Surviving and Thriving in a VUCA World


Since modern humans evolved, we have developed the ability to learn from each other, creating the possibility of cumulative cultural evolution.

Early humans were both biologically and socially motivated to adopt certain social traits, which societies began to codify into sanctions and rewards. These increased the success of individuals and societies who trusted each other, cooperated and functioned well in groups. Over the course of history, there has been an emergence of larger and increasingly complex social systems that involve economic, religious and political components. The modern forces of globalization are but the most recent manifestation of this trajectory.

Nowadays, individuals and organizations need to learn faster than ever about the costs and benefits of different behaviors in a global environment that is marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). Understanding multiple local and global contexts, and being able to work within and across these contexts while deriving sustainable value for stakeholders, is an important way that people and organizations can obtain consistent strategic and business results. Thus, adaptive capability is key to surviving and thriving in a VUCA world.  

This is precisely what the Cultural Orientations Approach (COA) is about: mindfully and purposefully harnessing the ability to create new cultural contexts in order to better adapt and respond to the VUCA forces of our world.

Karen Walch