Design Thinking & the Uncertain​ Future VUCA

Competition is increasing, and there is a greater chance of differentiation, as long as it is quickly acted upon to identify the opportunities offered by changes each day. We are facing the uncertain, and every day we are more exposed to new and complete challenges.

The term VUCA originated with the War College of the United States Army to describe the conditions resulting from the Cold War. Since then, the VUCA concept has been adopted by companies and organizations in many industries and sectors to guide leadership and strategic planning in all areas of the business; It has even adapted to the creation of competencies for the survival of the employees in the companies that live vertiginous changes.

The companies are immersed in a VUCA environment and are affected by two main variables:

How much do we know about a specific situation?

And to what extent can we anticipate the outcome of our actions?

The new management model called V.U.C.A. (volatility acronym — Uncertainty — Complexity — Ambiguity or, translated, volatility — uncertainty — complexion — ambiguity) is an exponential version of the relative management model.

They differ in that VUCA introduces volatility and ambiguity as essential elements, at the same level as uncertainty and complexity.

Both models refer to risk management in an uncertain world of soft power.

VUCA = volatile. Where we are faced with a brutal and unprecedented increase in the type or nature of the changes, in their speed, in their volume or quantity, and their magnitude or size. Other drivers of this volatility and turbulence are digitization, connectivity, trade liberalization, global competition, and widespread disruptions in existing business models, migrations that are causing the rupture of Social patterns in human communities.

Another super important part is the social reality (the market and the new consumers) that move at a speed that does not always coincide with the agility shown by the business structures and much less the products or services. Most companies are thinking about how to keep their products from the past in the present, And they look completely out of a promising future.

VUCA = uncertain (Uncertainty). We are faced with the absence of predictability of events. Volatility makes it very complicated to anticipate the future. Almost no one had foreseen Lopez’s triumph in Mexico or the immigration of citizens from the far South countries in America to the United States.

Uncertainty makes it very difficult to anticipate future events based on past games, the acceleration marked by volatility causes a lack of predictability and a profound uncertain moment when not knowing how and what factors will develop and how we They’re going to affect. The Influenza epidemic in Europe’s older adults this winter 2018 can change the way the health system and the economy move.

What level of uncertainty are we able to support in our business, professional, political, social and even personal environments?

VUCA = Complex Or widespread confusion that is always present in today’s world, which envelops every business environment and which causes analysis paralysis. (some models also include chaotic, making the acronym VUCCA). In a connected world, any problem has multiple causes some of which may be out of our control.

It is becoming more and more complicated to understand the relationship between different elements that interact with each other when the connection between the cause-effect chain lost, which generates a cluster of confusion at all levels of communication and of course destroys the Organizational strategy.

VUCA = ambiguous. The null clarity about what an event means.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to specify what is happening in reality and there are more possible meanings in the conditions surrounding that reality — associated with the lack of clarity that gives rise to diverse interpretations. Similarity of conditions causes different and obvious consequences… several solutions.

Leading directly to inefficiency with a high dose of insecurity that can be one of the leading causes of conflict in organizations.

• Design Thinking and the premises of the future:

• The ambiguity associated with the lack of clarity in the exposure of the problem that gives rise to interpretations. (Value proposition)

• The same conditions cause different consequences when applying the Design Thinking methodology.

• You never get the same result; This is the result of moments of interaction, understanding of decision failure or decision making errors. (Co-creation)

• There is no Design Thinking for everything and much less for everyone. (Exponential Business)

• No recipe always works for everyone; There are so many Design Thinking methodologies as stars on the horizon… Which one is right for you?

• It is increasingly difficult to specify what happens in reality (day by day) and there are more possible meanings in the conditions surrounding that reality. (Moonshot Thinking).

• This ambiguity can also be understood as the inability to accurately conceptualize threats and opportunities before it is too late.

1. Some Ideas today we must put on the table about the dichotomy Design Thinking VUCA:

2. * The agile wins the big.

3. * Bread for today and hunger for tomorrow. (companies working to survive today… without thinking about the future).

4. * Each person is unique (client) and requires differentiation.

5. * Shared leadership. No pyramidal structure

6. * No one to “work for”; Now he’s “working with.”

7. * What we do defines what we are.

8. * The digital revolution in our private lives and how we are preparing for the future.

Design Thinking speaks of perseverance, to maintain a continuous effort to reach our goal and to seek solutions to the difficulties that will arise along the way. As well as the ability to confront frustration and our adaptability and flexibility, knowing how to overcome and grow in adversity; So it is one of the best allies when applying VUCA in organizations.

This scenario of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and inherent ambiguity in the business world is here to stay, is the “Today” of every one of us, and its intensity will be increasing.

The competencies and skills of the future present them Bob Johansen CEO of the Institute for the future, in his book The Leaders Make the future:

• Addressing volatility with a correct vision of the future (V).

A proactive attitude that works to design our own future, not to confront those who believe others.• Facing uncertainty with knowledge, training, constant updating, is definitive with understanding (U).With intelligence, education, and empathy managing talent by stimulating teamwork and collaborative skills.

• Provide clarity, simplicity, and simplicity in the execution of tasks and actions within the Organization ©.

The company that better informed is, that better information system and translation of the data in knowledge possesses, will have more possibilities.

• To end the ambiguity with agility, with a rapid reaction to the unforeseen events that occur and that threaten the strategic planning of the Organization (a).

Companies must move their traditional structures, with vertical structures and rigid and stagnant culture, towards less rigid models as well as continuous updating and Agility in learning agility, essential to adapt to the constant changes in the environment and its new demands

Facing a VUCA environment:

• Be Knowmad.

• Betting on digital transformation.

• Work with Exponential business methodologies.

• Keep in view that VUCA is an “external saboteur.”

• Build a versatile and “light footprint” organization.

• Operating in the VUCA world but not victims of the VUCA world.

• Being innovative, adaptable and with the ability to reinvent.

Caro Salazar

ceo@designthinking.today

Design Thinking Institute

Global CDO

I believe that design is a tool for creating a better understanding between people and products, thinking about our future world, and creating unobtrusive yet.