At a time when we are experiencing a major health, human, social and economic crisis, we must consider the need to develop and cultivate our culture of anticipation and our intrinsic resilience.
This crisis has been revealing. Its scale and the speed with which it took over the world, together with the surprise factor, have forced us collectively to rethink our approach – global and systemic – to risk. Understanding, knowing, imagining and sharing better in order to respond better must be the basis for this culture and this ability to anticipate that will awaken our daily lives. And yet this vital remedy is still underestimated.

Developing our culture of anticipation

At a time when we are experiencing a major health, human, social and economic crisis, we must consider the need to develop and cultivate our culture of anticipation and our intrinsic resilience.
This crisis has been revealing. Its scale and the speed with which it took over the world, together with the surprise factor, have forced us collectively to rethink our approach – global and systemic – to risk. Understanding, knowing, imagining and sharing better in order to respond better must be the basis for this culture and this ability to anticipate that will awaken our daily lives. And yet this vital remedy is still underestimated.

Anticipating does not mean predicting. It does not mean avoiding the unpredictable. Anticipating means incorporating collective intelligence into established processes and developing a global, collaborative approach in order to address risks together. Anticipating means imagining what could happen; it means considering and imagining surprises.
It means exploring new situations that could one day prove more realistic than expected with humility, energy and an open mind…
Anticipating means sharing information and making varied, disparate data intelligible. And using it to derive scenarios and solutions that deserve to be explored, requiring exercises, simulations and drills…

Anticipating also means being able to rely on collaborative solutions and innovative technologies that need to be placed at the service of decision-makers, whether they are politicians or executive board members, guiding them towards enlightened decisions with reliable, comprehensive indicators.
It is essential that these solutions made available to decision-makers, together with contributions from experts, go beyond their primary role as early warning systems to offer high-quality support in understanding the problem and integrating it into global strategy. This is crucial in order to move from an “information attitude” to an “action attitude”, which must take place in a context of limited budgets and very strong influences or even pressures. If we want the decisions made to truly address the scale of the issues, the risks clearly need to be known and understood at the right level of decision-making.
Health risks and cyber risks must transcend their initial scope and be seen as societal, economic and political priorities. Innovative solutions should help to bring down the current barriers and launch the nation or the organisation in the right direction.
These efforts to anticipate will give rise to a rapid reaction force able to respond and adapt to the challenges it faces.
We must now rethink our model, our approach and our governance of risks to improve our understanding of their likelihood and their consequences.

An urgent collective effort

A culture needs to be shared. So do risks.
The current pandemic proves once again that we need to consider our approach systemically, globally and collectively. Our society and our economies are now interconnected. We need to develop a culture of information sharing, review our understanding of network interdependence and look again at the overriding need for sovereignty over strategic issues such as digital. We must build this sovereignty and this strategy at European level and ultimately take up a position on the major risks incurred by depending on solutions or infrastructure owned by large continental blocs in terms of availability, data protection and reliability.

The current situation shows the extent to which digital technology is a key aspect of our resilience, enabling a whole part of our country’s and the world’s activity to continue. It projects us instantly into the 21st century, leaving the old world behind us. But digital technology also reveals how far the issue is systemic, and how easy it would be for our societies to be brought down in a cascade like a house of cards. This makes it everyone’s responsibility to secure this environment so that it can deliver its promises in full. Though the current situation could move us further away from the vital interests of prioritising digital technology and cybersecurity, we must show foresight and look beyond the present facts, or we will very quickly suffer the effects of such a major strategic error.

The risks are immense, and cannot be carried and addressed by a single link in the chain on its own. The scale of the issue is thus European, and we now have all the elements to be able to respond collectively to the challenges we face.
We have a powerful legislative framework, we share common values around data protection, we have proven innovative technologies of great quality and we can count on exceptional human skills.
All this wealth is available. The response can only be collective.

I feel it is time to cultivate and apply this ability to innovate, this coordination of resources, skills and expertise to create forward-looking policies and ensure the resilience of our societies and their capacity to act in a future as promising as it is uncertain…

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