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Connecting the dots

3 November, 2023

This week, we attended a talk by David Robinson, community worker, social innovator and long time friend of Good Business, to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Relationship Project, an organisation which connects people and ideas by centring the importance of relationships.

Robinson argues that there is a damaging tendency to view relationships as a ‘touchy feely’ idea. But when 6% of adults in the UK are chronically lonely, and there’s evidence to show that loneliness increases risk of premature death by 30%, it’s clear that human relationships are not just a nice to have. Rather, relationships are fundamental to our health, happiness, and resilience.

And yet, a mechanical, clinical mindset shapes the way we approach our lives and make global decisions on matters like trade, the natural world, and conflict – the irony of course being that these are all issues which rest on how we relate to one another. As Robinson notes, the ‘soul of the system’ lags behind, repeatedly failing to acknowledge the credence of relationships and connection as a legitimate answer to global questions.

It’s not that we don’t know how to support each other. Reflecting on Covid, he highlights the way in which people scrambled together to create networks of support in times of need, and how crucial these were in sustaining morale and health through trying times. But he also noted that as quickly as these systems were formed, they were dismantled too, as the approach of normality signalled a return to our individualistic lives.

Nowadays, it is far too easy to go a whole day without talking to anyone, as moments for idle chat at places like the supermarket are lost by our hunger to automate everything in pursuit of efficiency, a pattern likely to only intensify with the advent of AI. As we work with businesses to tackle global challenges, we at Good Business recognise the importance of reminding ourselves that if we’re to make any meaningful progress, establishing thorough connections is the first crucial step.

You can watch David Robinson’s talk here.

By Rosie Serlin

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