equity that's in there. Whether it was Theo, you talking about the work that you're doing which is even having from an equity uplift for people in social housing; we've got the team that Celso you're talking about - this idea of people wanting to go reconnect so they get that efficiency and acceleration there; Nancy, you are going in talking about the idea of how things have changed for you and then how do you actually keep accelerating in that very adaptive space; and I think they also Julie for you where you've turned around and you've actually been saying more, we've got a current circumstance but there's also this future vision that you've got about what will be the future of healthcare, and how do we get to that faster? And probably the most important thing on that one is, how do you turn the future of aged care into an earning opportunity? Because there's only so long that any business, large or small, can sponsor a future project that doesn't turn into revenue at some point. So I think across what we've been able to go talk about today we've given a pretty good idea of where we're up to in the rebound and the reimagine. And guys I have to say, I'm always humbled to get your attention to help us to go get to these. Before we wrap up, is there anything that comes up for any of your presenters that you're saying 'I'd love people to know about this?'

Theodore Kerlidis 37:17

One of the things that I'm particularly enjoyed out of the lockdown that we've had, perversely, is the environmental impacts of the lockdown. The lockdown, it's been really tough, it hasn't been easy at all, there's no doubt about it. The confusion, the whole range of issues that the lockdown has created. The environment has been the silent winner here. Which has actually been really, really wonderful to see that change. So I just think the change is going to- the interesting thing about it from a business point of view that I'm questioning and wondering about is you know, we'll there ever be a vaccine for COVID? Is this going to be the new norm? I kind of wonder, you know, there's this sort of tension around how much change we adapt to, how much change we invest into. And potentially, you know, is this actually a revolutionary design problem solution that's required here, in terms of how we start to think about our homes, how we start to think about productivity, how we start to think about collaboration, the collective intelligence of how we all work together, locally. So there's this push for local and the thing that I'm finding really quite interesting is, you know, here we are interconnected across Australia in different locations, and here we are conversing quite happily... the opportunities are wonderful and do you really want things returning back to normal the way they were? I'm not so sure about that from my point of view, I actually think this change, this forced change, is an opportunity. It's a design opportunity in terms of how we facilitate our homes, how we start thinking about our cities, how we start to think about our streets - so city of Melbourne. Opportunistically you know, traffic flows are down so introduce more bike lanes through the centre of Melbourne - fantastic. How would that have ever been possible previously? There’s all these things that are happening and the thing that we focus on is if we can continually focus on it being a positive change. The economics have to be there, the environmental aspects have to be there, and the social elements have to be there as well. It's been difficult, but I kind of wonder, because we can ramp up the power to change even more aggressively and the thing that's holding us up a little bit is, 'is this going to return to normal in three months time? Or is this going to be something that's going to be around us for the next 30 years?'

Mark Bergin 40:16

30 years is very interesting, because we know when HIV first came in everyone saying we can't find a vaccine for it. These days, you know, you may be infected with HIV, but you're not going to die from HIV. You'll die from something else, but you'll have HIV managed is where we've got to in the first world. Unfortunately, in developing countries, that's not the case. So I think definitely that we'll have remedies for how COVID works and our need to be isolated will reduce - whether that's six months, whether it's 18 months, or whether it's 36 months is really the question. I think nobody thinks we are getting out of this inside 12 months. So, we can at least take some leadership from that, because we need to work out what the planning is. But what we do realise is that there was no such thing as normal. We always talked about how the 80s with this and the 90s, without the 00s were this, and, but that's because normal always changes. Whether it's actually some people who have lost their parents, lost their child, lost their life partner, we know that you never go back to normal, that we always imagined into the future. And I suppose it's that we have to help people who want to match into the future, to get to the future faster, to get to a future that actually has more equity for the benefit, and that we help those people who are actually fearful to go to the future to realise that future benefit is there and available for them. And that future benefit is environmental as well as economic. Guys, this has been absolutely fantastic. I'm always humbled to have your attention, and for the viewers that are watching, please give us some feedback on what you're getting out of these. Because, you know, working out how the economy works, working on how the environment works, and how that equity works, that's going to be a thread for quite some time and I'd love to be getting your feedback. Again, thank-you everybody in joining me on the call.

Hosted by: Mark Bergin

Podcast Production: Pat Daly

Notes and Publication: Lucy Grant

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