“Success in the future is found in ambiguity and chaos, not in the obvious and stable.” ~Kevin Benedict
We will never have complete and perfect information, or a full understanding. We are bound to operate in an environment of ambiguity, meaning unclear, uncertain and difficult to comprehend. We have a decision to make. We can use ambiguity as an excuse for inaction, or we can accept ambiguous environments as the norm and learn to thrive in them.
Today we are facing unprecedented rates of change in consumer behaviors (watch Cutting Through Chaos in the Age of Mobile Me), which are increasing ambiguity levels and forcing enterprises to digitally transform. This is happening at the same time as we are analyzing more data than ever before. The challenge is less about increasing the volume of data, and more about finding the meaning in the data and associating it with relevant actions.
We humans seem to prefer solving problems, facing challenges and overcoming obstacles as a way to create stable and predictable environments. We like to solve challenges and be done with them. What happens, though, if we can’t be done? What happens if our biggest challenge is change, and the increasing pace of change? What happens in a world where as soon as a problem is solved, it needs updated and revised again because of perpetual change.
Change is not to be solved; rather it needs to be embraced, navigated and exploited. Change is the energy that propels companies forward into new innovations and opportunities. Rarely will you find opportunities of significance where change is not found.
As the tempo of change increases and we move beyond “human time” into “computing time”, we must adopt new strategies for succeeding in ambiguity. I propose that the economic winners of tomorrow will be companies that recognize knowing the unknown, is equally important as knowing the known. They will implement strategies and define processes that let them operate in a fluid, agile environment, always collecting and analyzing new data and perpetually adjusting to new realities. They will not as a goal seek stability, rather they will employ strategies for succeeding inside of constant change, chaos and ambiguity. They will understand the biggest opportunities for success in the future will lie not outside, but inside of ambiguity.
"The future is coming fast and will not slow down for your budget priorities."