The World is Super-CAFFEINATED

Forget VUCA or BANI, how do you make sense of an espresso-laced culture, life, marketplace and workplace?

Author: Sean Moffitt, Co-founder, Grey Swan Guild, MD, Cygnus Sprints

“It’s amazing how the world begins to change through the eyes of a cup of coffee.” Donna Favors

s I begin this post, Saturday A.M., early morning summer rays peak through my back window exclaiming the potential for the day ahead, the blank slate of my Medium page stares back at me, begging for inspiration and pushing past this intro. Lounging out on one side of my comfy L-shaped couch, I hold onto, more accurately, clutch my favourite coffee mug with a satisfying swallow of my morning brew. Ahhhhhh…hello, my friend again Coffee and your beloved sidekick Caffeine. Today may have many twisted paths, but right now before the overcast fog of the day appears, I am deeply pensive in my Lavazza-fuelled sweetspot.

I will freely admit I do love my two cups-a-day of coffee habit. I make no apologies or succumb to any clarion calls for lifestyle change, Espressos. Capuccinos. Lattes. Red Eyes. Cortados. Macchiatos. Irish. I pursue them all. Embracing the sensory reactions and occasional overload. Feeling the resultant cycle effects — the initial pep to my espirit followed by the reluctant withdrawals. Savoring the artistry and craft of coffee culture with the accompanying rolling of the eyes when expert roasters and baristas take it to religious levels of worship. Coffee smells like magic and fairy tales, armor against the ennuie that exists around the corner (it’s creeping in already — damn it already looks like that lawn needs to be mowed today).

Let’s be clear, this post is not about coffee or caffeine but both do lend themselves as powerful stand-ins for the world we live in now. The pepped up media artifices and stimulated pace of business. The socio-economic jolts and macroeconomic fixes we find ourselves confronted by. The artificial spikes of technology bubbles, yet the amazing pour overs of intelligence and efficiency when tech actually works. The complex metaphysical impulses, demitasses of joy and well-roasted stresses of world that is at same time progressing as it is out-of-control, Whether you love coffee, tea or Red Bull (or not), you have to admit java-laced metaphors, similes and analogies are remarkably prescient for our age.

Saturday Morning Caffeinated Bliss

A Double Shot of Context

Pairing two events from the last week here:

  • an “all-hands on deck” Cygnus Sprints meeting where we excitedly gathered around the Zoom drum circle and codified what array of problems our new consulting and advisory venture aimed at disrupting and solving
  • Edition #32 of our Grey Swan Craft-Building Series on Futures Thinking where we peered behind the curtain and asked why organizations and leaders seem unprepared for the future headwinds, tailwinds and sidewinds that confront them

In both meetings, we pondered the question, are we really solving for a VUCA world? For those familiar with the term, it may bring up connotations, positive and negative. Let’s dive deeper.

VUCA — Hey, It’s A Crazy World Out There

In a managerial world of jargon rich lingo, the acronym VUCA has had some real staying power. The term was first coined in 1987 by the late leadership scholar Warren Bennis and was useful in describing situations or conditions difficult to analyze, respond to or plan for (kinda similar to the etymology of our name Grey Swans).

VUCA is short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity (although chaotic has also been used), and ambiguity with the objective of mitigating their effects and identifying risks of the knowns and the unknowns. The military initially glommed onto the term to describe an environment, situation or condition, that was difficult to wrap your head around and used it to poke at variables in such efforts as wargaming and field tests. It stuck — corporations, academics and governments soon followed.

Beyond its now 35 year shelf life, there was a sentiment shared in our internal discussions that VUCA was a very solid word, justifiable in its popularity, but the challenge was given —could we come up with an evolution to the word that better represents our world of today and tomorrow:

  • something that was more expansive, recognizing the new value, gaps, drivers, multiple practices and realities of 2022+
  • something that was more balanced & positive, that the future doesn’t carry with it so much stress and gloom
  • something that was more active than passive (and not to be used as a crutch) that recognizes the future just doesn’t get done to us but we can take agency of this future
  • something that was more flexible in how we think and act with less tension and more freedom to deal with acceptable levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity vs. trying to wrestle them to the ground and reduce them to zero

Big kudos to Akash, Christina, Chuck, Heather, James, Nathan and Servane for their deep thinking here.

