Webinar: Wise Societies — A call for Wisdom in the post-pandemic world

We have gathered the data, we need to cultivate the wisdom.

Can societies be wise?

Experiences of the pandemic — both why it happened and how it was handled — ring alarm bells for many of us. 

Judging by today’s standards, societies are far from wise. Individuals hold this trait almost exclusively. Yet, our public intellectual culture enables noise instead of focusing it through powerful ideas. Social media has given more ground to populism than accountability. Crisis management — as with the health crisis — can rely heavily on rhetoric instead of expertise. In the meantime, the institutions that should instill wisdom, like schools, fail to do so, prioritizing efficiency over depth. With the acceleration of technology, we gather information and data much faster than we reflect on how to use it.

In many ways, wisdom has become irrelevant, at a time when it’s most needed.  

Demos Helsinki held an online event on May 5th, at 12 pm BST, where our Fellow Geoff Mulgan presented a new definition for wisdom, through his latest paper, Loops for Wisdom.

With this new definition, our societies can grow wiser. How? Together we explored some essential and practical applications of wisdom that can help us steer our future, for example:

  • What processes activate learnings and facilitate growth
  • How we can cultivate wisdom in the institutions that matter
  • How to reach consensus through collective capabilities 

We were joined by panelists who are driving transformation in the realms of governance, business, representation, and community building: 

  • Panthea Lee, Executive Director, Reboot
  • Niko Soininen, Professor of Environmental Law & Water Law, University of Eastern Finland
  • Sylvie Barbier, Artist; Co-founder, Life Itself
  • Sampo Hietanen, CEO and founder, MaaS

We want to thank everyone for attending and having this conversation. Your feedback shows that there is a clear hunger to go back to basics as we reflect on the health crisis and prepare for the many challenges ahead.

There is a fair, sustainable, and joyful future ahead of us. Let’s not miss our chance to get there together.


For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out: 

Angeliki Vourdaki 


Matt Mitchell