“I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.” Michael Crichton
Britain for Brexit, Donald Trump as US President, Iceland thrashing England at football and even shrinking Toblerones… what we once took for granted is being flipped on its head in a topsy-turvy uncontrolled world that for many is just bewildering. Things we considered as certainties are being overtaken by random acts of chaos and disorder. But should these things trouble us in business as well as in our own daily lives?
One form of explanation could be found in Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "black swan theory". In his 2007 book, Taleb regards almost all significant historical events, scientific discoveries, and artistic achievements as "black swans"— unpredicted and seemingly pointless. He cites the events of World War I, the ending of the Soviet Union plus the inventions of the personal computer and the internet as all examples of black swan events.
In our own business, if it hadn’t been for the establishment and publicity surrounding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the 1980s and recognition that we must do something urgently about our planet’s future for our children – well, we wouldn’t be in the business of helping companies reduce their emissions and enhance energy performance.
We’ve come a long way, but the consequences of that global warming scare can now be found in everyday products such as hybrid vehicles, PV roof panels, wind and wave energy generation, and even the work by the Tesla Company in developing domestic house batteries. Closer to home, our own work has thrived and we find ourselves moving ever closer to corporate sector sustainability projects. And we’re also encountering new developments associated with our business such as smartphone technology, remote access and enhanced testing techniques. It’s certainly keeping us on our toes as our assessor teams spend a considerable part of their day devising news strategies for clients seeking the most up-to-date and cost effective solutions to their sustainable energy needs. It’s constantly challenging but exceptionally rewarding when we deliver.
Conducting a quick straw poll round the office I believe we have a slightly different take on uncertainty. Rather than being concerned or apprehensive, I feel that we should actively embrace uncertainty as another stage in human development and as a catalyst for change in a dynamic environment. Because only through change comes learning, development and growth and this in turn generates opportunities in business and in our daily lives. Shame about the Toblerone, though.
Written by: Darren Evans, Managing Director, Darren Evans Assessments.