We thought this effort was worthy of some mind calories.

BANI — A Post-Pandemic VUCA?

Recently, Jamais Cascio presented an updated framework for understanding the future unknowns called BANI. Cascio’s perspective was that VUCA wasn’t prospective or future looking enough, and didn’t acknowledge well enough the incomprehensible uncertainties of the future.

In Jamais’ BANI model:

‘B’ was for Brittle — easy to shatter, subjected to a total and sudden failure. It is the idea is that we are susceptible to catastrophe at any time.

‘A’ was for Anxious — fear that any choice we can make might be the wrong one, an anxiety and a constant feeling of impotence regardless of what we do.

‘N’ was for Non-Linear — a disconnection between cause and effect in time, proportion & perception — the systems of cause and effect being disconnected.

‘I’ was for Incomprehenible — extremely difficult to understand, attempts to find answers prove undecipherable and that acknowledgement upfront may somehow unlock a path.

I’ll be honest, I like the attempt and the hunger for new, but this one falls well short for me for four reasons:

  • It has such a negative valence, it you are in the leadership and belief business, those are some pretty heavy stressful veils of grey to get past in order to get to something that then looks like hope.
  • secondly, it denies the balance and possibility that in a lot of areas of the world, we are making progress and we are able to tap into proven ways to better facilitate and make sense of the world than even five years ago.
  • BANI contains a narrative that everything is fragile and that we should assume there isn’t much permanence to solutions, almost acknowledging a permanent state of unsettlement. That’s a big gut punch and perhaps a futurist’s dream state but permanent disruption is chaos and likely not true. Take COVID for example. We know based on even the most recent pandemic’s trajectory, the volume of deaths, supply chain disruption and business discontinuity could have been so much greater, but because of beliefs, values and technologies that existed before the pandemic and employed now (e.g. SARs vaccine development, telehealth, Zoom, remote work, AI-based agility), we were able to mitigate its worst effects. All is not lost.
  • it is incomplete, at least for a practitioner, it may identify the problems well but it kinda just leaves them there to either grieve, ignore or throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. We know at the Grey Swan Guild, rooted in our very descriptor, things are never that black and white and that you can actively employ a roster & pedagogy of thinking and action to work with realities vs. saying something is hopeless or tearing it all up.

We think there might be a better, more substantive way to sum up uncertainties and our reaction to them than frameworks like BANI.

CAFFEINATED — Making Sense of our Mad, Wonderful, Chaotic, World

It all comes back to coffee again…some inspired person once said ‘good ideas begin with insight, great ideas starts with coffee’.

Similar to caffeine and coffee, you can have two different thoughts about its central presence in our day-to-day around the world (interesting latte-sized fact- about 40% of the world drink coiffee every day, the average Finn drinks four cups per day):

“Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.” — Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord on coffee

We’re putting forward an argument here that describes the chaotic world of limitless potential we are currently unsettled in. An argument that doesn’t succumb to one side of the world’s inevitable trajectory, half truths about its limitations, or dumb it down to merely four factors for the sake of repeatability. We are in a super-CAFFEINATED world. Read on.

Here we go…

omplexity — so many confluences now come together, many leaders feel rightfully overwhelmed, The volume and nature of variables are so wide and disperse currently that linear analysis of situations is not sufficient for the challenges that our world now throws at us. Many things currently defy our cognition until they are done or finished: ‘how to solve world poverty’; “what will this pandemic mean’; “where will space civilization take us’; or ‘how can we deal with climate change’. The volume, velocity, variety and veracity of data now accessible make the problems more approachable, but no less intricate.

