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Flying Through VUCA Storms

ended up here ->

This is the story of how we got from a scary looking concept map (below) to 'flying through VUCA storms infographic' above. I created and refined the 'scary ACD concept map' over a couple of days. The intent was to create a schematic for internal use. This was in the context website design for discussion with my partner, Padraig. But I realised it had a lot of information embedded in it that others might find interesting/useful, so I posted it.

The post attracted several 'likes' and a couple of interesting Zoom chats. But I got accused of creating 'inert pretty pictures' which I found a bit baffling at first. Until I was challenged again - would I put the 'scary' diagram in front of C-levels? The answer is that it depends on the C-level in question. I'm reminded of one COO I worked for who would come to see such models on my whiteboard and ask all sorts of pertinent questions - he loved the detail. But, in general, I'd keep such models myself and my peers.

This comment dialogue told me leaps of assumption were being made. This made me think I should've explained more in the first post. The challengers also believed the concept map was describing an architecture. It wasn't, it was describing relationships between concepts.

It's interesting to me that I doubt if the same thread of comments would have followed a picture of a Mind Map - I wonder why? Anyway, once again, this illustrates context is king and never assume everyone is on the same page (because they probably haven't read your post anyway - they reacted to a stamp-sized picture!).

With the above in mind, I challenged myself to create a graphic that would put in front of C-levels. One that I take them through it in five minutes and start to build engagement.

First, I created quite simple boxes and arrows diagram (below). It was based on Kurt Lewin's Force Field Analysis model. On the one hand, I described four big blue arrows pushing downwards - one arrow for each VUCA dimension. On the other hand, eleven smaller sandy coloured arrows pushing up. This represents small, yet combined, powerful upward forces. This collective force will compensate and defeat the gig blue arrows. The full ACD toolkit is inside the big sandy coloured box. I also replaced the black box, representing the client's transformation programme, with the aircraft silhouette.

Padraig and I had chat about the simple model. Towards the end of our chat, we were making the 'flying-in-a-storm' analogy. A day later the 'flying through VUCA storms infographic' (top of page) came into being. The aircraft/storm meme made me see ACD tools as instruments in the cockpit. This led on to making a clickable graphic for the website.

I'm sure you can imagine lots of analogies that we could make - anything around pilots, instruments, navigation, and storms.