‘Panic on the streets of London, panic on the streets of Birmingham, I wonder to myself, could life ever be sane again?’ - The case for driving change in an increasingly chaotic world

07 January 2019

Claire Kennedy, PPL Co-Founder and Managing Partner

The trees are down, the halls are cleared, and the Christmas period is behind us. As we launch into 2019, this time of year provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and look ahead at what is still to come.

2018 was a year of great uncertainty– on the world stage, in Europe, and in health and social care. As the new year approaches we are still without a clear Brexit plan, a social care green paper, and any medium-term finance settlement for local government. These uncertainties can feel daunting, frustrating and uncomfortable but, looking ahead, I believe there is still cause for optimism.

PPL was founded on the belief that it is possible to change things for the better. Over the years many things have changed, but this ambition and belief has been and remains a constant. In the early years of PPL – a time of far less uncertainty – we always thought that driving change would be easier because the next year would be like this year but without ‘X’, a seemingly random one-off event. After a while we learnt that there is always an X – an election, spending cuts, a critical NHSE announcement, a new plan.

2018 was a year of many ‘X’s and 2019 looks to hold many more. It will not be an easier or better time to drive change, and these are not the ideal circumstances in which to try to change thinking and behaviours – but they are our circumstances. What we have learned is that the time we have is today; and that what we can do today, in this world, with these resources and these people is what matters.

In that context, what I have learnt also, and my reason for optimism, is that we can all do more than we think.

Making real change happen isn’t just about standing up front and making speeches and writing strategies (although those things matter too). Often it is about just keeping going, not giving up, doing the most we can do and bringing the best of ourselves.

And that is what we are all trying to do every day.

As we move into 2019, with the sense of promise that a new year brings, it is worth remembering that real and sustainable change is a product of what individuals, and groups of individuals, do every single day, and that the choices we make and the actions we take (however small they might seem) are what shape the world around us.

With this in mind, I believe 2019 can be a year in which we all achieve meaningful impact and create positive difference, whatever else is happening around us.