Take customer experiences for example. Some estimate anywhere from 28–62 touchpoints are required to make a purchase , while others state this number may be upwards of 500 touchpoints. With the human mind, and all of its miraculous features, struggling to keep just 4–7 things aloft in its working memory, what is a leader to do? Providing informed and transparent clarity to situations; employing (but not not abdicating to) a battery of statistical, big data and AI applications; harnessing multiple disciplines, tools and analysis; and mining diverse stakeholder opinion; are solid strategies for combating increasing complexity.

Complexity — aggregated cellphone traffic from across the United States and found patterns (MIT)

mbiguity — the property of circumstances open to more than one interpretation has caused much of the world’s increasing polarization we find ourselves in. In a world that doubles in information every couple of years, the strange irony is that people find their situations more vague (e.g. the U.S. political situation), their ability to process more precarious (e.g. ordering food at a restaurant) and the use of syntax/semantics a veritable powderkeg of confusion (e.g. the fluid state of gender). Causal relationships are murky, precedents frequently don’t exist and intentional infodemics and unintentional bias now abound and thrive.

Consider the paradox of choice where prospectiive customers presented with just 6 options, 30% of them could make purchases easily, compared to just 3% who made a decision when confronted with 24 options. And life is considerably more complicated than walking down the toothpaste drug store aisle. Leaders can thrive in ambiguity by: acting without knowing all the details; taking high value risks; applying causal analysis and intuition across domains; zooming out before they zoom in; experimenting & planning for different probable, possible and wild card scenarios; embracing a mindset for change; and being willing to change direction without bias, blame or paralysis.

Ambiguity — The extinction of species — the 120 species and different impact of 10 different threat categories

aster — the world’s treadmill has become sped up, you are just not dreaming it. Unfortunately as humans, we have millions of years of DNA and hard wiring that can only change to the pace so effectively. We are lagging. Technology is driving this acceleration at breakneck speed, but is not the only factor. Our adoption rates of new creations, our expectation levels of what’s acceptable, out stock market drive for quarterly performance, four hour news cycles, and our institutions’ ability to pivot and change have also picked up pace. Across a basket of 50 cross-industry variables, my Futureproofing Hockey Stick Monitor suggests we are 4.2X faster as a society than merely a generation ago. What seems impossible and so far off, is merely a short term temporal mirage. What VUCA has not fully codified is the speed at which events now happen and the alacrity that values presently shift, and our impaired capabilities to move fast when presented with such challenges.

Consider the recent pandemic. The incidence of telehealth as a reaction to COVID increased 149X in aggregate between March and May of 2020 (compared to the prior nine-month, pre-pandemic weekly average). In the face of a life-threatening virus, less than 2% providers were using virtual health technologies but by the end of April, that rate had skyrocketed to more than 70%. To lead in an accelerated world, leaders should: create a sense of urgency around big opportunities; decide with speed and conviction; engage with coalitions and believers for impact; adapt operations proactively with longer term perspectives; celebrate short-term wins; and deliver & institutionalize results reliably and quickly.

Faster — Global GDP por Capita ,(Visual Capitalist)

ragmentation— just think that there were only 43 countries in the world in 1800, now there are nearly 200. There were 132 million companies in the world in the year 2000, just twenty years later, that total is 70% larger. The forces of breaking the world into smaller and more separate parts continues. Right now, we don’t talk about market spaces or segments, businesses can customize to the point of having markets of one. We should call it ‘Tailoring’, not ‘Marketing’. Technologies and new media have aided splintering and amplified misinformation and tribal behaviours. Major social tensions, economic and political polarization, democratic decline, and geopolitical splits have driven wedges between and within countries. Decentralization of finance, currency, energy, commerce and organizations threatens to destabilize forms of authority, belief systems and trust in the future.

