Guest Article By Resel Melville T he effects of the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic combined with the ever-present risk of climate-related hazard impacts in the Caribbean, create a context in which volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) are being experienced both at the individual and organisational levels. The critical realisation is that we have been catapulted into a strange new world that was considered to be farther away for some than it was for others – a future in which technology with its potential for facilitating meaningful work, creativity and sustainable production, and efficient delivery of goods and services, is inextricably embedded in productive processes. We have seen rapid deployment of ICTs to track and combat the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, preserve jobs through telework, continue education via remote/online learning to keep persons connected, deliver essential goods and services and drive new services. Conversely, the present situation also highlights the width and depth of the digital divide within and between nations. It has brought into focus persistent problems and vulnerabilities faced by our Caribbean countries stemming from flaws and failings of interdependent national and international political and economic systems. Resel Melville Although many Caribbean governments took unprecedented and immediate decisions to address the social and economic impact of the pandemic, (prioritising the protection of lives and preservation of livelihoods), several suffered political fallout due to slow implementation and inefficient operationalisation. The need for swift action was hampered in some jurisdictions by inflexible bureaucratic structures in some public sector organisations, difficulties in adapting existing processes and procedures or innovating to meet the new or increased demands, insufficient IT capacity and inadequate human and financial resources. In several ways, the pandemic put a spotlight on the persistent gaps between the current state of our public sector organisations and the vision for a “Resilient, 21st Century Public Sector in the Caribbean.” The current ‘VUCA’ world needs ‘resilient’ leaders, persons with the courage and competencies to confront, accept, quickly recover and adapt to the now present ‘future’ Achieving the vision “is all about the right systems, right skills, right leadership and a culture conducive to change.” (Warrington, 2018). The current “VUCA” world needs “resilient” leaders – persons with the courage and competencies to confront, accept, quickly recover and adapt to the now present ‘future’. Drawing on evolving practice and lessons learnt as a project manager for development interventions in the Caribbean, the following are among the specific models, mind-sets, competences and tools which I believe must be adopted and proactively used by leaders and managers, as we transition from “crisis response” into recovery and rapidly progress towards national visions of resilience and sustainable development. A Human-centred Approach The 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work (FOW) calls on members to take a human-centred approach to the FOW, “one that puts workers’ rights and the needs and aspirations and rights of all people at the heart of economic, social and environmental policies.” The IDB likewise in its recent discussions on the future of work, argues that ICTs are leading the world to “a human-centric economy”.  Continues on next page 2

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