October 7 – Hosted dialogues

October 19, 2020

By Methuseli Dube

This week we discussed two main topics, hosted by two participants from our network. Instead of breaking into two separate discussions, we all participated in each discussion, one after the other. This blog post will offer a brief overview of the discussion and resources shared throughout the dialogue. Thank you to everyone who attended!

Governments and complexity

Facilitated by Linda Peritz, Social Innovator

As citizens, it is our responsibility to have realistic expectations of our elected officials. Do our expectations match the complexity of these times? Have our elected officials stopped offering simple solutions and promises they can’t keep? How can our democracies thrive in response to the pandemic? 

Post-pandemic: lessons learned or lessons forgotten?

Facilitated by Laurie Anderson, Executive Director, SFU's Vancouver campus.

In what way does the pandemic also offer opportunities for societal renewal? What needs to change? What should remain in place? 

Recap, notes and resources

Memorable quotes:

“Complex problems” is an oxymoron. If it’s a problem, it’s solvable, so it pretty much can’t be complex. If it’s complex, it’s not a problem to be “solved”.


  1. COVID-19 Community Resilience Network Zoom call slide deck: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1H-NEOw1-qj4Nl_nbBN-YAe2ZtsVMCD4Q/view?usp=sharing
  2. An interesting graph showing the relationship between scale and complexity, from Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of New England Complex Systems Institute and an MIT- trained physicist and complexity scientist. He has been thinking about global pandemics for 15 years: https://twitter.com/yaneerbaryam/status/1211286402375262214
  3. Link to Borgen, a gripping three-season Danish political drama taking a behind-the-camera look at politics: https://www.netflix.com/ca/title/70302482.
  4. The Administration of Fear by Paul Virilio, addresses the ways in which technology is utilized in synchronizing mass emotions: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/administration-fear
  5. A great podcast on US leadership absence from the global community: https://crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-america/
  6. Identifying and resolving conflict-of-interest situations is crucial to good governance and maintaining trust in public institutions. However, experience shows that this can be difficult to achieve in daily practice: This toolkit, made by the OECD, offers possible solutions for managing conflicts of interest: https://www.oecd.org/gov/ethics/49107986.pdf
  7. An interesting article discussing inequality and the pandemic, examining where we can go from here: https://www.un.org/africarenewal/web-features/%E2%80%9Ctackling-inequality-pandemic-new-social-contract-new-era%E2%80%9D