How to overthrow the crisis king’s crown (CORONA) on March 23, 2023
It was exactly three years ago that the small team from Thinking Circular was sitting together at the crisis meeting concerning the corona situation. And like some crises, whether Chernobyl, the forest decline, Fukushima, the climate crisis or the financial crisis of 2008, the Corona crisis has burned itself into the minds of the employees. What is not longer part of the team in 2023 is the fear of another crises. Only one thing is certain: the next crisis is bound to come. What has remained, what has been consolidated, is a different way of thinking, acting and living to deal with the crises in a resilient manner.
The word “corona” comes from Latin and means crown. At that time our small team decided to simply overthrow the crisis king. In any case, we wanted to do our part to flatten the infection curve of the corona virus. We committed ourselves to flexible working at home and short-time work. In 2023, everyone survived and raised antibodies. And we realize that our culture of rethinking is an effective antibody that builds resilience. But how did we do it? Our motto REthink and REsolve was an approach. And we wanted to put an end to the stress of constantly having to reinvent everything. Emotionally, this was stabilizing enormously. However, rethinking was essential. What followed was a referral of what CORONA actually means.
The CORONAL level is the so-called frontal level and describes what is just in front of us. If you don’t want to be in constant CORONAL emotional stress, you have to change the level, the perspective. Following this logic, we immersed ourselves in the so-called sagittal (= parallel) level and to the transversal level, which also exist. We wanted to enter these three dimensions because we humans are familiar with them. We can overview them. Height, width and depth in the room are known dimensions to everyone. Some physicists even speak of 8 dimensions, but our experiment should not go that far.
Is it a coincidence that the two terms “coronal” and “corona” fall together? Rather not. Because a crisis is always about firstly solving problems on the surface. If Thinking Circular would have stayed on the coronal level (symbolic: y-axis), the company would have only dealt with the negative effects of the corona virus.
Instead, Thinking Circular tried out the other two levels. What are tasks of the sagittal level (symbolic: z-axis) and the transverse level (symbolically x-axis) that go hand in hand with digging into these two dimensions? To find out, you have to look at what is behind the term “Corona”.
There are actually many positive terms in connection with the word “Corona”. For example the heart. Because “coronarius” means coronary arteries (Latin “corona” means both, crown and wreath – both closed loops). What does the corona situation mean to our hearts? The goal seems clear. The heart needs to be strengthened. Be kept alive. What else does the word Corona mean to us? A connection to the climate crisis? So we dared a play on words:
It doesn’t matter whether it’s the corona or the climate crisis. The circular economy would be a beneficial remedy for both crises.
What else fits into the word corona? A historic anthropogenic word. A connection to people?
Crises create confinement. But they also create closeness. Sven Schumacher sings in his song: We want to get up, approach each other, learn from each other, deal with each other. For Thinking Circular, this experience has shaped the last three years after the corona crisis.
How does a new way of thinking, acting and living develop to make such experiences possible at all? One last word game – Corona also stands for:
In summary, all of this can be found in the word corona: strengthening the heart, building up a regional and circular economy, cooperating with others and helping each other, training circular cognition. That was and is our mission.
When our author looks up from her laptop in 2023 and looks at the central dashboard in the office, she can see the live current project progress. The health risk of the individual projects is “green”. The projects that were lost in the Corona crisis were all realized subsequently. And not only that, Thinking Circular has worked on establishing the circular economy as a solution to future crises, resulting in more and more projects and customers after the corona crisis.
Our author looks around. In the office, the others are in a mood of optimism. It’s 1 p.m. – lunch break. As they go out, they meet the team of FZ Recycling, the partner of Thinking Circular, in the stairwell, with whom many exciting projects have been realized, especially in the past two years. When the teams work together, two worlds meet here: solid technology meets creative think tank. The connection: a green multiverse. And while both teams have grown considerably over the past three years to pursue their common mission of expanding the multiverse, the team is now realizing its goals as planned. FZR has gained team support in the technical area. Thinking Circular has remained true to its ideals and has hired a colorful mix of young and of experienced people. The mixture unites a lot of future: young employees having their future ahead them and less young but a lot experienced employees willing to use this experience for their common future. FZ Recycling has recruited a total of five additional team members. Thinking Circular hired a total of four. All of them green pirates who steer the ship together even through windy times.
Downstairs in the kitchen they all cavort like busy bees preparing lunch. The dashboard shows the weekly meal plan, mainly including ingredients from the own garden. And while some team members go out to get herbs, our author notices today’s date. It’s almost three years ago. The cornerstone for a corporate culture of solidarity was laid in the company agreement of 18.03.2020. While most company agreements begin with legal paragraphs, the Thinking Circular team decided to make a commitment. To stand up for each other and use the crisis to strengthen resilience.
When our author comes back from the garden with Ribwort, Giersch and Yarrow, she is amazed looking at the result of this crisis meeting: There is a colorful bunch of competent lateral thinkers in the kitchen, all of whom roll up their sleeves to snip the local vegetables. And by no means only then. Today, the culture of Thinking Circular is shaped by cooperation and resilience, optimism and solution thinking and by teamwork instead of loneliness.
The narrative from above is symbolic: In order to avoid future crises, Thinking Circular was founded to work on establishing the circular economy.
The loop closes, thoughts circle. Maybe that’s it. Training the brain on circular cognition. And to write our own future