A new paradigm: the transition from a VICA to a BANI world

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Will the new acronym BANI replace VICA?

In recent years, the world has been characterised as VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous). Recently, however, business strategy experts have been talking about the BANI world: brittle, anxious, non-linear, incomprehensible. In this article, we will explore this paradigm shift and how to adapt to this new reality using visual tools.

Used by the US military since the 1980s and adopted by strategy consultants since the 2000s, the VUCA World concept has been adopted by many organisations, including the most innovative, as a framework for building strategy in recent years.

The VUCA world is characterised by economic and political instability, social disruption, unpredictable events, price and exchange rate volatility and widespread uncertainty.

Today, we may be entering a new world described by the acronym BANI. BANI (brittle, anxious, nonlinear, incomprehensible) describes an environment marked by increasing fragility of our ecosystems, widespread anxiety about the future, increasing complexity of systems, non-linearity of thinking and lack of understanding of the issues at hand.

The creator of this new concept is Jamais Cascio, an American anthropologist, author and futurist (read more).

The BANI concept offers a new framework for building strategies today. In this new world, companies must be more aware of their impact on society and the environment and take steps to mitigate their negative effects. Individuals also have to be more aware of their role in society and their responsibility to contribute to a sustainable future.

The importance of non-linear thinking and visual tools

In the BANI world, the increasing complexity of social, environmental and economic problems requires non-linear thinking to better collaborate, communicate and make decisions.

Visual tools are particularly useful in fostering this non-linear thinking. They also help to clarify information and data, and to identify trends and patterns in this increasingly complex environment.

Some of the visual tools that support non-linear thinking may include:

  • Mind maps and tree diagrams: Helps to show the relationships between different elements in a non-linear way
  • Collaborative whiteboards: Collaborative whiteboards help several people work together on a project, generating and organising ideas in a non-linear way.
  • Sketchnoting and graphic facilitation: Encourage non-linear and creative representation of information.

All these tools encourage a creative exploration of information and help to present complex issues in a more understandable way. This is a first step towards adapting and succeeding in a BANI world.