The world is more than a little topsy turvy these days. I was reading an excellent thought piece on LinkedIn by a colleague of mine Iulian Circo recently where he outlined 5 pointers for dealing with a deep global super-crisis such as Covid-19. He noted that while no-one really knows how a crisis will turn out whilst you’re in the midst of one, there were some key things that you could understand (and mistakes to avoid) that would make the experience of living through a crisis more, well, liveable.
You could sum his approach up as don’t panic, pay attention and maintain perspective.
It struck me that this is very good advice for a lot of things, not just a crisis. In fact, it is very good advice for anyone wanting to understand impact, social impact, monitoring or evaluation. And it reminds me that above all, the context in which you are not panicking, paying attention and maintaining perspective matters. And context is more important now than ever.
You see, you could look at two locations implementing the same activities – say Covid-19 prevention measures. You might think that based on the data, both places are doing well and you can take decisions that affect both locations. But look a little more closely: why within the UK is there such variation between the different countries and regions of the UK? Until you understand that the population of Norther Ireland is so much smaller than that of Scotland, or that Scotland has much wider distribution between communities in the Highlands than, say the Welsh Valleys, the trends in the data will be meaningless and possibly misleading.
Leicester has learned that context matters, by having to go back into lockdown, whilst other cities in the north of England continue to open up.
Context matters for everything: be it Covid-19 in the UK, surveying social enterprises in the Pacific, or delivering services to individuals in central Africa.
What is your advice for surviving a crisis, life and just about everything else?