Our Understanding of Complexity

And what skills you need to master it

The world we live in has changed profoundly: Our knowledge has increased exponentially, infrastructures have become globalised, and technological developments have transformed the way we communicate with each other.

We face an increasingly complex world to navigate in our daily lives, which can affect us in many different ways.

The widely known acronym VUCA describes our world as:

stock exchange curve standing for volatility


Things change continuously. What is true today isn’t necessarily true tomorrow—even the nature and dynamics of change. Innovations that prove successful today can be worthless next year. As events unfold in completely unexpected ways, it’s becoming impossible to determine cause and effect.

Question Marks standing for uncertainty


More than ever, we live in conditions of unpredictability and an inherent possibility for surprise. It is impossible to foresee how markets will evolve; historical forecasts and past experiences are losing their relevance and are rarely applicable as a basis for anticipating the shape of things to come.

Business man holding a complex data structure


Simple cause and effect relationships have been replaced by complex, interconnected forces and events. Interconnectedness makes all things increasingly complex. Decisions are reduced to a tangled mesh of reaction and counter-reaction—and choosing the correct, single path is almost impossible.

Blurried picture of a street in a big city with cars


“One size fits all” and “best practice” approaches are no longer satisfactory or effective. In today’s world, not everything can be seen as merely black and white. The needs of modern organisations and management are more contradictory and paradoxical than ever, challenging our personal value systems to the core.  Old certainties have disappeared in a mist of haziness and misunderstanding.

Along with the elements of the VUCA paradigm, we see other emerging dynamics that require attention: 

Diversity and the Multicultural Workforce

In today’s global workplace, employees are more likely to interact with coworkers, vendors, or customers from different cultures and countries, and need to work productively with people who have been shaped by different values, beliefs, and experiences.

Five hands of different skin colour holding together as a team

Distributed Organisations

With growing globalisation, organisations and leadership teams have become more decentralised and are now spread across multiple countries and time zones. Communication and culture itself have moved outside the boundaries of a physical location so that every individual involved in operations and decision making can be included wherever they work from and live.


International strategists and business leaders are increasingly recommending skills and competencies that will enable professionals, experts, and managers to face such complex environments now and in the future.

These skills all double back to one key focus:
An individual’s ability to enact and / or adapt to change.

Any industry is capable of changing at a moment’s notice. Business and commerce are now regularly disrupted with new ideas, methodologies, and technologies. Those that haven’t been affected by such changes aren’t immune; they just haven’t been confronted by emerging transitions yet.

With the carefully curated topics provided by the Smart Learning Academy professionals, business experts and leaders will be able to keep up with a business environment that’s constantly evolving.

Our topics:

Change Management & Transformation


Transformative change inevitably brings serious impacts with it for an organisation. To do so, these challenges can be met by the following actions:

  • Counter volatility with vision
  • Meet uncertainty with understanding
  • Face to complexity with clarity
  • Challenge ambiguity with agility
Team doing a high-five

Collaboration & Agile

Collaboration is essential when it comes to working and living in a cooperative society. 
In both digital and physical spaces, professionals should be able to develop ideas and jointly work on projects. This not only includes soft skills like communication, but also the development of rules, procedures and routines.

a lightbulb formed out of data 0 and 1 with blue background

Creativity & Innovation

Engineers, artists, teachers and accountants — in every occupation, professionals need to use creative thinking skills to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

In any field, innovation is key to the adaptability and overall success of an organisations.

an arrow pointing in two different directions

Critical Thinking & Decision Making


Critical thinking is the overall skill to acquire, process, interpret, rationalize, and critically analyse large volumes of often opposing information to the point of making an informed decision and taking action in a timely fashion. It is also about being aware of one’s own biases in decision making.

Interculturalism & Diversity

Intercultural competence is the range of cognitive, affective, and behavioural skills that lead to understanding, effective and appropriate communication with those who are not like us, e.g. such as people from other cultures.

A red paper boat leading the way followed by blue smaller ships



Leadership encompasses an individual’s desire for setting goals, walking a team through the steps required, and achieving those goals collaboratively. Whether one is a seasoned entrepreneur or a new hire just starting their careers, leadership applies to career development.

A blank notebook on a desk with a smartphone, pencil and glasses next to it

Learning & Knowledge Management


It’s true that knowledge is power, but it has little value unless it can be easily accessed and put into practice. Organisations need to implement suitable knowledge management systems in order to allow for a rich learning experience so that employees can acquire in-depth knowledge and achieve their business goals and other personal aims.

A woman standing on a balcony with open arms looking at the city embracing life

Life Skills


Life skills is the final category: focusing on oneself and the ability to build relationships with others. Such skills are crucial to the ongoing success of any professional. Business is frequently done through the connections one person makes with the others around them.