How do we make important issues urgent? We hardly ever meet people who don't see the importance of issues like climate change, diversity and inclusion. And yet change is moving quite slowly. Many executives and executive teams are wavering on whether the impact of their changes actually matters. "If only Shell would stop...", "maybe they should close Tata first", "we also compensate for all our flights", "we really try to hire non-white people, but they just never apply". They are not the phrases that make you think "YES!".
That's partly because we do a poor job of conveying the urgency. "The world's population will grow by 3 billion in 50 years" - Is that Africa and Asia? Global warming will increase by 1 degree this decade" - So that's not such a big deal. "The sea level will rise by 50 centimetres"- Luckily we are good with dikes and water. "One in four Dutch has a non-Western background" - They never apply for a job with us.Pavlov is quite often right. The figures are too abstract, too big, too much. The size creates a kind of mental wall, as it were, that Trump would envy.
By chance we stumbled upon the website https://www.worldometers.info/. Which is completely full of numbers. However, they do one thing differently than others: a lot of data is translated into counters. You can see in real time how many babies are being born right now. And how many people are dying. Because the counters are one below the other, you can see the world population grow, as it were. And it gave us the realization: "Now Sophie is being born. Now Aysia. Peter. Mohammed. Karel dies. Jannie. The twins Alberta and Philipa are born". You see people in the numbers, as it were. And that gives an extremely strange feeling. Beautiful and frightening at the same time.
It was the reason we wrote a page about it in the FD this morning. That was around noon. The page has the headline, "Today's Number 189,692. Now, 4 hours later, the same counter stands at 253,923. In the last few hours, 64,231 babies have been born. And there's definitely a Fay among them. And a Maxime. A Hubert. A Youssef. We hope they are all in perfect health and have a beautiful life. And certainly the latter is something we can influence together.