Some of our most pernicious problems from fracturing are borne our of transitions we have individually sought out for seemingly positive reasons: to enjoy more flexibility, to ignite personal creativity or to embrace individual choice. It is an interesting paradox — more liberty and choice, causes more arguments and less understanding. In this multichannel world, leaders would do well to: unite people around a higher order shared purpose; empower people; give up hard and fast authority and rules; engage stakeholders regularly, freely share thoughts about their unifying successes and concerns; and network, co-create & learn across partner ecosystems.

Fragmentation — Marketing Technology Solutions over the last decade (Chief Martec)

rraticness’erratic’ is our stand in term for VUCA’s ‘volatile’ — they are cousins to each other although there is small difference. Erratic is defined as an almost permanent state of unsteadiness, randomness; inclination to unexpected changes; not consistent. ‘Volatile” has an explosive or violent change nature to its meaning, but usually is considered temporary or episodic in nature. When you gobble up our social memes, gossip mills and news cycles, I think constant change is much more structural than the occasional blips that the term volatility suggests. This chronic ‘erraticness’ reduces the willingness of firms to hire & invest for the long term; prevents consumers confidently spending to drive the economy; and instills fear, aversion, antiquated beliefs and back-to-basics approaches in leadership.

Is erraticness on the rise? If we have learned anything over the last two years, unpredictable levels of change is almost the constant as we now wait for a looming potential sixth wave of coronavirus in a 26 month span. The long term trend line of the The Economists’ Global Uncertainty Index seems to indicate that too (visualized below). In a world in constant flux, leaders would do well to: futureproof against potential damage; have an already-developed playbook for fast action in times of crisis; build up reserves for the proverbial rainy day; diversify away from risks; pivot away from unwieldy business models; and create compelling reasons to fight and act even in extreme circumstances.

Erraticness — the World Uncertainty Index had been indexing up for decades (The Economist)

nterconnected — although this may appear a slight paradox with the above ‘fragmented’ component, it really isn’t. As things are bifurcating, polarizing and atomizing, no node is an island. Everything does connect with everything, no matter how small. It’s why the butterfly effect of a Ukraine-Russia war causes my skyrocketing gas prices in my less-than-directly-involved hometown of Toronto. It’s why low unemployment, pandemic reappraisal of the value of work and supply chain bottlenecks, compromise my ability to replace lawn furniture, far away and downhill from the seed causes.

Climate change is one of these flummoxing situations that underscores our common interest in cooperating and addressing fragilities in our interconnected systems. In this prisoner’s dilemma of our shared world, if one actor decides to cheat the climate clock, we all lose. Smart leaders in an interconnected world are able to: approach issues and problems working from different perspectives; manifest a broader set of inputs into their decision-making calculus, engage in cross-cultural adaptability; understand that ‘different’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘wrong’; and navigate the in-between spaces with deep collaboration.

Interconnectedness — the relatedness of French financial institutions (Eiopa)

eeds+— the existential challenges of our time have percolated to all corners of society, including even the political power brokers and billionaire purse string holders. ESG (short for non-financial factors Environmental, Social, and Governance) and purpose-driven leadership are no longer lip service. In truth, the world is getting richer, healthier, better educated, more peaceful, and better connected and people are living longer, yet half the world is potentially unstable. In spite of these visible marks of progress, social movements and protest abound globally like never before, as more educated people, with more digital means and more time to contemplate, exhibit a growing unwillingness to tolerate unethical decision-making by the establishment.

Accumulating debt, underemployment, income inequality, ecological footprints, greenhouse gases, territorial strife, terrorist attacks, mental health, voter disinterest and questionable electoral legitimacy are all big challenges that we are losing. Post-pandemica, we are seeing things like life expectancy and female participation in the work force reversing course. These are now significant factors in our success algorithms, no longer beyond our narrow profit-based purview or efforts. Leadership is needed more now than ever to rise to these challenges, they would do well to: directly link their actions to making a difference in the world; mentor others on being best they can be; intrinsically marry organizational purpose with personal purpose, establish authentic and meaningful interpersonal connections, respect the health of the ecosystem surrounding the organization; and spot & reduce systemic inequities where they exist.

