Orchestrating Systems-Level Change in the Battle Against COVID-19
Jeff Walker and English Sall, Stanford Social Innovation Review
"The news in December 2020 was filled with hopeful stories about the arrival of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Yet the end of the pandemic remains a significant distance away. As of today, no group or institution—no corporation, business consortium, government entity, or international agency—can single-handedly design and implement a system to provide the vaccine to all seven billion people on Earth. In the United States, the lack of planning for vaccine delivery may be even more stark: While the United States is mounting the largest vaccination development effort in history, there is a serious lack of strategy for building trust and for distributing the vaccine, especially to the most-marginalized and highest-risk populations. Meanwhile, enormous problems driven by the ongoing spread of the virus—including shortages of vital medical equipment, overwhelmed hospital emergency rooms, and the massive human suffering resulting from shut down businesses and schools—continue to fester.
When we face a problem this big and this complicated, people and organizations must work together to diagnose it, then design, plan, implement, and coordinate disparate activities across every social and economic sector to solve it. In other words, we need to build coalitions that can create systems-level change."
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