Over recent weeks there has been one common theme regularly emerging for me about the “state of the nation”.
Complicated to navigate as it can be pervasive in both our business and personal lives, I will remain positive, and hope that we are potentially in a similar situation to that of the Millennium bug.
Many of us will remember in late 1999 when concern grew about potential software failure, into panic that everything from power stations to video recorders would be endangered at the end of the last millennium.
The implications described by Tony Blair at the time were; "one of the most serious problems facing not only British business but the global economy today".
Margaret Beckett, then the minister in charge of millennium preparations, said the bug had the capacity to "wreak havoc".
Action 2000 set up to warn and prepare us stated; "Lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, rotovators, barbeques [and] swimming pool equipment" are confirmed as safe.
Then on the 1st Jan 2000, very little happened although there were some data malfunctions, one such example included a worker in Spain who was summoned to an industrial tribunal on 3rd February 1990.
But was that down to good prevention or the lack of a problem in the first place? This is difficult to answer as a combination of spending and preparation were critical success factors, for example the British government spent a reported £430m on public sector system upgrades.
I believe after nearly 2 years of debate and preparation we are no doubt standing at the edge of unprecedented uncertainty. Many will seize the opportunities to forge ahead in the new post Brexit marketplace, especially those private sector organisations, others meanwhile will be stunned into stillness. There is no harm in people being in a state of indecision, but where services and patients are directly impacted, we do not have the luxury of hesitancy.
The media continues to amplify the problem from a “no-deal” situation and Reinout van derVee in a recent LSE blog suggests;
“Business as usual is dead. Or perhaps a profoundly politicised EU is the new business as usual.”
To be fair, even I might be starting to become morose after hearing that!
How Brexit will pan-out is very uncertain and of course a much more complex issue than the millennium bug. We do however have a choice, either continue to shrink from the unknown and chase after the familiar, or find new ways to make our systems work.
The desire to keep moving forward now must be our focus, as science, business and technology all thrive in a collaborative and connected ecosystem. I remain committed to the pursuit of solutions for everyday health problems and overcoming complex issues within our communities. Let’s keep talking and sharing our concerns and insights.
One final thought comes from Baz Luhrmann’s song “Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen” taken from the essay written in 1997 by Mary Schmich might help to brighten your day!
“Don’t worry about the future, or worry…...but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra puzzle equation by chewing bubblegum!”