Engage invited Jon Alexander to speak at our 2016 seminar series ‘Reclaiming the City – from consumer and stranger to citizen and neighbour’ and he has been a great friend since. Jon’s pioneering work began when he made the shift from a career in marketing, where everyone was defined as a consumer, realising that in fact human beings and the societies they create are not best described in those terms.

Jon spoke to us about the shift from consumer to citizen and you can watch the video of his presentation HERE. In the past few days Jon has written about the current coronavirus reality in the UK from the same perspective and his words have gone viral. We wanted to share them with you so you can have some idea about the options that we are all facing as we start to move out of this Covid-lockdown.

We have taken these articles from the independent site Medium.com  Another Medium placed article is the one by Matthew Taylor the CE of the RSA:

Connected to that article is another one focusing on leadership and management during a crisis which is an excellent read by INSEAD staff member Gianpiero Petriglieri published on the Fast Company website:

You can follow him on Twitter@gpetriglieri

Another project that we think you might find helpful as you try to navigate your way through these challenging Covid times is the Collective Psychology Project which we think is simply amazing. Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with their reflections upon the coronavirus crisis. Their excellent report below is about mourning collective loss and though a long read is well worth the effort. It is by Alex Evans, Ivor Williams and Casper ter Kuile.

You can follow them on Twitter@Collective_Psyc.

Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership has released an amazing statement about how they want to rebuild Manchester’s economy after the crisis where they clearly state that they want health to be put first in the decisions that will be made to restart the economy. The document Build Back Better is genuinely inspiring.

The phrase ‘build back better’ is being given traction in some quarters and The Correspondent has an article by journalist Zoe Smith from the UK:

The Guardian published a story on 10.05.20 which also raised similar concerns – ‘Britons want quality of life indicators to take priority over economy’ and published this one on 22.05.20 entitled – ‘Coronavirus will reshape our cities – we just don’t know how yet’. A further article published by the Guardian on 02.06.20 raised some very interesting points about what kind of cities will we want to live in post-pandemic – ‘Our cities only serve the wealthy. Coronavirus could change that.’ 

We came across this significant article by the famous historian, philosopher and author, Yuval Noah Harari in the Financial Times and reproduce it here for you to read. The question he asks is will we take the path of citizen empowerment and global solidarity or not. These are our choices:

If you want to you can read more articles about Jon Alexander and his ideas below:

You can follow Jon on Twitter @jonjalex

You can watch Jon give a TedXUCL talk on YouTube:

Engage is currently in talks with Jon and others with whom he has connected us to look at how we might reflect more deeply upon this new post-Covid reality here in Liverpool. One of the cities we are in touch with is Edinburgh and you can read about it HERE. We are also talking to people in Leeds with whom we hope to open up some joint work in the near future.