3. Defining a safe space for all of us

The Gap Frame is inspired by the idea of a “safe operating space” as developed by Raworth (2012). Her model suggests that there is certain safe space within which humanity must operate, considering both outer planetary boundaries (Rockström et al, 2009) as well as certain minimum levels of social requirements to ensure that all 9 billion citizens can live well on the one planet we have (WBCSD, 2010).

Consequently, rather than a 0 – 10 points scale with 10 representing the ideal value to be achieved, we define the “safe space” lying between a minimum required value and a sufficient value. Applying the commonly used 80/20 rule, we locate the “safe space” at the distance of approx. 80% of the ideal state and have defined a range of 75-88% as the lower and upper measures for the safe space.

Threat (0 – 5): Any issue with a value resulting from the average of the underlying indicators below 5 is considered a burning issue that represents a threat for that country and humanity: significant improvement and urgent attention is needed to drive change towards the ideal value.

Critical (5.1 – 6.6): Any issue with values between 5.1 and 6.6 is considered as a critical and risky for humanity, therefore, an immediate action needs to be undertaken to improve the current situation.

Watchlist (6.7 – 7.4): Any issue with an average value of 6.7 or more is considered as being on the watch list. We defined a zone that is close to safe space indicating that this issue needs closer examination locally to determine if things are indeed moving in the right direction

Safe space (7.5 – 8.8): Using the logic of the 80/20 principle, we define a range around the 80% mark of the values generated (from 7.5 to 8.8) that defines what we can safely call a “safe space”. It does not represent the maximum or ideal value of a given indicator or issue but can be considered as “good enough” in the context of these 4 dimensions.

Towards ideal (8.9 – 10): Any value above 8.8 is considered approaching an ideal state, which we do not particularly highlight in order for stakeholders to spend the commonly known 80% of efforts required to advance the last 20% to perfection. We rather want to draw the attention on those issues that need urgent action (below 6.6).