Has anyone else felt it? The excitement that’s been in the air this year. As we emerge from the cloud of a pandemic and financial downturn, there is a general sense that anything could be possible in 2023. I predict the next few years will be a pivotal time for organisations in the public, third and wider “social good” sectors. The future of work will be shaped by the positive outcomes we can create for our communities and the world.
What am I particularly excited about? These are the buzzwords I expect to frame the next year and beyond for the social good sector…
The pandemic has changed the way we view healthcare delivery. Going forward, there will be a more holistic approach to the design of care pathways, replacing current fragmented models. There will be a focus on both very personalised health outcomes as well as generalised population health. A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t suffice. As the COVID-19 pandemic has evidenced, without health, our society crumbles. Governments and health care providers, as well as private companies servicing the sector, will increasingly focus on:
- Personalised medicine: Advances in genetic testing and data analysis may lead to a greater focus on personalised medicine, tailoring treatments to individual patient’s genetic makeup and health needs
- Telehealth and virtual care: going beyond transactional delivery of health services via Apps towards AR/VR supported service transformation models
- Focus and further “de-stigmatisation” of mental health in all walks of life – from our homes to our workplaces and schools
- Data-driven healthcare: The use of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence may lead to more data-driven healthcare, improving diagnosis and treatment decisions and identifying potential health risks early on
- Greater emphasis on public health: Healthcare systems may place a greater emphasis on public health, with a focus on preventing illness and improving the overall health of communities through new and more effective ways of engaging and working with them.
I read a really fascinating article recently about hologram technology that is being used to plan cardiac surgery for children by Erlangen University Hospital in Germany. Performing surgery on tiny hearts is one of the most dangerous procedures there is. This amazing new tech takes some of the risks away – visualisation techniques like cinematic rendering provide a detailed 3-D view of the patient’s heart and surrounding anatomy, pre-surgery. This is really innovative stuff!
Sustainability (and anti-greenwashing)
If used transparently and ethically, AI and automated practices have the ability truly transform decision-making and service design within the public and third sectors.
What I find particularly exciting for our sectors, however, is the possibility of using predictive analytics to benefit the communities we serve.
Predictive analysis is a form of data analysis that uses statistical and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and predict future outcomes or trends. It involves analysing historical data and using it to make predictions.
Councils, for instance, could use predictive analysis to identify at-risk populations for public health purposes. By identifying groups at a higher risk of certain health conditions or social issues, such as homelessness, targeted interventions can be proactively put in place. It’s the future of smart decision-making and policy creation.
Sustainability (and anti-greenwashing)
Communities are becoming savvier than ever when it comes to sustainability so much so that ‘greenwashing’ has become an everyday term.
Greenwashing is the practice whereby organisations make their products or services appear more environmentally friendly than they actually are to attract the support of those who are eco-conscious.
For this reason, we must strive to keep our messaging honest, transparent and based on absolute fact. Our constituents are smart. Speak to them as such.
I was recently made aware of an interesting example of authentic and honest messaging from an organisation in the private sector, Australian shoewear label TWOOBS.
The Melbourne company had an issue with production, resulting in a large batch of around 3000 pairs of shoes arriving at the brand with some minor superficial defects. Normally, in the fashion industry, faulty goods would be deemed unsellable and go to landfill. Instead, Twoobs deployed a very transparent marketing campaign, letting their customers know exactly what had happened, highlighting the brand’s environmental vision, and instead discounting the faulty shoes and relabelling them, ‘OOPSYs’.
Credit: TWOOBS Instagram
I urge you to consider how you may be able to use a similar approach in your own communications efforts.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done to address systematic issues with diversity, equity and inclusion across our sectors. The UK public sector, for instance, while being significantly more diverse than other sectors, still displays inequalities in terms of race, gender, disability and other factors.
For example, according to the UK Civil Service’s latest diversity and inclusion report, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff are underrepresented in the senior civil service, with only 7.4% in the highest grades, compared to 13.7% of the overall workforce. Similarly, women make up 53.1% of the civil service, but only 40.3% of the senior civil service.
An interesting technique outlined in the Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy 2021-26: Realising the benefits for all is the use of “nudges”. An example of a nudge could be an internal campaign highlighting examples of addressing stereotypes whether related to race, disability, sexuality or other protected characteristics.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, empathic workplaces will always result in better work. Your people are your best assets. Empathic leaders are able to inspire:
- Better communication
- Increased morale
- Better conflict resolution
- Enhanced creativity and innovation.
Perhaps most significantly, empathy can also foster a more inclusive and diverse workplace, where individuals feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives. This can lead to more creative and innovative solutions to problems. We, therefore, expect to see softer skills including empathy, becoming more prominent in recruitment practices this year.
I love this LinkedIn article about why recruitment and empathy exist hand-in-hand. It’s particularly relevant post-pandemic.
Summing it up
What is clear to me from the above examples is that we are entering a truly new age. Our communities are savvy. They demand holistic, thoughtful and transparent approaches that take into account the newest technologies and modern ways of perceiving the world.
They are concerned about making the world a better place, not just for future generations, but right here right now.
Perspectives have changed post-pandemic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CEO & Founder
A true leader in social good, Christos is an influential and energetic project manager. Super-commuting between his island home in Cyprus and business headquarters in London, Christos has always done things a little differently.