Are we living in a radical state of uncertainty? Is our time different than others? If so, how might these observations by Bruce Nussbaum apply to churches as well as businesses and governments?
Living in a Radical State of Uncertainty
by Bruce Nussbaum in the Harvard Business Review online
Natural disasters, nuclear meltdowns, financial chaos, terrorist attacks, Gen Y liberal uprisings, counter-revolutionary clampdowns, sudden commodity scarcity, social media disruptions, emergent nation corporate competition, deep-sea-oil-well blow-ups, rising nations, falling nations — by now we know that early 21st century is different from late 20th century. But how? The answer is the sharp and unexpected rise of existential risk.
Every half century or so, the risk assumptions underlying our economic, social and political foundations change dramatically. For a number of reasons, the size, complexity scale and symmetry of risk are vastly different in 2011 than 1991. As a result, the risk-reward ratios that we take for granted, such tight global supply chains, may no longer make sense. In particular, an increase in asymmetrical risks requires a reevaluation of key issues from farmland to financial instruments, from nuclear power to the nation-state.
How to successfully deal with a new radical state of uncertainty will require leaders to reset their organizations, reframe their perceptions of problems and opportunities, and, most important, rethink the way they think. Old efficiency thinking based on engineering and rational market models needs to be replaced by a creative intelligence based on imagining, building and managing new futures.