The Wicked Disconnect

Could it be possible that we are investing in to a future that is in direct contradiction to our facts, reality and the ‘context’ as the New World Order struggles with notions of legitimacy against the urgent sense of acceptability. The understanding of the emerging world order and the people have been classified in to bits and bytes. However, the sovereign opportunity lies in the local context.

There’s nothing profound in anything or about anyone unless it is measured by way and means of impact and that too has to be based on principles of trust. Pakistan can be a victim of engineered circumstances, or a champion of its own destiny.

So, what reputation does Pakistan has? What’s its character?

These two questions are incredibly significant. They determine integrity, motivations, responsibility, disruption, value-factor all systematically layered and anchored as an indisputable leverage. How the country looks at itself is often not necessary how the global powers look at it. This stupendous lack of clarity, deliberate ambiguity diminishes credibility over time, increases vulnerabilities creating the institutionalized underpinnings for policy failures, trust deficit, deer in the headlight situationer.

The message this year at the Davos 2017 ‘Responsible and Responsive Leadership’ was clear and incisive; it is not anti-globalization rather a wake-up call for the systems to become resilient and not the governable. The pressure is on the leadership and they will be held accountable. Davos leaders agree: share more wealth, or face the consequences. And in the process of this accountability nations will suffer. They will suffer like they have so in past. Popular sloganeering will be Trumped by ingenuity. In the past, as the population started to increase and technology became cheaper, today the case remains the same however the systems and the mindset are still undigitized. Throughout the education system, the children are being taught how to become the best managers for a possible job environment if that is he or she is lucky in getting the one of his or her desire; come 21st birthday and all of a sudden they are being given crash courses and below average mentorships on ‘entrepreneurial ventures’. It is becoming seemingly obvious that all repetitive jobs will be automated. So what would the next wave of work look like? This wicked disconnect is the ‘Aspiration Deviation Factor’ [This term was coined by a 15 year old student at the Buraq Space Camp 2016] – how long will it take for our institutions to adapt to the changing times? The time is now on peoples’ side. The power to connect to create is no longer in the hands of the few.

What is Pakistan’s local context?

In heightened complexities, the literature that substantiates Pakistan’s experiential findings are phenomenally narrow and sorry-speak. The interpretation of chaos and calm indicates that the tools and instruments required for the 21st century knowledge and information systems simply do not exist. The systems thinking pivots on used futures. This alone is a national security threat which will contribute immensely to the dynamics of fragility. The policy stability can only come from when the system recognizes the need for alternate ‘new-thinking’; trust-based approaches that create the stimulus to focus on attitudes and behaviours.

Pakistan is generous. But not generous enough. It is shackled in a colonial dream. In the coming ten years it would need to take a critical stock of the investments it will make – this investment whether in form of strategic posturing or public service delivery mechanisms if in contradiction to facts, context and reality would have the potential to translate this investment in to liabilities leading to a complete paralysis of systems. Pakistan has a window of 15 years to ramp up its capability across all spectrums. The wall needs to be brought down. The normative constraints that are used as an excuse are no longer relevant. It would need to strike a balance between what is legitimate and what all that is acceptable, this needs to be streamlined in to the national discourse. And there will be no national discourse without bringing in the creative wisdom to infuse indigenous arts, culture and languages. Power has been organized and codified for centuries; now imagine in time and space where it is neither organized nor codified. The definition of power in the last decade has at a glacial pace redefined. The inverted pyramid is the prism through which we would be required to construct our national security paradigm. Technology the key driver in this case can either fuel trust between people and systems or will completely polarise the communities. The bad investments will lead to contextual decay of the society.

What is Technology to Pakistan?

Beyond whatsapp and microwave, technology is the one enabler that will help us learn and create opportunities for the country’s future generations. But the time starts now. In the era of hyperconnectivity when almost anything and anyone can be understood in 01001011; the country needs to develop a much more sophisticated understanding and clarity on how it identifies challenges, what contributes towards human judgment and then how should all this be classified, prioritized for co-creating informed futures.

The sheer sense and scope of responsibilities can only be shared. If it is shared only then the systems will be modernized and equipped to hold decision-makers accountable, until then the space for integrity will continue to shrink. And the pendulum of blame will shift from one political rhetoric to even worse form of mind numbing reckless narrative.

The range of incentives could only be explored when data thinks information thinks knowledge thinks value as it continues to remain an iterative process, would give the leadership the ability to navigate through uncertainties with a relative degree of clarity. What is more important than ever before is to benchmark where the country is winning and where it is losing without compromising on the human imperative. To imagine wicked problems, to come to terms with a gray rhino is as agonizing as wining an honest electorate. Harnessing technological advancements should encourage the decision-makers to graduate their thinking patterns to a higher-order policy approaches; nothing less will be expected of them in the coming decade.

The context is changing fast.

This article was originally published by Hilal: http://www.hilal.gov.pk/index.php/layouts/item/2552-the-wicked-disconnect

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    • Stephen I. Ternyik
    • February 19th, 2017

    Very well written and compiled article, congrats ! You have put almost all important details in a nutshell.

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