VUCA Not So VUCA
Maybe today is not the fastest-paced time ever. Think about it.
1783 The Montgolfier brothers invented the hot air balloon
1800 Alessandro Volta invented the electrical circuit
1804 First steam locomotive hauled a train in South Wales
1826 Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the first photograph
1830s Samuel Morse and others invented the telegraph
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone
1877 Thomas Edison invented the phonograph
1879 Thomas Edison invented the light bulb
1886 Karl Benz invented the automobile
1888 Nikola Tesla invented AC (Alternating Current) induction motor
1893 Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin invented the Zeppelin
1895 Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio
1895 Lumière brothers presented the first film
1903 The Wright brothers flew the first airplane
1927 Philo Taylor Farnsworth invented the television
To many of you, the above lists will no doubt read like an utterly boring summation of inventions, where I see historical events unfold before my eyes. I see connections and I am truly amazed at how exciting some earlier eras were.
We tend to think of our era, well into the twenty-first century, as a fast-paced time, filled with new inventions that make our world smaller and more connected. Today’s world is often described as being a VUCA-world — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous.
That might be true to some extent, but have a look at the nineteenth century, when railroads started to connect people physically, faster than ever before. People traveled across Europe, across America, across Asia.
(Rich) people started to go on vacations in regions they never saw with their own eyes before, where people spoke different languages and had different customs, thus spreading their goods and knowledge and taking home other people’s goods and knowledge.
Have a good look at the lists above and see that electricity, the train, the photograph, the telegraph, the telephone, the light bulb, the automobile, the electric motor, the radio, and film — and many more inventions I haven’t listed — were all invented well before 1900!
For all these inventions — that still seem quite modern to us — that’s at least more than 125 years ago. That means that no one is alive today that was there when these inventions became a reality.
If you are interested in stories like these and more, you can buy Essential Psychology for Modern Organizations from Amazon and other bookstores: https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Psychology-Modern-Organizations-scientifically/dp/B08NP12D77/