Black Swans

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Supporting the need for developing agility and resilience as organizational core competencies is the concept of black swans advanced by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University's Polytechnic Institute. He writes that black swans are large events that are both unexpected and highly consequential. We never see black swans coming, but when they arrive they profoundly shape our world. Black swans can be positive or negative events. Examples of positive black swans include the development of the Internet and the rise of Google and Facebook. 9-11 is an example of a negative black swan.

Taleb states that we need to develop and implement processes and systems that can not only survive a black swan-type event, but thrive during and in the aftermath of one, such as a natural disaster like a Hurricane Sandy, or a Hurricane Katrina.

Indeed, unexpected yet extremely consequential events seem to be happening more often lately.

In the 21st century, agility, resilience, creativity, innovation, have become business imperatives if you want your organization to survive and thrive.

Arguably, these are some of the shared characteristics of the external environment or landscape that organizations and leaders are required to operate within today and in the foreseeable future.

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Black Swans

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Are Black Swan events negative or positive?