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The Great Grey Swan Debate

On October 8, Grey Swan Guild hosted its First Great Debate that shone a light on discussions people are having about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and which way the future will tilt.

For the occasion, a group of 8 thought leaders were convened, with 3 topics and 1 goal: to sensemake around challenges that really matter to people in 2020 and beyond, namely Shopping Patterns, Surveillance, and Entertainment.

The event gave place to three rounds of debating between two teams of sensemakers captained by Andrea Kates (Team Magenta) and Greg Satell (Team Gold).

(Re-)watch the Great Grey Swan Guild Debate!

The topic of the first debate revolved around two lines of argumentation: 

Will the pandemic cause us to [re?]embrace mass-produced and trusted, recognizable large brands and products, retail and commerce?


Will the pandemic cause us to love ourselves for shopping local and embracing and supporting the local economy?
The following text is the opening statement held by Sylvia Gallusser in defense of our local economy.

I argumented in favor of embracing and supporting our local economy (Read the Opening Statement), whereas my colleague Jeannette Hana defended the position of mass-production, with a focus on the availability of a wide range of products in a simple click.

Our captain Andrea Kates concluded on a very subtle comparison: similarly as in the software industry, large platforms need smaller startups to fill in the gaps and create additional features and services to contribute to the ecosystem, in the retail world, large brands need small businesses to contribute to innovation and richness of options available to consumers!

Greg Satell was mostly annoyed by his local merchants exploiting customer distress with their exorbitant prices.

As often, the reality is somewhere along the spectrum. What do you think? What is your position? What arguments would you add to the conversation? We would love to get your opinion and have you contribute to our sensemaking exercises.

We had a fantastic audience of 40 supporters at our First Great Debate. If you want to attend our next debate and even be on stage and have great fun with incredible thinkers from all over the world, now is the perfect time to join the Grey Swan Guild and its League of Sensemakers.


Published by Sylvia

Futurist - Futures Thinking & Strategic Foresight

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