Need —ESG Funds are on the rise (Morningstar)

nxiety — there are the real and the perceived states of the human condition, they are not the same. By many metrics, you can rightly interpret the last century as one of progress on a number of fronts, health, equity, food security and education most notably. Yet when you look globally people are more apt to say the world is worse off than ever before. Despite overt statements, displays and acceptance of racism on the downswing, black people report record levels of racist treatment by employers or shops. If you had mentioned during this century’s biggest global crisis — the pandemic, that a relatively few people died around the world (6 to 15MM people depending on source, or 0.0019% of the world’s population. at the top end), the global economy actually grew, real estate values climbed and shelves remained full, yet the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%, and has stayed elevated. In 2022, perception is reality and it can manifest itself as dread and hopelessness.

Four percent of the world suffers major anxiety disorders and twenty percent of the world suffers bouts of anxiety (considerably higher among younger people). If we climb one ring outside of that high alert anxiety group, fully seventy-five percent of Americans experienced moderate to high stress levels in the past month and eighty percent of people feel stress at work. Similar high stress levels exist in places like China & Australia, So it’s not enough to solve the problem anymore, it’s also solving for our reaction to the shocks, shifts and snags that VUCA doesn’t fully account for.

Leaders in our anxious spaces and worlds would be wise to: recognize the warning signs in yourself and others; focus on personal and others’ most basic needs first; practice psychological flexibility and emotional agility; provide trust and safety nets for your colleagues; communicate regularly to others on progress; provide context of the outcomes of the worst case scenarios vs,. expected benefit; focus on the one thing you need to do now to assuage anxiety; and take time for self-care or the Dutch concept of Niksen.

Anxiety — Investor anxiety about the marketplace — 100 is neutral anxiety (Investopedia)

ech-Enablement —the white horse on the horizon that has helped us withstand problems over the last five hundred years is technology. Malnourishment has gone from 35% to 13% of the population over the last 50 years principally through technology advances. Despite many more mouths to feed and more effective delivery, less than 50% of the number of Europeans are employed by agriculture now than they were in 1800 Europe. Advances in virtual & augmented reality and AI could allow people to live smarter, safer and more productive lives, enabled by “smart systems” in such key areas as education, health care and real estate. To borrow adidas’ tagline for a moment when it comes to tech-laced innovation ‘impossible is nothing’.

Consider the short history of tech progress:

  • Memory — a computer chip with 2000 transistors had cost $1,000 back in 1970, now it costs $0.02.
  • Adoption — 4.95 billion people are now online, the incidence of global internet adoption expects to exceed 62% in 2022, doubling since 2013 and still growing 4% annually.
  • Data — 90% of data has been generated within the last 2 years.
  • AI: data center spending on AI processors will grow by over 4x by 2025, forecasted to hit $90 billion.
  • Devices — 12.2 billion devices now exist online and will grow to over 27 billion by 2025.
  • Time Spent Online: the average user spends 6 hours, 57 minutes online every day or over 12 trillion hours.
  • Internet Speed — download mobile and fixed median global speeds are 29 mBps and 58 mBps — which are more than adequate to stream movies; leading edge speed was about 1mBps back in early 2000s

We now take for granted what was once very impossible. Technology is almost limitless but in a recent Pew Internet study while 39% of people said their future worlds would be mostly better, alarmingly 47% of people said their future worlds would be mostly worse. Vigilance still needs to exist in the face of technology hope. Effective leaders in a tech world are best at: being fluent in technological and digital disciplines; communicate and translate flexibly across tech and non-tech specialities; add context, abstraction and imagination necessary to spearhead complicated tech-enabled projects; exhibit extraordinary adaptability to new ways; mediate group decisions quickly; employ reward systems, performance tracking and communication technology to produce empowerment; and provide appropriate ethical oversight to tech’s potential for evil.

