2020 has been an interesting year to say the least. What started as an exciting time ahead has quickly ground to a halt with the spread of COVID-19 worldwide. So how did we fare? Well, the dynamics of our work have first of all switched to home offices. What was supposed to be a year of travels and exciting things has become a reality of working from home and endless video conferences.
But as with all situations, we had a choice to make. We could either victimize ourselves, or we could use this time at home to work harder than ever, ensuring the next year will be even better. And most of all, during these difficult times, we realized the importance of supporting each other, as well as having (responsible, socially distanced) fun!
So, what did we achieve in 2020?
First of all, we managed to effectively carry on with our existing projects within both of our Brussels and Portuguese offices. For this we are forever grateful to our amazing partners and collaborators across Europe.
We have formed new partnerships for EU funded projects; we have also drafted a new strategic plan for OTB 2021-2025, focusing on Alternative Democracies, Fresh Ideas for Social Cohesion, Economy with Social Mission and Sustainability. The strategic plan will govern our next steps and activities during the planning period. On top of that, we have engaged in proactive work with the Board of Directors, Expert Pool, Financial Control Committee, as well as supplementing our office with fresh minds and great enthusiasm.
We are proud to note that we have evolved into a dynamic network with a lot of online activity. We have been approved 12 new exciting projects in line with our new priorities, ensuring not only rewarding work, but also financial stability that will allow our organisation to grow and develop.
We have established and further developed our key partnerships with organisations such as UBC, IED, EPA, CESIE, OTB, JEF, CEV, LABs, The Key, MBB, CSICY, IDEAS network, and many others.
And as the year is ending, I’m looking back and thinking of all the things that we have learned during the past extraordinary months.
We have learned of the importance of being ready to be surprised, and, of course, the necessity to keep an open mind for new opportunities when the usual pathways are blocked. We now know the importance of creativity with which we must develop our responses. We have learned of the absolute necessity of empathy and solidarity, be it long working hours or encouraging one to look for ways to express anger, frustration and sadness. And most of all, we have learned that there is always a need for more “Out of the Box” approaches and solutions.
I wish you a successful, “Out of the Box” 2021!
CEO and Founder