While the term VUCA, coined almost 30 years ago, was adequate to make sense of the ambiguity and instability of the times we lived in pre-pandemic, it is now increasingly becoming obsolete due to the high velocity change we are currently experiencing. In describing the current state of things, Jamais Cascio, American anthropologist, author and futurist proposed the BANI model as a framework to understand the present reality and accordingly shape the future. In his words BANI (an acronym that expands to – brittle, anxious, nonlinear and incomprehensible) applies to-
“Situations in which conditions aren’t simply unstable, they’re chaotic. In which outcomes aren’t simply hard to foresee, they’re completely unpredictable. Or, to use the particular language of these frameworks, situations where what happens isn’t simply ambiguous, it’s incomprehensible.”
COVID-19 brought with it an array of drastic and inter-related changes that threaten the sustainability of businesses and jobs: a remote and altered workforce, a purely online restricted consumer, unreliable business forecasting, navigating complicated regulatory scrutiny, and more. In this chaotic world order, organizations can begin to set themselves for success and stay ahead of the curve from their counterparts by developing an ability to imbibe human-like traits, especially those of courage, resilience, self-awareness and human-heartedness, that will help them become human-centric when it comes to their employees, customers, partners and other stakeholders.
FRC 2023 could be a starting point to build on and come up with proactive solutions and roadmaps to this overwhelming new world of work by posing the following profound, yet open questions to the scholars who study and inform management, as well as practitioners who practice management to collaboratively answer:
1. What innovative organizational structures will need to evolve to accommodate a more humanized, people-first workplace?
2. How do businesses and B-schools collaborate to create a better world of work that unlocks greater human potential?
3. To what extent do organizations need to redesign work models and work environments so as to create meaningful experiences for employees and the extended workforce (the off balance sheet talent like gig workers, and freelancers) that forge strong relationships with the organization?
4. How are the global megatrends (such as climate change, automation, social business, DEI initiatives) influencing the talent economy?
5. How do organizations rethink and cultivate their brand personality and values through establishing meaningful connections with their customers?
6. What do these changes mean for organizational leaders and the reinvention of their mindsets and attitudes, to create the conditions for teams to be iterative, open, inclusive, and, ultimately, effective?
7. How can humanizing their business help companies develop greater strategic resilience to navigate future shocks?
FRC 2023 will deliberate on these and many more such questions that challenge our collective abilities to innovate as we strive to create human-like and human-centric businesses. Join us to make a difference on this most fundamental issue and get in the driving seat to help guide and govern this thought provoking and meaningful conversation.