The start of a New Year is often the cause of a swell of optimism and resolving to take advantage of opportunity. Certainly most people think that 2021 couldn’t be any worse than 2020. And as a natural optimist, I am certainly looking forward to that challenge. So I will reveal to you my three New Year’s Resolutions for 2021.
- Learn from the positives from 2020. Much of our experience of COVID was negative. Change was forced on us. But we were all probably more resilient than we thought we could be. And we learned to do business differently. I enjoy contact with real people and would be happy if I never had to do a Teams webinar again. But we did reach more people than we normally can. So we will never truly go back to events that are only in-person. Hybrid is with us to stay.
I have certainly also learnt a lot about wellbeing and how to build that into everything we do as an organisation. Being kind to ourselves and to others is another feature of 2020 that I hope we don’t lose.
- Show what the UK and Norway are truly capable of. Two countries with enormous synergies, sharing geography and culture, used to doing business together, there isn’t any reason why Norway and the UK cannot continue to develop complementary economies: users and consumers of goods and services that each other need. We trust standards each side of the North Sea, we admire innovation, and we work well together.
Brexit introduced some doubt into the minds of many in Norway that the UK could turn away from Europe. But with the framework now set, and a UK-EEA Free Trade Agreement on the horizon, I trust that people will have seen that the UK is determined to maintain traditional partnerships and to continue to be an innovative, trading economy.
- Celebrate success. There was a lot of doom and gloom in the news last year. I don’t think we speak up enough when we see good things happening. So when I see world-beating UK-Norwegian innovation on electric flight or hydrogen industrial plants, I want to tell people about it. Similarly when I see small companies successfully bringing great products to the export market, those stories deserved to be too. And we should also be clear that we are confident in each other’s economies as investment continues both sides of the North Sea.
New Year’s resolutions always take a bit of work and effort to keep up. But these three are worth it and like many of you do every single day, I intend to put energy into them throughout 2021. Happy 2021!
Editorial by Richard Wood, British Ambassador to Norway.