Thriving through Empathy in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world


Technology continues to irrevocably alter the global landscape creating a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. In a world of intricately intertwined dynamic networks, competing or differing interpretations of contexts, and rapidly iterating technology, the world’s need for empathy is paramount. Looking at this VUCA environment through the framework of creative destruction, innovations developed due to this accelerated technologically-driven landscape will continue to be rapidly disrupted by new technologies, with new methods of production and of distribution making the old ones obsolete, much as the railroad system decimated the canal and turnpike systems. In the 21stcentury, the pace of innovation has accelerated. This dynamic VUCA ecosystem challenges leaders but at the same time offers a great number of opportunities. Through advances in technology, the world and its multitude of cultures are more accessible, enabling people to witness events as they are happening, even if thousands of miles away. Furthermore, with organizations like SpaceX working to transport anyone in the world to any location within minutes, gaining proximity will no longer be a barrier in this VUCA landscape. In the face of this ever-shrinking geographical gap, empathy is a driver of impact. The uncertain nature of this volatile environment not only opens more opportunity, it also has the ability to create more challenges. With technology disrupting production chains through automation potentially creating deficits within demographics, empathetic leaders can help forge the path to system solutions in which to drive change. As the VUCA landscape continues to disrupt societal structures, empathetic leaders who step forward will enable these communities and people to thrive.