Higher education in a VUCA world?

It has become a common thing to say that we life in a complex, fast-changing world. But educators have been slow to adapt their programmes to meet the demands of the new age. VUCA is a world defined by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. In this world, decision-making and strategic thinking are contextual driven. Instead, the operating context is dynamic, volatile and constantly changing. Thus, historical relativities are no longer valid. This kind of uncertainty brings with it a lack of predictability, an absence of familiarity and increased prospects for surprise. It demands a high sense of awareness and alertness.


The new time condition are complex and unavoidable. The art of complexity management becomes a hallmark of leadership. Decision-makers are confronted with a multiplicity of conflicting forces in which their organisations must recognise and overcome varying degrees of contextual confusion. That is a tough job. And all of this is overshadowed by ambiguity. The reality is clouded or distorted and the potential for misinterpretation is high. So, let’s have impact.

is higher education ready?

In the ‘new normal’ global environment where VUCA is the norm, education should focus on those who can best understand such complexity and develop expertise in decision-making.

This raises the question if our higher education programmes are attuned to the VUCA world.

Does higher education possess the vision, the competence and the confidence to deliver the globally competitive leaders and influencers that this country needs in the coming decades? And will higher education allow the schools to adjust continuously to the competitive conditions of the ‘new normal’ with the speed and agility required? And will the majority of the professionals be ready to educate in a VUCA world?

wrong paradigm

My view on change is that schools have been slow to react to this new reality, in general. The prevailing value proposition continues to be academically-centric (knowledge) and inwardly-focused (knowers), emphasising research, publication and rankings.

I would argues that in the VUCA environment higher education faces a constant shakedown of programmes as competitors emerge. We will see a continuing growth of alliances and constant productivity improvements. Also the emphasis on establishing core competencies coupled with a regular refocusing of those core competencies will grow rapidly. What an interesting time in higher education and complex work to do to be meaningful in the future.


Blockchain to Disrupt Higher Education

We are at a point in higher education that we are desperately searching for radical change in our methodologies of imparting knowledge. Over the years we have introduced a variety of subjects into the curricula and are using novel ways to teach. Experiential and experimental ways of teaching-learning are given importance. However, the institutions still remain. Today, no learned person without a degree from a conventional educational system can think of getting employment within the mainstream ecosystem. Is that a great achievement of society or an unsuspecting side effect of the system? (meer…)

Higher Education Needs A Disruptive Approach

Higher education needs disruptive change leading to innovative practices that improve learning for our students. What might have worked in the past will not necessarily have the same impact today. It’s safe to say that the shifts we are experiencing as a result of technological advances will continue to reshape our world. Disruption has become commonplace in the new world. Organizations moved from adaptation to evolution in order to not only survive, but more importantly thrive. (meer…)

How to Live An Empowered Life

How can you live an empowered life? By working hard! Work to make a significant difference in this world. Put your focus on what you can control. You can control your hope, your attitude, your drive, your willingness and your commitment to keeping an empowered mindset. If you’re individual life is empowered, it can have an impact on others. Let’s have impact. (meer…)

Are You Engaged in Your Work?

Gallup reports that 87% of employees around the world are not engaged in their work. Think about it, think about your organisation, think about yourself! It’s a colossal waste of human capital. Nearly one in four employees are actively disengaged, working against the mission of the organization. Yet, nearly all humans want to be engaged in work that matters. The difference between those who will flourish and those who languish in the workplace is mindset.

what is your mindset?

We all have a mindset. Not often we are consciously aware of it and the effect it has on our lives. Our mindset is the underlying mechanism that can expose opportunities and ignite our ambition. It makes us engage to enable us to flourish and thrive. But our mindset can also blind us to opportunities and hinder our ability to learn and grow. It keeps us to familiar, unproductive patterns of thought and action.

mindset needed

In the workplace, mindset can manifest in the form of an employee mindset or an entrepreneurial mindset. An entrepreneurial mindset is defined as it can push us towards a place of growth and creative tension. It is a constant balance of challenge meeting the stretching of our skill set. The distinction between the two mindsets, we can identify and encourage entrepreneurial behavior in the workplace in order to empower and engage more employees.


an employee mindset

Some employees feel as though they are just cogs in the wheel. The think they are unable to succeed in bureaucratic systems. This sense of powerlessness can lead to complaining, making excuses, or blaming others. Often, work is seen as a job description, and the preference is to work within the comfort zone of a well-defined job. Initiative to explore and implement new ideas is mostly lacking. This is because of a lack of belief in the ability to impact change or that change can really occur. There is little meaning in the work they do, and the main goal is to collect a paycheck, retirement, and benefits.

an entrepreneurial mindset

Employees with an entrepreneurial mindset are driven by compelling goals and find purpose in their work. Being future-focused, they see daily tasks as the means to achieving a bigger vision. An entrepreneurial employee has a growth mindset and is quick to acquire additional knowledge or master new skills required to achieve goals. Self-directed and solution-oriented, an entrepreneurial employee finds ways to create value by solving problems for others. They tend to work collaboratively and share in the success of the work achieved.
An entrepreneurial employee rarely feels confined by a job description and is quick to move new ideas forward. Even when challenges arise, they tend to have an optimistic interpretation, seeing problems as temporary and fixable as well as potential opportunities to create value and enhance their skill set.

flow and you

Entrepreneurial employees take ownership of their work and feel empowered to make change. Highly engaged, they often work in flow losing all sense of time. Work is play, and play is work.
Many studies show that entrepreneurs are the happiest, most engaged people in the world. They find purpose in their work. But the mindset isn’t just for entrepreneurs. An entrepreneurial mindset can be developed and enhanced through learning. By cultivating this mindset we can empower and engage employees more. And this helps to unleash their potential.

Some inspiration to end this blogpost:

Embrace Uncertainty to be Future-Proof

Recently I have had some interesting conversations where management asked me ‘how to’ future proof education and their organisation. Can we protect us against black swans in a time of raging uncertainty? Personally I think the focus on future-proofness is wrong. A focus on proof strives for a kind of certainty, or even evidence on a subject – the future – that is inherently unknown to all of us. It leads to wanting to ‘define’ and not ‘interpret’ future events, to control your destiny. (meer…)

Teacher Leadership

There’s a growing consensus among students, parents, teachers and education leaders that the current education system isn’t appropriately preparing young people for the future. (meer…)