I must admit that while the circumstances we are in have given us all the gift of time with our families, the likes of which we all probably never imagined, they have also given us enormous amounts of time for lots of other activities. While all of us are figuring just how to spend or invest that time, it is difficult to avoid those moments when the latest DYI project is complete, the latest cooking show is done, recipe attempted and meal accomplished, the latest book is done, the latest gardening project completed or the driving range has closed. It is in those times that reflection just naturally takes over.

Early on in this pandemic, it seemed like all of the thinking was about “getting back to normal.” Then, a couple of months in, we realized this was not a short-term challenge. That’s when we came up with terms like “today’s normal” or “new normal” or “next normal.” We talked about Groundhog’s Day, and wondered just what tomorrow would look like. Believe it or not, this was an important step; because, we began to look into the future instead of the comfortable past.

New Realities Invite us to “Reflect on the Future”

Once that step was taken, it wasn’t a long trip to reflect on the future we could create under these new circumstances. A future that recognizes the minimal control we actually have on some of the things around us; but, also recognizes with amazing clarity those things that we can control.

This is the process we are going through at the Chamber, too. You likely recall messages I have written that reference Greater Omaha 2040, a vision process and document that we completed in 2017. That seems like such a long time ago! Yet, the plan we developed told us of a preferred future where Omaha was an even better place twenty years hence!

Even with our crystal ball turned up to full power, we were not able to predict a world -wide pandemic, or the civil unrest around race relations and national politics we are seeing today. As a result, such reflection has led us to questions that can only be answered with additional analysis. “What if some of the foundational underpinnings of Greater Omaha 2040 were inaccurate? With different assumptions, would our priorities moving forward be different? Would we pace our activities differently? Would new directions become obvious?”

Greater Omaha 2040 Reaffirms Commitment to Dynamic Tomorrow

We are on a path to figure that out. Over the next several weeks we will be working with futurist Rebecca Ryan, Next Generation Consulting, to assess the original assumptions of Greater Omaha 2040, and then report on findings and possible next steps. Once again, we will be partnering with the United Way of the Midlands and the Urban League of Nebraska. And, we have added a new partner, the Latino Center of the Midlands. Together with a few hundred individuals representing thousands of other Nebraskans and Iowans from this region we will reaffirm our commitment to a dynamic future of this region and report back to you what we find. This will be exciting, and important work guiding our efforts moving forward.

I hope all is going well with you, and that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Let us know if the chamber can be helpful.



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