Karen Judd Smith
The United Nations is a unique socio-political technology with a pivotal role in global peace and security. However, having evolved from the vestiges of World War II, the UN is in urgent need of an upgrade if it is to remain relevant and capable of providing meaningful engagement in the 21st-century. While most of us think that significant change is difficult, Dr. Smith believes this one false assumption often prevents us from making the changes we most urgently need. In this book, she outlines a 3D model that utilizes her research into and development of “transilient leadership.” The vectors of leadership in her model provide a fascinating understanding of the mindset and practice needed in this century to successfully engage personal and organizational change. She then combines her insights with a corporate strategy for responding to market challenges with an essential tweak for the United Nations context. These two concepts converge in a social technology innovation that she describes as “meta-nets,” (small well-chosen networks tasked with reframing today’s global threats as potent opportunities for the UN to more vigorously engage its fundamental mandate, advancing the greater good of all humanity). All too often, our larger social institutions are sluggish about, even resistant, to change, but this need not, must not, be the case, The United Nations can enact meaningful change by engaging transilient leadership and meta-net strategies. While many lament the impact of the exponential rate of technical innovations, Dr. Smith sees a different way forward and her clarity about the urgency of taking strategic steps now, not later, is fresh and bold. Her many years of interaction at the UN has conveyed to Dr. Smith an optimistic and realistic perspective that pursuit of the innovations she proposes here will unlock the UN and unleash its latent ability to play a more vital role in addressing and resolving global crises.The alternative is stark, a world where effective leadership at the highest levels falters and fails, and we the people are left to our own lesser devices. There is no better time than right now to decrypt the keys to unlock the UN in order to fulfill the global role with which it has been entrusted.