Tech Adoption — Financial Impact of Technology (Media Peanut)

xponentialiity— we do not operate in a +15% world or +30% world anymore, borrowing from growth hacker Grant Cardone, this is a now a 10X world. Social platform Tik Tok launched in China back in 2017 and in four short years, it hit one billon users, and is now expected to hit 1.5 billion users by 2022. That’s right nearly 20% of the world’s population in 5 years. This is the exponential, hyperbolic world we live in. Globalization, instant connection and collective groupthink accelerate things at supersonic speed. Moore’s Law compounds technology. Knowledge compounds. Health has the potential to compound. Bitcoin compounded — in November 2016, the value of bitcoin was $1,000 and by November 2021 was $80,000 (unfortunately the rule works the other way as its current value now sits at $24,700), The takeaway is both the steady marginal action that you take now counts a lot and the idea from left field that switches the rules of your industry counts a lot. You might not notice your effort or decision tomorrow or in the next week, but over time, your marginal advantage grows exponentially to a disproportionate scale.

One further example of the 10X world we have evidenced is the cost of pushing tonnage into space. If we are ever to get to the moon, or Mars, or further afield — we are going to have to find ways to get out of our exosphere more efficiently. In a very short span of time we have been able to reduce the cost by 1/10th through breakthroughs by SpaceX and others; the NASA goal is to 855X even that number. Leaders in an exponential world are uniquely able to: transform surprise into mindful anticipation of the future; explore unknowns and open-ended questions with enthusiasm; challenge unspoken assumptions; uncover possibilities from the fog of uncertainty; balance societal and moral implications of rapid runaway progress; and believe in an abundant, equitable, inclusive and positive future.

Exponentiality — the cost to push a kilogram of payload into space (Future Timeline)

isruption— leaders can sometimes look fortuitously or smugly as they peer out at the disorder and challenge of others, ‘that is so unfortunate for those people over there, but that can’t happen to us’ or perhaps more judgmentally ‘that is sad for them, but they deserved it’. Ahem, clearing throat, as unpopular as this may seem, nobody is immune to disruption; nobody gets to insulate from the march of a CAFFEINATED world. In Futureproofing’s Corporate Innovation Playbook, executives finally acknowledged that a greater proportion of their future company risk and disruption likely comes from outside their current industry than a direct competitor. In truth, the most confident and secure person in the world is two years away from losing their company, their job, their security, their health or their wealth.

Remember when Netflix could do no wrong. Their stock value has now dropped 65% over the last year. Despite 10X subscriber growth over the last decade, the first quarter of 2022 ended a 10 year ride of consecutive years of quarter-on-quarter growth, and investors are merciless, consumers have their knives out, employees have their hackles up. Netflix top brand of the year of 2020, Netflix employer of the year 2020, poof…gone. Leading in a disrupted world means: having a resilient mindset — recovering quickly from difficulties; engaging in candid dialogue; finding new insight and inspiration in unexpected places, maintaining strategic awareness (vs. kneejerk reactions to shocks in the system); heading off small problems before they become big ones; and doubling down on values and authentic representation of them inside your teams, with your organization, and reflected on society.

Disruption — Canadian and US Disruption Barometer has been red flagging for the last three years (Ipsos)

The Ying and Yang of a Caffeinated World

Unlike other frameworks that describe the world, all of these CAFFEINATED forces are not summarily good or bad. They truly operate in the shades of grey (or gray if you prefer). The two schools presented earlier, VUCA and BANI, both approach the mercurial state of the world with jaded lenses. VUCA tries to control the tides of change like nailing jello to a wall. And we know how well that works. BANI throws up its hands and says everything that came before is bad, let’s tear it up. That seems grossly-inefficient and wasteful.

Our super-CAFFEINATED framework allows for the fact that not all this uncertainty, chaos and out-of-controlness should be avoided or minimized to zero and that there are both positive and negative valences to their existence:

Complexity — allows for new combinations of value and higher order discoveries, while frustrating due to problems beyond our comprehension or missing elements.

