I was listening to Bruce Whitfield’s money show on 702 last week when he was interviewing Dion Chang. Dion is one of South Africa’s most respected trend analysts and founder of Flux Trends, which takes the unique view of “trends as business strategy”.
The theme of the conversation was how radically the world has changed over the past year. Dion reminded us of the famous quote by Mike Tyson (the professional boxer, who was nicknamed Iron Mike). Mike Tyson said: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” and Dion added, 2020 was for many that punch in the face! We know we all had plans that got sucker-punched in various ways. Some people felt it personally some in business and some got both the right and left hook. The truth is, it’s left everyone short-fused and on edge in varying degrees.
Later in the interview, Dion said something I had been waiting to hear for months! Since around mid-2020, I had been wondering who was going to get the handle on the post 4th industrial revolution, post VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world. Every article, document, and thesis I read pre-COVID seemed to start with an explanation of VUCA and how it describes the situation of constant, unpredictable change that is now the norm. My question was: Who was going to say the name that summed up what we were all feeling, post-COVID, the name that stuck?
Was it going to be the World Economic Forum leader, Klaus Schwab, who named the 4th IR, once again? He has called his global conference “the great reset” and I thought perhaps that would get traction, and we all be in “great reset” mode. Klaus has said that: “There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to co-operate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. To improve the state of the world, the World Economic Forum is starting The Great Reset initiative.” This year the forum is a virtual event and discussion is centred on how to build a global economy that is fair, sustainable and resilient. The “great reset” as a post-COVID tag hasn’t really taken off, however. It hasn’t captured people’s imaginations or the spirit of the times. It’s clunky and it references a baseless conspiracy theory.
It was during the interview with Dion that I finally heard what I had been waiting for. He said that while we were trying to cope with our VUCA world, it became a BANI world – listen to this – BANI: Brittleness, Anxiety, Non-linearity and Incomprehensibility – ! There you have it.
No wonder we are having global conferences to talk about building resilience. BANI says it all, and in dealing with each element of BANI we may achieve our personal and professional great resets. Thanks Klaus.