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Danger and Opportunity

Posted on October 20, 2020


Georges next to four wheeler

This article was written by Georges Pichard, Fellow at @GBLabs. Georges wrote this article as part of the Crisis Management Cohort with Drucker Institute. Read all the articles from the cohort here. Connect with Georges on LinkedIn or Email.


Hello ELGL! My name is Georges Pichard; I am a fellow with @GBLabs, a new government innovation consultancy in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. I was born and raised in Paris, France and moved Great Barrington in 2007. I graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2018 with a BA in Premedical Studies and Theater Arts. Since graduating, I have taught high-school chemistry at Riverdale Country School in The Bronx for two years. Once COVID-19 hit, I returned to my hometown of Great Barrington and began searching for a new career opportunity. I have loved the ever-changing nature of working in local government and have felt a great sense of fulfillment in the work I do. I look forward to working more with @GBLabs and learning more from ELGL.

Participating in the Crisis Management Cohort as a fledgling organization has been a very unusual experience. Had our director tried to start a youth-centered research and marketing program before COVID-19, I doubt we would have had the same freedom/resources to effect change. Peter Drucker’s quote, “A time of turbulence is also one of great opportunity for those who can understand, accept, and exploit the new realities,” encompasses the existence of @GBLabs perfectly. Without the pandemic, my co-fellows and I would be nothing more than four frustrated college/post-college people. Our director, Joe Grochmal, seized the opportunity during this time of turbulence to make this possible. Now that we have all worked together for three months, I hope we can all seize further opportunities as a collective to ensure prosperity and longevity for this incredible program.

In considering how best to expand @GBLabs, I began thinking quite a lot about our “primary customer.” Is our work geared toward local businesses or to the Town Hall? Since (for the time being) we aren’t generating any revenue, I feel that we are not beholden to one entity over the other. However, we have provided services to both this summer, and for the sake of profitability, we should identify a primary clientele. For the time being, we have not defined our primary customer yet; however, we have developed secure connections with both groups and will keep track of which serves us better.

One final lesson I will be taking with me is the concept of a zombie program. Because we are still developing an operational infrastructure at @GBLabs, I have tried keeping the idea of planned abandonment in mind. Knowing that many future policies will be subject to scrutiny and change, I am keen on developing data tracking/institutional policy reviewal to keep @GBLabs as efficient and successful as possible. We have already utilized planned abandonment on several projects due to not having enough time, resources, or a large enough payoff.

I intend to use all of these lessons in expanding @GBLabs and in my personal life. I particularly liked the “not-to-do list,” which I have used to keep me focused at work and outside of work. I am incredibly excited to move forward with @GBLabs, and without this cohort, I would not have a conceptual understanding of how to start an organization with a solid foundation. Thank you, ELGL!

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