SCIENCES & NEW TECHNOLOGIES - ECONOMY

Towards a digital transformation

OLBIOS INTERVIEW / JESSE KIRKEY

OLBIOS:  How would you describe the collective experience of the crisis in Canada and what has struck you the most about it?

Jessey Kirkey: I think everyone has a different perspective on this. Many who lost their livelihoods think they should re-open the economy irrespective of the health consequences, whereas others feel that it should remain closed until the virus is beaten (irrespective of the financial cost to society).

I think most Canadians support the government’s efforts to flatten the curve and are collectively agreed with the principles of social distancing and the desire to work together to address the issues. It’s also been really heartening to see how many companies have come together to retool and create PPE and other health equipment.

Ultimately I see this as a shining example of society doing its best to accommodate very trying times. However, I think the real test isn’t what happens now; it’s what happens in 2+ years from now when, economically, the real effects will hit our society in debt repayments and a restructured economy.

O: On a social level, has this crisis been an eye-opener and an opportunity for important insights and significant changes and lessons to be learned in many domains? Could you give one or more examples?

J.K. Right now I’m focused a lot on ‘Tech for Good’ because that’s the focus of my work in IT for an NGO. I think it’s been really encouraging to see how far the sector has come in appreciating the value of it for an NGO’s core strategy.

Internally with my organisation, digital transformation is a huge component of our strategy going forward and that’s really encouraging for me. I think most forward-thinking organisations knew that intuitively already, but this crisis has shone a light on its importance that much more significantly.

O: Tell us about your work on social entrepreneurship, positive social change issues and beyond and if you think it has or is likely to become more complex or even more relevant after the crisis.

J.K. I think that the world is always getting more complex. So yes. How…well I suppose that’s longer answer but ultimately there’s going to be a big resetting of society’s expectations towards social life, proximity and economic scarcity in the context of extreme indebtedness.

O: On a personal level, has this crisis changed your focus on what really matters and on future plans and courses of action? 

J.K.  Honestly no. Same priorities focused on social good. Some are just deferred a little as we deal with the crisis.

 
Jesse Kirkey, 
Senior Director, Ministry IT Operations & Support at World Vision.