Ambiguity — provides some ground cover for smart people to swoop intro opportunities in the grey and create the space for introspection and sensemaking, while providing a path for shallow dogma that accepts no truth and bad actors manipulating the world for their benefit.

Faster — facilitates a pace of progress & ambition achievable within our business cycle, career or lifetime and provides windows for first and quick mover advantage while regrettably leaves vast troughs of people behind and burns our capacities out from cognitive overload.

Fragmentation — is inviting because it provides portals to operate between groups and affiliate with tribes & microcultures we love to embrace and give us an expanded, sometimes infinite, choice and personalization set, while weakening the ties that bind us as a planet & human race and pitting us against each other in polarization debates and war.

Erraticness — gives us blips of unsettling that sharp thinkers and enlightened entrepreneurs can take advantage of and provides a message that we should always be learning and proofing ourselves versus a belief in a straight line projectable future, while at the same time causing us to lose faith in any kind of forecast and thus creating shorter and shorter windows on decision making, action and investment.

Interconnectedness — fuses together forces that truly solve bigger things than we imagined possible (1+1 does equal 3 and 1+1+1=9) and facilitates breakthroughs to causal connections we hadn’t seen before, while reducing the independence of the sole proprietor or inventor and creating slower progress as we wait for plodding elements in the system to catch up.

Needs+ — furnishes us the possibility to work against the biggest existential and human elements of our time, providing us higher purpose and unifying focus in our day-to-day work, while providing the truth serum to the all-too-narrow or dubious agendas we currently invest in and frustration at problems that seem from the outset too big to solve.

Anxiety — gives opportunity for a new type of connected, empathetic and resilient leadership to come to the fore and to be guided by values in the face of even the biggest obstacles, while frying our capacities by keeping us at a permanent state of frenzied stress with the resultant tax of mental and physical health issues and disorders that follow.

Tech-Enablement — expands our world to imagine that anything we have read about in our fantasy and sci-fi novels is possible and eliminates the drudgery of tasks so that we can focus on things that truly enlighten, empower and motivate us, while introducing elements that take us beyond our control, forcing us into ethically questionable areas and automating large parts of our employment universe with no retraining or safety nets.

Exponentiality — tells us that with the right idea and drive, you too can make it big and that large-scale innovation with the right alchemy of elements is possibile in this time horizon, not some far off future, while creating societal knock-on effects that wipe out value, equity and fairness and create a world of haves on the pioneering, early adopter curve and have nots in the mainstream and laggards

Disruption — creates a changemaking, business, team and personal growth mindset & imagination gene and provides the motivation and role models that a small group of people can actually change their community, their industry or their world, while messages to all of us that nothing is too safe or secure and drags down our trust in anything that looks like an established way or institution.

So as mentioned, it does all come back to coffee. Your thoughts, your builds, and your commentary are appreciated.

“I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless.” Napoleon

What’s Next:

a) Join:

Join our LinkedIn page. — just eclipsed 2,500 Linkedin Members to add to our 5,000 member count overall.

b) Attend

Our craft-building series will host two discussions on Framing and Reframing ChallengesLinkedIn Live(Friday June 24th 1pm ET) and Emerging Technologies Clubhouse (Thursday, June 30th, 1pm ET)

c) Participate

Our new how to get involved page:

d) Build

12 Cygnus value-driving ventures launching in 2022 — yes that’s eyebrow raising

e) Disrupt

Cygnus Sprints launched — The On-Demand Solutions Group for a Complex World (Consulting & Advisory Group) — we are changing how the way the game gets played:

f) Global & Local

Vancouver — Feature City of the Month — Join us June 29th over lunch:

h) Learn

Day of the Swan — — Watch our 24 Hours of Amazing Coverage of Making Sense of the World

Grey Swan Guild

Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges and Next Grey Swans — through content, experiences, intelligence, learning, community and ventures 🦢.

Our website hub:



Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey Swans — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Grey Swan Guild

Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey Swans — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