“We live in a VUCA world” has been heard and read more and more recently. However, the term VUCA is by no means new and dates back to the Cold War era. There it was used by the US Army to describe the complex and “illogical” situation. Now, in the course of the digital transformation, this term seems to be finding its way back into literature. But what does it mean?

VUCA world

What does the term “VUCA World” actually mean and how is it to be interpreted? I have one approach in the blog of Complement found. VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) stands for the following:

  • V (volatility) – prepare for wild times. The challenges will be unexpected and unstable, keeping you busy for an indefinite period of time.
  • U (uncertainty) – hardly predictability, hardly predictability, potential for surprises
  • C (complexity) – no trivial “recipes”, environment cannot be simplified, non-standardized, unsolvable challenges (many influencing factors, difficult delimitation)
  • A (ambiguity) – often difficult to find cause and effect – ambiguous findings, typical: “All the facts are on the table and what does that mean now?”

Take the time to ask a quick question!

[yop_poll id=”8″]

What’s new in the VUCA world?

“A VUCA world brutally punishes inaction and indecision. Waiting and putting your hands on your lap no longer pays off, but carries extreme risks. Even if we do not take immediate action, it is still necessary to look at the problem from several perspectives and angles and to work on creative solutions immediately – even when the problem arises, “so that Management Portal . The portal also states: “A world that has become VUCA produces ambiguities due to its complexity. Their speed creates uncertainties. Planning and foresight is hardly possible. “According to some sources, a driver for this is supposed to be the digital transformation be. But how exactly this affects the VUCA world is not yet sufficiently known.

Digital transformation

Everyone is talking about digital transformation. But what does this transformation mean and why is it so “VUCA”? Luebbers sees the digital transformation from 2 perspectives:

  • Digital: change in society based on technology
  • Transformation: process with a beginning and an end

A change in society with a beginning and an end. If you want to know more about the subject, you can mine Article on digital transformation read. At first glance, this does not sound so complex and still very vaguely worded. So the question remains, what is VUCA? The Prezi from Lübbers provides some examples of this, which can be found in the illustration.

digitale Transformation
The digital transformation brings with it many aspects and trends that are rated as “complex”. (Source Luebbers , embedded from Prezi)

The figure shows that the digital transformation consists of many aspects and that we are not really aware of the interrelationships and effects. Errors cannot be ruled out and responsibility must be shared in order to reduce complexity. Certainly this figure shows only a fraction of the factors, but it turns out that this is more than just a “small” trend.

and what are we doing now?

The question in the headline arguably represents the status quo of managers. It is clear that we are in a growing VUCA world, but how do we react to it now?
In summary, the Complement sets out the following theses:

  • Everything that can be digitized will be digitized.
  • Everything that can be networked will be networked.
  • Anything that can be automated will be automated.

Overall, these theses seem a bit exaggerated and companies in particular will pay attention to digitizing with “sense” and “understanding”. But it clearly shows the direction a company should take – namely that digital change .

Applied to the world of work, it makes sense to come to terms with changes by expanding your knowledge and skills instead of burying your head in the sand. To talk to people instead of retreating into a quiet room. Thinking outside the box to identify trends ( Nicole Willnow ).

This results in the first recommendations for action for the digital transformation in the VUCA world. Some can be found in the illustration below. The author has assigned specific measures according to the criteria of VUCA. These could be used as a first guideline and must certainly be supplemented by many factors by companies. But these are definitely suitable for a first discussion approach.

VUCA Welt
Recommendations for action for the VUCA world (own illustration)

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Image-Source Titlepicture: Fotolia.de 2016 – buyed License

Author

I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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