A newsletter that challenges binary thinking by embracing complexity, with a focus on politics and society.

Between Black and White promises:

  • Skepticism not pessimism.

  • Optimism not delusion.

  • Ideas not repudiation.

How did we get here? Where do we go from here? Everyone seems to have an answer. 

Yet so many of these answers subscribe to a predetermined narrative and way of thinking. Simplistic black and white framings that obscure complexity, as well as the diversity of our lived experiences.

But having spent my career exploring answers to the question of how we can make our future brighter than the present, I’m certain of one thing:

The best answers, ideas and solutions come from syntheses of different schools of thought rather than the extremes alone. 

This is why I’ve created Between Black and White

I invite you to join me as I search for the answers.

Between Black and White is written by me, Sunil Suri

I'm on a mission to understand how systems change happens. Change that empowers individuals and communities.

I’m Head of Ventures and Innovation at Catch22, an organisation that delivers public services across the UK. 

I work alongside innovators who are trying to create long-term solutions to intractable problems such as the rehabilitation of people with convictions, the care system and employment for those furthest from work.

I cross-post every issue on my personal website, sunilsuri.com, and you can read old posts there.

I’ve written about networks, identity, polarisation and narratives in recent months. Here are a few excerpts to give you a sample of what you’re in for:

Do you really want to consider complex social problems through a win-lose dynamic, pitting players against each other in competition? Collaborative game dynamics like the ones employed in Pandemic Legacy can help overcome this. But even then there are unintended consequences that might be unleashed in a game environment.

This national discussion we are having about racism is emblematic of a wider challenge that we in the West face. The need to reconcile values that we now believe to be universal with specific histories and cultures that are chequered with hypocrisy and ignorance of this very hypocrisy.

Solving this and avoiding the polarisation trap is not the sole responsibility of those moved by racial injustice in recent weeks. We all have work to do, but none more so than our political class. They must articulate a narrative and an accompanying agenda for societal change that enables us all to navigate a debate that is about our past, present and future all at once.

Our technology has not yet offered a path for us to overcome our polarisation and in fact, accelerates it. While our politicians seem uniquely ill-suited for the moment. Some are stuck in a bind, seeking the mythical common ground, but uncertain that it exists anymore. Others happily rally their tribe regardless of the consequences.

If you were going to design a virus that confuses our ability to act collectively, this is it. It is as if an invisible force has placed our public health on one scale and our economic well-being on the other. All the while, our policymakers frantically try to find a workable equilibrium.