Charlie Helen Robinson


It has been a long year.

This year’s predictions post unearths what we have just been through, in fact are still going through, in order to provide the foundation for my thoughts. It was needed and as we say, unprecedented.

Calm the farm

One of my favourite sayings for 2020. Calm the farm. Seriously.

One. Step. Forward.

In the 2020 predictions post I wrote, “The use of social media is more common place and everyday lives are today very much entwined in social networking and online communities engaging in social conversations” was true, but what we found in 2020 was social media and digital technologies coming into their own as saviours across many levels.

Whether that be to provide a regular service ie shopping for retail therapy and ordering supermarket food, or to provide a health service, such as via telehealth requirements due to social distancing.

While we think it has been a crap year, there have been worse and South Australia has fared better than most, so we are very blessed.

The title for the worst year in history is apparently held by the year 536 AD.

Medieval historian, Michael McCormick stated “it was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year.” (Science Magazine, Ann Gibbons, 2018). Quote reference:

On a personal note, mum passing was crap. She gave me my advocacy direction and purpose and so while the stress of being a family carer has gone, the vulnerabilities of grief arrived.

Digital awakening

Processing mum’s end of life COULD have been better handled if more companies were geared to supporting families electronically. Some companies handled it well… others fumbled.

In fact, the response to businesses adapting this year has been most striking. Some adjusted their sails and paddled full steam ahead, others sunk.

Humans adapting to electronic interactions was also striking – as it was exhausting.

“The energetic and emotional difference of how it feels to be a “sage on the stage” through video is a topic of many conversations in the speaking and events industry. It is also worthy of a deeper look. For sixty minutes my brain was working at the absolute maximum ability to multi-task, tell a coherent story, leave no silences, and keep it all feeling fun, smooth and natural.” Quote reference:

Gartner’s Technology Hype Cycle came into play with the emergence of Telehealth and QR Codes. One on the innovation curve and the other on the slope of enlightenment. I feel a lot of the angst and nervousness about digital technology has stemmed from traditional views.

It goes without saying that digital integration into healthcare has a little way to go, but from a recent “This Pathological Life” Podcast, Dr Michelle Perugini says, “it’s a little like where we were back in the late 90’s trying to grabble with internet banking, it’s going to happen, so we need to deal with it.”

Pockets of time

Increased amounts of consumer data exposure, fake news and videos, and biased AI, have caused organisations to shift from trusting central authorities (government registrars, clearing houses) to trusting algorithms. Algorithmic trust models ensure the privacy and security of data, provenance of assets, and the identities of people and things. Quote reference:

So, what does this say about the consumer?

It is a year where ‘ProSocial’ came to the fore.

Prosocial behaviours are those intended to help other people. These actions are characterized by a concern for the rights, feelings, and welfare of other people. Behaviors that can be described as prosocial include feeling empathy and concern for others. Quote reference:

Living in rhyme

How many times did we hear “we are all in this together”?

So many times people started to think it was a Puratap commercial and asked for the messaging to change. It was heartening reassurance to be frank ie that we were all in it together – however we need to push forth with ways to support the isolated, lonely, disadvantaged and disabled if we are to win this game well.

I feel an enormous sense of relief that the ProSocial focused individuals came to the fore and began innovating, thinking and acting. We will see more of this in 2021; the momentum is already in full swing.

What I hope for, is that the not for profit and charity sectors, who typically look after the marginalised and/or the disadvantaged, will be swept up in this cycle of innovation and grass roots support. It would be a good thing that these sectors become “trendy”. Dare I say it, yes I do.

What about the health consumer?

There were NO social media pictures of people with covid-19 for the majority of 2020, indicating a seriousness not previously experienced. Instead, there were motivational style and uplifting posts to reassure each other. Will this continue? The kindness trend is a good thing.

What has been emerging this past month are, what you would call, suppression orders.

The first appearance of this style of suppression was confirmed out of American, citing Trump as being the source of media blockage, however attention turned to England and the NHS. Very disappointing.

Dear London journalists, Please go to London hospitals and report what is happening and why. Ben White (@drbenwhite) Ref:

We all know supressing news from the public never ends well…

As I have previously written, we have been using the social medias to share and have conversations for years, and we (humans) break down barriers when we share through visualisation. It is why we all eventually “get it”. We also love a good story (gossip), and many people’s journeys are a lot more interesting or exciting than our own (or so we believe).

In the case of COVID-19, it would help with public messaging through sheer impact and conversation.

Making it work

During 2020, the Consumer Health Forum of Australia (CHF) established the Consumer Commission: Beyond COVID-19. As a result, on 23 November 2020, a final report from the Consumer Commission was launched ‘Making Health Better Together’

It says, “while Australia’s response to COVID-19 has worked well overall, there have been some significant challenges and many lessons. The lived experiences of consumers, families and carers are just as critical to informing our understanding of what has happened as service use

The Commissioners met on six occasions and exchanged views and ideas across a range of issues from consumer leadership to mental health, as well as integration, digital health and health equity.

The key issues discussed in these deliberations are drawn together into a set of diagnoses, prescriptions and recommendations in the final report.

Report link:

Little plans forever

“I am strong, I am invincible,” encapsulates its powerful message.

The song found its audience as the women’s liberation movement took off across the world. It went to number one on the US charts in October 1972, and number two on the Australian charts in 1973. Quote reference:

Helen Ready left us in 2020.

She left a world stronger because of what she strove to achieve.

She left a world better because of the women she inspired.

She left the world before my mum.

I am grateful my mum didn’t have another loss such as Helen’s.

I fear that in 2021, grieving will be spoken about more and, it is a subject that the social media platforms can help with. The (social good) good natured are perfect to help with loneliness, isolation and grief… if we just calm the farm and be kind.

With another year of uncertainly ahead of us, I feel we will see more change, more digital innovation and more strength to those who can adjust their sails and fly with the change that will be needed.

Are you Ready?


Charlie would love to start the conversation with you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s