immunize for complexity

Have you heard the term VUCA? It comes from the 1990’s but is still in use to describe the complex and chaotic world of business, politics, and technology.

  • Volatility
  • Uncertainty
  • Complexity
  • Ambiguity

Peter Hinnsen, in The Network Always Wins, describes the antidote to VUCA as VACINE.

  • Velocity
  • Agility
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Network [Thinking]
  • Experimentation

Velocity & Agility

Velocity and agility can be improved at the organizational level with frameworks, such as Niels Pflaeging’s Organize for Complexity approach.

Image: Niels Pflaeging

Creativity & Innovation

As we moved from morality to responsibility one hundred years ago, are we now shifting from responsibility to creativity? Open human structures enable transparent knowledge sharing, which fosters innovation from a diversity of perspectives. Innovation emerges from organizations that promote experimentation.

Network Thinking & Experimentation

Finally, network thinking is developed through practice, such as personal knowledge mastery, as well as shared mental models at the organizational level. Therefore, VACINE is not a checklist but rather a confirmation of a networked workplace in balance. In a VUCA world, organizations need to focus on velocity of implementation and learning, as well as agility in dealing with uncertainty. Enabling experimentation and engaging with networks (Connectivity Networks, Alignment Networks, & Productivity Networks) ensures an understanding of the changing VUCA world. In such an organizational environment,  engaged, autonomous, and connected people can then do the creative work that drives innovation.



6 Responses to “immunize for complexity”

  1. Clark Quinn

    Harold, couldn’t be in more agreement about most of this, but the pressure for velocity worries me a bit. While we want to be fast, I want to get there by agility and innovations etc. One of the recognitions that comes from research on innovation is that it takes time, and pressure can interfere. Am I misinterpreting something?

    • Harold Jarche

      I don’t see it as pressure for going fast (velocity), but rather a need to keep up with the pace of change, Clark. It reflects the spirit of perpetual beta.

  2. Mariano Sbert

    Muy acertado Harold!. A mi también me preocupa la velocidad, todo necesita su tiempo.
    Entiendo que hay que ser ágiles en las respuestas pero necesitan ser fundamentadas. O no?

    • Harold Jarche

      Velocity does not mean speed without direction, in my opinion, Mariano. It needs to be reflective of the environment.

  3. Nadia von Holzen

    Dear Harold, it needs both – velocity and unhurried moments – as you say change has its pace or rhythm, and so we have to find our rhythm to deal with change and finding novel ideas… Best, Nadia


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