Friday, September 10, 2021


Be cautiously optimistic, think of consequences, not convenience to deal with new normal with unprecedented uncertainty and complexity.

The ecosystem we live in today is dynamic, hyper-connected, expansive, and interdependent. Complexity is inevitable if things do interact, particularly in the case of "nonlinear" interaction with un-repetitive activities and behavior. You can't separate things properly or you cannot predict the actual effect of interactions straightforwardly. 

To survive and thrive in such complexities in which there are unknown interactions and very high inner dynamics, innovation is the light organizations are pursuing; and breakthrough innovation is ‘anything new to businesses’ or purists want to call it as ‘new to the world’ - something that no one else has done before; really original. Not to mention that solving complex problems today requires not one type of thinking, but varying thought processes for breaking through conventionalism, for experimenting unexplored, for taking transformative changes; for making us much humbler than ever, in face of such known unknown, unknown unknown reality.

Sequence & consequence:
We are more creative and innovative than ever. In the organizational environment, often management needs to instill passion, boost the energy and excitement to encourage creativity and achieve the ultimate business results. You lose the trustful repose which you experienced when you blindly follow the traditional ways of thinking to solve the over-complex problems today. Doing innovation perhaps implies taking a few innovation initiatives. But being innovative is a state of mind to enhance openness, vision, multidimensional intelligence, learning plasticity, flexibility, transparency, etc. Being bold is simply not enough, it’s crucial to handle sequence and consequence in a rational way. Great innovators are excellent problem-solvers who know how to design with observability and controllability in mind. They know how to make rational decisions. They know how to build open systems with agility rationally. They can restructure systems rationally to adapt to changes.

In today's interdependent global economy with a high level of unpredictability, uncertainty, and unrepeatability, that will need a new model of thinking, innovating, and transforming. Keep in mind, behind many critical innovation initiatives, there are numerous points-of-views and reference points. Usually innovation, especially breakthrough innovation indicates high return and high risk, thus, it’s imperative to guide teams considering the connectedness of actions and their consequences, both in time and space. On one side, keep out of box thinking flows smoothly; on the other side, be conscious about the risks; set the right priorities, assign resources and talent carefully and solve problems that really matter. High innovative leaders and professionals should practice critical thinking all the time for making logical reasoning and practicing multidisciplinary approaches to drive breakthroughs innovatively.

Inferential consequence: With an unprecedented level of uncertainty and complexity, although you can’t predict every turn or curve on the journey, quality information and business insight allow business leaders to envision emerging opportunities and predict risks. Organizational management needs to have objectivity and discernment, incorporates the multi-faceted aspects of the knowledge system, innovation, and intuitive behavior, applying information-driven judgment skills to deal with assumptions & unconscious bias, and practicing inferential consequences to lead innovation in a structural way. Clear vision and planning help business managers navigate through velocity, uncertainty or ambiguity in a dynamic business environment, align resources with the strategic goals, and internalize innovative change effectively. Innovation capability modeling is an integral part of innovation design for testing the practicality, effectiveness, and efficiency and fine tuning innovation competency of the company to achieve expected consequence; it represents decision gateways, linking the sequence of relevant activities, events from end to end.

The very characteristic of innovation is the newness. To predict is to control; to co-create is to influence what you would like to bring to the table. Organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the environment, get some clue about some known unknown, leveraging diverse viewpoints to connect dots for expanding thoughts cross-disciplinarily, enhancing a healthy cycle of divergent thinking and convergent thinking. They plan, act, observe the consequences of their innovative initiatives, make inferences about those consequences, and draw implications for future action. To become highly innovative means not only do you take one route not being taken before, but also explore multiple paths that lead towards the lifted vision and reach more inflection points to breakthrough ultimately. Thus, do not use innovation as a lip service or excuse of not taking inferential logic. To deal with known unknown, information-based forecasting is crucial to bring both insight and foresight to the business; help the organization align their business reality with innovation strategy, develop the future perspective by digging into inferential consequence, bring people together in a common and committed effort, and move people in the right direction to fit their purpose.

Unforeseen consequences: The pace of change is accelerated both in businesses and society, either as an individual or an organization. Uncertainty is our friendenemy - implying opportunities and risks. Nonlinearity, hyper-diversity, rules & regulations, information exponentiality, unpredictability, etc, are all causes of unrepeatability. In fact, uncertainty of outcomes or occurrences is inherent in numerous business endeavors or societal movement. All of that makes us humble - the things we know, compared to those not, are only a tip of the iceberg. Generally speaking, unknown unknown is caused by the nature of randomness or chaos. It’s unpredictable and lacks a stable pattern or order. Still, we shouldn’t feel completely pessimistic - helpless or aimless. Attitude matters. It takes courage and integrity to say “I do not know,” especially when you leverage unknown factors in making significant decisions which may affect many peoples’ fortunes. Being optimistic is the great attitude to harmonize with nature and strive for dealing with unforeseen consequences cautiously. That also implies technology is not a panacea, but only one of the great ingredients in developing our own formulas to predict and prevent, to break through the old, and step into the fresh future stepwisely.

Each degree of freedom is an unknown. Interdisciplinary lenses expand our thinking boxes, provide us a new angle to see the familiar landscape in different ways; and explore unknowns passionately. Discovery is a process of revealing unknown facts; continually developing new knowledge, capturing insight into the emergent and inherent properties, particularly due to unforeseen consequences of the combination of parts and the interaction within the system and between the system and its environment. Although not everything is predictable, information is still one of the most important assets of modern society. It is a complex domain and information becomes meaningful when being sorted through and processed to make sure of its coherence. Even though you couldn’t predict anything beforehand, you can always imagine different scenarios based on “lessons learned” with many experiences involved in the present or in the past. Unknowns are also reduced by an engaged team in planning to spike to turn the unknown unknown into a set of known unknowns, which you can then handle adequately. Although each one of us has limitations, collectively, in a wise way, with cognitive differences and a variety of expertise, it’s perhaps possible to overcome insurmountable toughness facing humanity.

Be cautiously optimistic, think of consequences, not convenience to deal with new normal with unprecedented uncertainty and complexity. To break down the obstacles, look into an unknown future and attempt to define the great landscape by seeing beyond what all others could see, perceiving underneath the surface, sharing and working closely with both similar-minded or complementary minded fellow global citizens to chart breakthrough growth; to ensure there is a strong context for establishing the abundance of choices when the surprises that will invariably show up, to keep charging our energy for reimagining and creating the new paradigm.


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