Understanding VUCA & VUCA Prime

Understanding VUCA & VUCA Prime

Last week, after a year, I finally had my college graduation ceremony. During the convocation, one of the Chief Guests mentioned the word VUCA World in his speech. It was the first time I heard about the word and out of curiosity ended up reading more about it and understanding it.

First, let’s understand what VUCA actually is. VUCA is an acronym for

Volatility: The speed at which things are changing in the world,

Uncertainty: The extent to which we can predict the future,

Complexity: The number of factors that affect the changes happening, and

Ambiguity: The lack of clarity about how to interpret something.

VUCA combines four different types of challenges that demand four distinct responses.

I tried to relate VUCA to some of the activities that I have performed to understand it better. Let’s take an example of attending a 24 hr hackathon as an engineering student. One of the most crucial aspects of a hackathon is to avoid traditional and outdated approaches and to come up with something innovative. Within the 24 hours of the competition, there are many iterations that are made to the solution based on the feedback we get from the judges. The solution we come up with depends on a number of factors like time constraints, cost-effectiveness, and innovation. This looks like a VUCA situation where Volatility arises due to feedback we get from the judges in every round of evaluation, Uncertainty is on whether we will be able to develop the entire desired solution in the given time, and Complexity is because of the factors like time, cost, and innovation that play an instrumental factor in determining the optimal solution & Ambiguity can happen if we have more than two possible solutions/tech stacks. All of these can be tackled using VUCA Prime, a behavioral model in response to VUCA. VUCA in VUCA Prime stands for

Vision rises above Volatility

Understanding reduces Uncertainty

Clarity counters Complexity

Agility overcomes Ambiguity

The concept of VUCA can also be applied to adding a novel feature to any product. Here’s a table explaining the idea of VUCA and VUCA Prime in those tasks

Hope this blog helps you in understanding VUCA.

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