The threat of the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) Environment has become a regular feature in the consulting and change world. Disruptive change will happen in a blinding flash and, as we slowly re-open our eyes and gain focus, we will find that the bots have taken all our jobs.
But I'm sceptical.
When I consider the question of how we should prepare to organise or behave differently in a hyper-connected, digitally transformed, 'always on' world my response is:
We should hold our nerve.
VUCA is a fabulous (i.e. scary) consultancy company and business school 'sell'. But even if the world is VUCA (there is plenty of evidence to suggest that, while new technologies spread more quickly, other time-based business metrics are remarkably resilient), people are still people.
The nature of human relationship and our social engagement has proved to be remarkably enduring. Many of the questions that we ask within our Western societies go back to the ancient Greeks and, for the Eastern philosophies, much earlier. Throughout our industrial revolutions (is this version 4.0?), our wars, our economic crises and other disasters, we care, trust, love, laugh, cry, live and die much as always.
So even though we might be sharing our experiences through social media or working in our offices as we chat to an algorithm, we need to organise ourselves as though we are people who yearn for meaning, connection, recognition, purpose and happiness.
The hype might say that the world is #VUCA. But we are not.
George Monbiot on The Revolt of the Robots
A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behaviour by Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow
From 2015: The Creed of Speed in The Economist
Market Volatility is Scary - but It's Normal - The Atlantic