Saturday, May 2, 2020

Trickle up: How micro work can spread to macro.

Artwork (and wording) by Tarek Chemaly
Well, the only thing I can claim the ownership of are the words "trickle up" - the rest are the result of a massive brainstorm that happened yesterday on a multi-participant discussion on facebook of all places (lockdown and geographical distancing oblige - Netherlands, Canada and Lebanon were online....).
And, I admit I was the party spoiler among the (more idealistic) crowd with my rational Cartesian thinking, however even behind my blasé facade my passion has always been too strong (I am the one that tells the story of the mad crowds who were revolting against the Danish caricatures who ended up burning Intermarkets the ad agency in the building next to the Danish embassy in Beirut because someone pointed them to the wrong building! Or the analysis why the Arab Spring failed - it did not produce electable candidates and it started off by wanting everything at once when all it wanted was an obscure "something else") .
My brother once told me "you do no know how to have small dreams" and true - one of the reasons that made me continue teaching between 2005-2019 at university level was this idea that one by one, student per student, change could be possible.
In 2001 I quit a lucrative career as a research consultant because at one point, I ended up quoting myself. I was doing a study for a major client and I realized the only previous study on the topic was done by myself and that nothing was "trickling down" to people, regular people whose lives might be influenced by the results of the work in question.
Most of us are familiar with the trickle down - social norms, peer pressure, conformity, standards to abide by of whatever shape. But I go back to the idea that was talked about in the discussion on facebook: Small, mirco acts can gather up to a tipping point and might - might - go to the macro level and produce a change with a capital C.
Here's hoping! Yet, till then, let us "trickle up"!