Riding the wave – 20 reasons why 2020 wasn’t all bad

It seems like 2020 was directed by Tarantino and Spielberg, both high on speed. The pandemic, political circus, a big pause taken by the whole world, and some say that World War III almost happened. Each of us has suffered somehow this year. Thanks for the fact that 2020 has finally ended.

And still. There is this excellent book called “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think”. Its main idea suggests that we would find the world an imperfect, but a much better place than we think it is if we used facts instead of headlines and emotions. Indeed, 2020 wasn’t all bad because THIS has happened: 

For the world and Lithuania:

  1. The main reason for optimism is the unprecedented concentration of science efforts, and the speed of its actions against the pandemic. It took us thousands of years to develop a polio vaccine. COVID-19 vaccine was developed in days. Testing and approval procedures took months, not years or decades. It proves that we really can concentrate our intellectual (scientific and technological) potential to address the challenges, and we can do it fast. Oh, if only we dealt with all challenges in such a manner! 
  2. Innovation spurt – health tech, edtech, e-gov, and all things digital. It seems like the future arrived in a day, and this is just the beginning. For example, did you know that this year, scientists have also discovered super-enzymes that eat plastic?
  3. Humanity has progressed even further in space exploration. Space-X and NASA united for joint flights – I’m sure I wasn’t the only one glued to my screen on the day when the Dragon took off. In the space station, the first plants were grown for the first time. Water was discovered on Mars and Moon. 
  4. Bye, Mr Orange. One political nightmare is gone. 
  5. Lithuania has gotten even closer to Northern Europe – we’ve reached gender equality in the Government of Lithuania!
  6. A strong Government programme which focuses on all the right areas – education, science, health system, governance reform. I hope to find some time to get deeper into the details. Still, from what I’ve read, it gives hope that everything will be all right in our country if at least half of it will be implemented, pooling the available resources, human and financial. Sure, some things worry me, but let’s focus on them another time.
  7. Volunteers helping in hospitals, Government working together with medical workers and NGOs, businesses buying medical equipment, neighbours helping neighbours. This year, we became closer to each other, more social, more empathetic. Social initiatives have outdone themselves. 2020 was a good year for spreading social responsibility.
  8. Society’s attention and respect for medical workers have grown significantly. Finally! 
  9. More attention to health, and, especially, mental health and emotional wellbeing. What used to be hidden in the shadows is now shining bright. The world got sick, but, at the same time, we started taking better care of ourselves.

  10. Despite all turbulences, Visionary Analytics has had the best year yet for entering the European markets. We erupted into the fields of the EU’s digitalisation policy, and social innovation, in addition to our key areas of expertise. We worked with the European Parliament, the OECD, five different European Commission directorates, and four agencies. We have won our first Horizon project, worked with workplace innovation (very much on point for this year). Visionary has become an international company on all levels. 
  11. I know this didn’t happen overnight, but this year, I noticed that my team has grown up. They don’t need me anymore! 
  12. I was most proud of our culture. It’s an invisible social fabric, which is there even when the managers don’t watch. Nothing happened by accident; we’ve worked on this for years. In our goals, we even have an indicator called “all partners go on holidays simultaneously”, and there’s a reason why it’s there.
  13. Soon, we will be sharing international publications. Before Christmas we received another gift: our paper “Global Value Chain Upgrading […] Case studies of Successful Innovators“ was accepted for publication by Triple Helix. We will introduce the world to the success stories of Lithuanian champions – Thermofisher, BOD Group, and Devbridge!

  14. Perhaps because I’ve already had some years in life which were much more challenging than 2020, I felt a lot of peace in my heart. 
  15. Leapfrogging (growing rapidly by skipping some of the intermediate stages of growth) happens when someone knocks you off your feet. When there’s no other choice than getting extremely creative. And this happened to my husband. In spring, he lost his job due to the pandemic but created a better one in summer. Such creative destruction happened everywhere.
  16. My world didn’t shrink. Instead, it expanded. This year, many new inspiring people have become a part of it – personalities, like-minded people, and allies. I had some opportunities to expand both my personal vision and social activities. One of the examples – I joined the board of association “Leader”.
  17. Like most of us, I spent a lot of time learning (from AI to FLOW philosophy) and learned even more in the on-the-job life course. I remembered how much I liked writing. Started dreaming even bigger.
  18. Never in my life have I spent so much time outdoors. I fully enjoyed all four seasons. Each week, I hiked through forests. The pandemic paradox: the same amount of work, but more time to do things!
  19. Human is such an adaptive creation. The office became an integral part of home. At the same time, in our families, we learned to do everything together. My mom is especially happy – we never spoke as much! We spent both Easter and Christmas apart, but our relationship has deepened significantly.
  20. And finally, even though in December it seemed like there’s work, work, and nothing else, pictures from the entire year reminded me that 2020 were just as diverse, colourful, rich in trips and experiences as any other year!

Photo credits: Armando Franca/Associated Press. The photo captures Maya Gabeira of Brazil on the biggest wave ever ridden by a woman, and the biggest wave surfed by anyone during the 2020 winter season, a first for women in professional surfing.

I feel like we all surfed that big wave of 2020, and we survived. 2021 – bring it on!