Not Sure What to Do? Blame It On V.U.C.A.


So, blame in VUCA or accept that we live in a world that is no longer and is yet to be.

Chris Byrne and I had the recent pleasure of conducting an interview with Jamie Gallagher on our Playground Podcast. Jamie is the CEO of Faber-Castell USA, a 258-year-old company that makes high-quality pens, pencils as well as arts and crafts.

Jamie is a very intelligent man with some groundbreaking ideas about creativity and change. During our podcast, which will be available next week, Jamie referenced a term with which I was unfamiliar – VUCA.

VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. By putting all of these words into one acronym, VUCA, we are supplied with a way to describe situations where there is no clear way forward. In other words, a description of what the toy industry is currently enduring.

The toy industry is freighted with challenges whose outcomes are unclear:

  • Will there be tariffs on toys and if so for how much and for how long?
  • Is the bricks and mortar retail industry in a melt-down, or is it just undergoing an adjustment?
  • Will a toy retailer take the place of Toys R Us or is the age of the category killer at an end?
  • Will the toy industry be faced with more calls to end the use of petroleum-based plastic, or is it a passing storm?
  • Is the downturn in births permanent, or is it something that will adjust in the short term?
  • Will Britan crash out of the European Union, stay, form a trade alliance with the U.S. or take a different turn?
  • Will the next President be a Republican or a Democrat?

So, blame in VUCA or accept that we live in a world that is no longer and is yet to be. We have to wait to see how it is all going to turn out. Until then, let's stay calm and carry on. 


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