Each generation is born into a different time, with its own set of challenges, opportunities, and shared experiences. This temporal consideration — among many other factors — plays a role in how someone might respond to a crisis.
A global generational war is brewing over the novel coronavirus. Or so it seems. Some preach the severity of the situation (often older people), while others continue with life as usual (many younger people). There are even those who act in purposeful defiance, like attending corona parties. Where is the difference in reaction coming from? It boils down to three elements that are playing out in different ways: physical distancing, cognitive dissonance, and social solidarity.
Myopia: A forgotten past
On the phone with my grandmother, before South Africa officially went into a three-week lockdown, she told me to ensure I have the following:
2. A radio
My grandmother was born in a small Karoo town in 1931, and so was raised during the Great Depression and World War II. She’d lived through scarcity, uncertainty, and boredom. Her advice for covid-19 supplies spoke to the need for sustenance (food), information (radio), and entertainment (puzzles). She’d lived through this scenario before, and has been able to adapt. However, many aren’t, whether it’s not having a similar frame of reference against which they can make judgments, or not wanting to return to a state of limitation, or not being afforded the privilege of making drastic changes to their current lifestyle, or even simply not wanting to give up their freedom of choice.
We need to understand change from multiple perspectives, and not make assumptions. In times like these, brands and businesses need to consider multiple possibilities and prepare several solutions to meet the population’s new and varied needs.
Dystopia: An apocalyptic reality
Sohail Inayatullah’s framework for thinking about the future is useful in understanding where we are right now, and where we need to be to make it through a crisis. The framework is divided into six foundational concepts:
Utopia: An imaginary future
Oscar Wilde considered progress to be the realisation of utopias. Many literary and philosophical theorists believe that a utopia is more revealing of the time in which it was formulated than of what people actually imagine would occur in the future. If, today, people dream of a future where there’s an abundance of natural resources and an elimination of inequality, this is a reflection of our present reality where we experience shortage and disparity. What could South Africa’s utopia look like?
This article was published on Marklives