Research Outline

VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity)


To provide pre-COVID19 data and/or long-term trends that point to the increase or decrease of the world's VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) over the past 20-30 years. The data points have to come from different angles, such as but not limited to public health, politics, finance, or technology.

Early Findings


  • In 1975, Gordon Moore "observed that computing power (defined by the number of transistors per integrated circuit) was doubling approximately every two years." This pattern holds today and is currently known as Moore's Law. Over the years, technological advancement has been progressively accelerating.
  • In 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated, "If the trend continues, the processing capacity of machines will surpass the capacity of the human brain, and continue well beyond; each year making more progress than it did the year before."
  • This tells us that volatility has been increasing through the years as technological advancement and machines brought quick changes in the world and in how we live our lives. The machines' ability to surpass the human brain's capacity shows that these machines have significantly evolved and will continue to affect changes in the world.
  • The global stock markets have also "become more volatile after the financial crisis of 2007 – with impacts on all economical spheres."

Ambiguity and Complexity

  • In 2019, Deloitte conducted a "Global Human Capital Trends" survey wherein 80% "of respondents agreed that the 21st century has imposed new requirements on business leaders." The survey reveals specific skills that are needed among today's business leaders. These skills include "the ability to lead through more complexity and ambiguity, followed by leading through influence, managing remotely, managing a workforce that combines humans and machines, and leading more quickly."
  • Deloitte's findings show that the ability to lead through a growing ambiguity and complexity is now needed among business leaders. This tells us that the world's ambiguity and complexity have been growing as this skill is seen to be a 21st-century necessary skill, something that wasn't necessary before the 21st-century.

Summary of Early Findings

  • We have provided some data and information that point to how VUCA has evolved through the years. We have also used the initial hour of research to search for the availability of data points or trends that are VUCA-related.