The Better Normal 150 150 MAKE IT BETTER TABLE

The Better Normal

The Make it Better Table will soon be launching a Better Normal Design Lab. There are many discussions about making the most of this crisis to reform elements and systems within society, but we all know that sustainable change will not just happen based on expectation or even intention. A small group has been thinking about how to run a design lab in these times made up of MiBT people and our networks – working together for a better normal, not just a new normal.  

The second Zoom gathering of this small group, ably facilitated by Mel Chan, saw us take another step towards creating a better world. That sounds idealistic, but that’s what we want. It’s always difficult to sum up wide-ranging conversations like these, but there was an enthusiasm to see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to do life differently. Not just during the pandemic, but in its aftermath. To not just make technical adjustments, but to embrace adaptive, measurable and transformational change.  


What then, you would be entitled to ask, could this look like? 

We’re not sure yet. Which is not worrying us at all.  

We’re still in the process of assembling the key components of people, place and process. Paul Steele put together a document that helped springboard us into thinking about our current situation in new ways and encouraging us to learn from previous missed opportunities.  

Over the next few weeks, we’ll work on a manifesto. Next steps will be researched. Maps will be drawn in rough. The most receptive environments to experiment in will be identified. People who can both benefit from and contribute to a better normal will be invited to join us.  

One of Mel’s insightful questions focused us on what this better normal could look like: If we wanted to ensure that we 100% absolutely positively failed at this, what must we do? 

There were two key responses. The first was that we “stay at the conceptual level” and “talk about change forever”. These are temptations familiar to all of us. By articulating them, we can highlight and avoid them.  

The second was that “we keep it in-house” and “don’t collaborate.” We’d be familiar with these temptations as well – sometimes we get so passionate about a project that releasing it to benefit from the communal expertise of others is a step too far.  

Whatever the better normal looks like, the MiBT is committed to taking action together. We don’t want to add more words that never get acted on as we move through these strange times. We also won’t make the mistake in believing that we are the only ones with the answers.  

We look forward to both the process and the result of this journey.  

Craig Brown 

donkey wheel storyteller