Digital evolution in times of VUCA

15 ožujka, 2021

Agility, order of the hour

Covid-19 has been giving all of us a taste of the VUCA world: Exponentially rising case numbers, new and partly contradictory messages and behavior rules on a daily basis, radically reduced predictability. “Running on sight” is the name of the game. At the time this article is published, it is still unclear where this journey will lead us. That is why as a result of the Corona crisis, the VUCA paradigm is experiencing entirely new relevancy and is increasingly moving into the focus of attention. This begs the question of which strategy is advisable in times of volatility and complexity. It is precisely with digital evolution that companies can overcome these uncertainties.

Digital evolution versus disruption

Innovations and new developments are of course important, but we should not forget that experience is also a valuable asset in technology. Harvard professor Clayton Christensen is known as the inventor of the theory of disruptive innovation. According to Christensen, digital disruption describes a process in which an established technology or service is displaced by an innovation. Established companies however may quickly fail with this concept of a fresh start, as it means going back to zero and as a result brings with it an increased need for capital. Digital evolution, on the other hand, takes an approach that is executed with considerably less risk, and with its dynamism is no doubt an important driver of changes in the VUCA world.

Origin and challenge of the VUCA world

With the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s, the acronym VUCA acquired its first meaning. Composed of the terms volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, it very accurately described the state of the multilateral world that had emerged with the end of the Cold War (see [BeL14, MKK16]). A consideration of volatile and uncertain times of crisis (Fig. 1) further points to the highly explosive potential of future crises. Questions about the disruptive digitization, refugee crises, the worsening of the energy crisis, the rising climate catastrophe, as well as the consequences of BREXIT and the advancing deglobalization are of major concern to people in their living and working environments.

This inevitably leads to...

Read the full article in the DOAG Business News 02/2021 (article in German).

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