The Tavistock Institute team reflect on what learning about resilience is emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.
For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic was an emergency for which we were not, or only poorly, prepared. Faced with unprecedented restrictions on our ‘normal’ way of life to contain the virus, people, organisations and communities needed to adapt very quickly to keep going.
One key insight from our work during the pandemic is that local, often community and voluntary sector, organisations played a critical role during the pandemic. They were able to: quickly identify new and emerging needs, provide tailored and trusted information and support, mobilise new and existing volunteers, and link up with statutory and non-statutory organisations in their communities and beyond. Their ability to adapt, flex and quickly link up with others meant that they became the communities’ reference point, at a time in which people were at their most vulnerable.
As we are reflecting about what all of this means for resilience now, the following questions have emerged:
- How have individuals shown their personal resilience during the coronavirus crisis, and how does this help our communities be more resilient in the future?
- What do resilient organisations look like now? How can they think differently about leadership and followership to stay resilient in the face of ongoing uncertainties?
- How have relationships between local organisations changed because of the pandemic? Do we need to re-think power-relations and questions of trust to foster resilience in our communities going forward?
- How can we assess how resilient our communities are? And what challenges are there of doing so?