I stumbled upon this term via a twitter mention: VUCA, standing for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
VUCA is an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. The common usage of the term VUCA began in the late 1990s and derives from military vocabulary and has been subsequently used in emerging ideas in strategic leadership that apply in a wide range of organizations, including everything from for-profit corporations to education.
The deeper meaning of each element of VUCA serves to enhance the strategic significance of VUCA foresight and insight as well as the behavior of groups and individuals in organizations.
- V = Volatility. The nature and dynamics of change, and the nature and speed of change forces and change catalysts.
- U = Uncertainty. The lack of predictability, the prospects for surprise, and the sense of awareness and understanding of issues and events.
- C = Complexity. The multiplex of forces, the confounding of issues and the chaos and confusion that surround an organization.
- A = Ambiguity. The haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, and the mixed meanings of conditions; cause-and-effect confusion.
I see this mindset as critical for business today.
I think the complexity dimension is larger and more far-reachgin that the definition above does justice to, honestly. In a world increasingly networked, seemingly innocuous activities in one corner of the marketplace can be amplified in unpredictable ways: that’s the nature dynamic non-linear complex systems.