Anders, an affable Swede, leans in urgently over coffee, holding me with his eyes: “There’s too much business as usual here. They are behaving like they can carry on as usual and it will all be alright. But it won’t. The situation is too urgent. The world will burn if we do not do something about it.”
“Yes,” I reply, “but I have no idea quite where to start.”
The problems seem so big and we all seem such minor players in the drama. The coffee break finishes and we take our seats again in the conference on management education.
About an hour later the business-as-usual atmosphere dissolves as the 50plus20 report on the future of management education is presented.
A dozen people walk into the conference hall carrying benches made of recycled materials, symbolising the need for deeper dialogue.
There is a short impassioned speech from Katrin Muff, a Swiss woman who has championed the cause with enthusiasm, energy and commitment. There is a song from baritone John Cimino, as the lights dim and we are presented with the 50plus20 film, There is no Planet B.
It is a special moment amongst the overload of workshops, speeches and sometimes drab presentations.
One delegate described it as the most inspiring thing that she has so far experienced in Rio.
I suspect it’s the mix of creativity, passion and a compelling message that has such impact. This combination managed to break through the mundane and really connect with people at a very personal level.
So maybe that helps to answer my question – maybe change will come through finding ways to connect with others at this more human level and to use this to engage with the challenges we face at this point in the history of our planet.