VUCA was from the late 80's, BANI is now
A close friend of mine introduced on LinkedIn the BANI concept to me. It increased my curiosity hence this post. I always like to use a statement in my leadership programs which is: what is your reality on the world? It helps to ignite discussions and provides perceptions of the delegates.
I assume all readers of my blogs know the acronym VUCA. Check my earlier blog here. VUCA was initially used in the late 80’s in the US army.
What is Bani?
BANI, originally was described by Jamais Cascio, a distinguished fellow and futurist from the Institute of the Future (IFTF) and a professor at the University of California. He describes BANI as:
- Brittle: the kind of elusive fortress that seemingly solid systems have but which can easily crumble. Examples of this are rich countries due to the exploitation of a natural resource that collapses with price fluctuations or the monocultures of our modern agriculture, which are very vulnerable to pests due to their low variability.
- Anxious: the anxiety caused by continuous changes. This anxiety can lead to passivity when you feel that changes are an avalanche and there is no way to influence them. The flood of news from the media and “misinformation” also contributes to this.
- Nonlinear: the disconnection and disproportion between cause and effect. We may now be seeing the impact on the climate due to actions taken 40 years ago; could these consequences have been predicted then? What is the relationship between the minor act of hunting or eating an animal and the trigger for a pandemic changing the world? There is a significant difference between the scale at which things occur and how we perceive them.
- Incomprehensible: the consequence of excess information and its often counterintuitive nature (like what occurs when AI or Big Data intervenes). Fortunately, what is incomprehensible today does not have to be tomorrow.
How to deal with BANI?
BANI goes beyond describing the current world to include ways to deal with these four challenges: Brittleness can be addressed with resilience and flexibility. Anxiety can be handled with empathy and mindfulness. Non-linearity with context and flexibility. Incomprehensibility gives transparency and intuition as solution.
So leaders in organizations need to change, the only constant, and lead in the BANI-world in order for organizations to succeed. The BANI concept gives us a good idea of what is happening in the world around us and how to deal with it as a leader.