While VUCA describes the present time and possesses an insistent effect, “BANI”, which stands for Brittle, Anxious, Nonlinear, and Incomprehensible, envisions the chaotic dystopian future which must be accepted to prepare for it (MJV, 2021). BANI better illustrates the COVID-19 world of 2020.
The infographic below highlights the key differences between VUCA and BANI (Temmen, 2021).
Business models are getting disrupted. Nonlinearity and Incomprehensibility coupled with technological disruptions, have necessitated the need of businesses and organizations to be agile and innovative. Gig economy, preference for flexi hours, work from remote locations are new realities which have replaced the erstwhile business structure and process flow.
The world is no longer unbreakable. Due to massive amounts of data and information circulating the world 24/7, there is a growing anxiety and a feeling of loss of control, which inevitably leads to powerlessness when making critical decisions (think insights, n.d.). In the BANI world, companies have to be active and take actions to be relevant to their targeted customers. Adopting cause and effect approaches to resolve problems no longer work as business problems have evolved. Variables are no longer direct and long-term plans are no longer long-term due to the various external factors interfering in a company’s decision making process (mercado eletronico, 2020).
The continuing chaos
B – Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented crisis. The country is bankrupt, the people are protesting, and the entire population is on edge. Economic planners, policymakers, and the neighbouring countries were not able to comprehend how fragile the economic system was. There was a huge reliance on tourist trade which curtailed flexibility in the system and consequently provoked it to become brittle and reach its breaking point.
A – When using social media, you encounter several pieces of fake news, misinformation and exaggeration. The recent fuel crisis in the UK, reports about an upcoming recession, and the growing popularity of cancel culture are just a few examples of the changing face of media which has created ubiquitous feelings of pandemonium, increased panic, and instills feelings of anxiety among the masses.
N -The COVID 19 pandemic caused a shortage of ICs for electronics, which consequently forced consumer electronics giants like Sony and Nvidia to cut production volumes of its star products, leading to diminishing supply and surging demand. The onset of the Ukraine War, which was expected to have a regional impact around disputed territory, led to an acute worldwide shortage of grain, elucidating how non-linear our world is.
I – YouTube pinned the blame on their algorithm when its users reported that the ads played before and during a video were irrelevant to their watch history. This shows that as AIs become more advanced and harder to understand, the decisions made by them would become incomprehensible.
These instances show that BANI is all around us and if we don’t find ways to cope with it, we could be facing a global crisis (Cascio, 2020).
How to cope?
BANI can be effectively managed if organisations emphasise on employee wellbeing, empathy, training, upskilling, and technological adoption programmes which enables companies to focus on adopting a mindset of understanding the broader picture of data and making sense of it rather than taking decisions based solely on it (Shepherd, 2022).
There should be a renewed focus on collaboration within companies with the intention of solving strategic issues effectively, while having a work culture which encourages flexibility, allows organisations to respond to the chaotic changes that occur and encourages long-term survivability.
Is there hope?
BANI brings a paradigm shift in the way businesses function. While many organisations view it with pessimism, BANI has given rise to new approaches that improve overall business functioning. If businesses respond effectively, it will mark the beginning of a new business perspective which encourages innovation and dynamism.
MJV. (2021, July 13). From a VUCA world to a BANI one: how uncertainty has changed and how your company can prepare. Retrieved from MJV: https://www.mjvinnovation.com/blog/from-a-vuca-world-to-a-bani-one/
Temmen, M. (2021, February 8). BANI vs VUCA— a new acronym for a new world. Retrieved from marian temmen: https://marian-temmen.medium.com/bani-vs-vuca-a-new-acronym-for-a-new-world-59c7be2dddce
Cascio, J. (2020, April 29). Facing the Age of Chaos. Retrieved from medium: https://medium.com/@cascio/facing-the-age-of-chaos-b00687b1f51d
Shepherd, J. (2022, June 20). BANI THE NEW VUCA. Retrieved from qa: https://www.qa.com/about-qa/our-thinking/bani-the-new-vuca/