Written by: Fredrick Osheku (Communication Officer, TEP Centre).
In biology, we were taught about the power of community relative to growth and survival. A lot of animals survive and thrive only because they live in a community. From the smallest organisms (bacteria who live in colonies) to the medium-sized bees and ants to the large lions and apes, animals leverage on the power of community to thrive.
Evolution teaches us that man banded together to combat the elements and things that go bump in the night. Some of the innovations that still power the society we know today sprang up from these associations.
Some of the most amazing innovations we see today still stem from communities. Very often, we hear a story of an idea birthed by a statement from a friend, or a word or sentence gotten from a conference. It could be the random person you meet on a queue during a coffee break, or the person you meet on a blind date (who may or may not be a good romantic match), but is a perfect match to light up that spark in you.
Life is a strange place, a swirling vortex of opportunities, time and luck. It is not often that these factors converge on one spot or one person. However, these factors will converge more often if more people are in the mix.
It has been said that the old ways are sometimes the best. And just like our predecessors, if we must grow, thrive and conquer the things that go bump in the night if we must conquer the future, we must form communities. It is these communities that will power the innovations that will conquer the uncertainties of the future.
In the last century, the only event that comes to mind that produced as much global uncertainty as what we are currently facing was the second world war. In 2008, we had the global financial crisis, but at least then we were fighting a battle on one front. Today, we are fighting a battle on both the health and economic front, which are two vitally important aspects of our lives as individuals and as communities.
Our enemy is neither man nor machine, but invisible. A seemingly resilient virus determined to spread as fast as possible, and as far as possible. Conventional methods of dealing with enemies and oppositions have fallen flat. To survive, the human race has been forced into our caves again. Although not identical, this draws a parallel to when our early ancestors stayed in the caves to escape the attention of things that could destroy them.
However, in their caves, they banded together, they leveraged on the community, they innovated, and when they came out, they did so with solutions that put them at the top of the evolutionary food chain.
We have much more capacity today than our ancestors did then. We have the technology to make our fight easier. Let’s take a page from our history, let us band together in our caves (virtually of course) and let us innovate. And when we come out, it is with solutions that will assure our victory against our invisible enemy, and others of its ilk.
One thing is certain, if we band together, we will win.