Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity: managing in a VUCA world

Notwithstanding the inaccurate popular stereotype of the cardigan-wearing official, working in the public sector has never been easy. But it almost certainly has never been as complex and challenging as now.

Does this picture sound familiar?

Disruptive events, scandals, crises and shocks constantly take you by surprise. Political and departmental leadership transitions suddenly change the outlook of policies and programs to which you have dedicated months or even years. You are constantly required to work collaboratively across internal and external boundaries, engage a wide and often conflicting network of stakeholders and recruit and manage an increasingly diverse and independently-minded workforce. And nothing ever stands still, with the added pressure to be ‘innovative’ and experiment with new policy and program ideas in a context of risk averse politicians and taxpayers.

Together, these challenges create four key features that increasingly seem to characterise our operating environment: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).

Fortunately Associate Professor Zeger van der Wal from the Lee Kuan Yew School in Singapore is here to help! Please join Zeger as he shares with us the major world wide trends and challenges for public managers; describes examples of success and failure from other places; and considers what this might all mean for the skills and competencies we need to survive and thrive in a VUCA world.


9-9.30am: Coffee and networking

9.30-10.30am: Event

This event is presented by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG).

This event is free and open to the public.