The certainty of uncertainty


When the business of a business is pretty predictable, as it was in the Industrial era, there is less need to focus on resilience or responsiveness. In the old days, business could undertake planning exercises and be reasonably safe in the knowledge that the functioning of the business would be able to successfully execute its plans and that the environment would not impinge too greatly on those plans. In the modern era where knowledge is “a core commodity and the rapid production of knowledge and innovation is critical to organisational survival” (Bettis and Hitt, 1995, ‘The new competitive landscape’), business needs to get to grips with the reality of uncertainty and decreasing forecastability. Businesses also need to remember that they are living systems within wider living systems. Global environmental, political, economic and financial challenges all impact on a business’s ability to succeed.

quantum shifting

Sometimes you read something that really strikes a chord.  I recently saw this quote from Kurt Vonnegut:  “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”  In other times, I would read this and it would simply seem like a poetic truism, but I’m currently experiencing a number of shifts in my personal situation which made me read that quote as if it was written just for me.  These shifts are creating a fair amount of uncertainty and bringing up all the associated emotions that go with it.  In times like this, it is useful for me to remember that trying to control what is going on in my world will not lead to the best outcomes and in fact, that I need to call on the kind of resources that will best keep me going in times of uncertainty.  These resources, in…

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Insurance Insight: “Product innovation in European insurance firms is widespread”– where is the evidence???


Hmm, I’m not so sure I’m buying any of this!

In fact, I don’t, entirely, agree with the headline OR the presumption that insurers are willing and able to offer the “peace of mind” that customers, rightly, expect from the coverage, products and services available to them.

A mixture of technical, organisational and market factors naturally constrain how expansive insurers can or should be in terms of developing new products. Most obviously, missing information can give rise to adverse selection or moral hazards and lead to amplified losses. Read more of this post