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Do we live in a VUCA world?

UCL Careers7 July 2014

VUCA is an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. The common usage of the term VUCA began in the 1990s within US military and has subsequently been used in emerging ideas in strategic leadership that apply in a wide range of organizations, including everything from for-profit corporations to education.

The business sector has been talking about a VUCA world for a couple of years now, suggesting the turbulent environment is real and is here to stay.  Is this the “new normal”?  And if so, can we really prepare for a VUCA world?

Dan Simpson, Head of Talent at Siemens UK believes that we should! In order to survive in the VUCA world, we need to change our perception of work.  In this brave new world, work is less location-specific and more network-based.  Your networks are key!  You will take them with you throughout your career regardless of employer or location.

In our VUCA world, we must acquire and, more importantly, continuously update our skills for success.  We need to be prepared to take advantage of different learning methodologies: bite-sized learning in TED talks and MOOCs.  The ability to acquire life-long learning, the ability to reflect and adapt to new ideas is and will become increasingly invaluable.

Whether or not VUCA is the “new normal”, there is no doubt that the world is being shaped in this way.  Dan Simpson at Siemens UK specifically searches for candidates who are able to recognise the importance of networking building, reflecting and updating skills. To prepare for the unknown can only be a good thing.

To find out more about VUCA and how to prepare for the unknown, sign up to the University of London’s Employability MOOC which runs until 25th July.

– Helen West, Careers Consultant, UCL Careers