From VUCA to BANI: Understanding the Changing Business Landscape

The last decade has taught us several lessons when doing business in chaotic and uncertain situations. In the business world, many new terms are used to describe the current environment, used in academic literature and press coverings. The terms help us deal with and understand what is happening worldwide. For the last four decades, the term VUCA has been used, which covers many dimensions in the business sector. However, due to changes in the current landscape, people are increasingly using the term BANI. The following blog will help you grasp the meaning and understand why there was necessary to transition to a new acronym due to the changing landscape.

Making Sense of the World with VUCA

VUCAEach letter in the acronym stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. The term is still in practice and gaining popularity in the last decade as it covers many dimensions of the environment. You must've read articles entitled 'the VUCA world' describing current conditions. Let us begin by taking up each letter and explaining its relevance:

  1. Volatility: This aspect points towards the speed at which the industry and market in the world are changing in general. The world is associated with the ups and downs in the business sector and the turbulence caused in short periods.

  2. Uncertainty: This skill can be used to predict the future. However, a part of its meaning is about a person's inability to understand what is going on and to grasp the uncertainty in their environment. Uncertainty in itself means the inability to predict what is coming next.

  3. Complexity: A phenomenon referring to many different factors, including relationships, technological advancements, and roles in the business sector that make the situation complex. The more complexity, the harder it gets to predict and understand what is coming next.

  4. Ambiguity: This is about having clear interpretations of systems and organizations. Incomplete messages or contradictions raise the opacity of a situation.

The term helps people understand the reality of the challenges facing them in the business sector. This will allow professionals to control their behaviors and instincts and learn to make critical decisions in times of chaos and uncertainty. When it comes to the business sector, all these four words are related and can be utilized to describe the unpredictability of the situations around us. So why do we need a new acronym today?

The Now: Making Sense of the Term BANI

BANIIt has been two years since we have a new term on the block called BANI. The term stands for brittle, anxious, non-linear, and incomprehensible. This term's creator is an anthropologist triggered by climate changes, pandemics, and other uncertainties. Many say that the term is used to describe a dystopic-like scenario. Here are some insights:

  1. Brittle: This means that the world around us may seem firm but fragile and breakable. The environment is showing an illusion of strength; we all know that nothing is as strong as it used to be.

  2. Anxious: This, again, is the 'illusion of control', which refers to feelings of helplessness and being overwhelmed by challenges. Making the right decisions and whether these decisions will bring about positive outcomes are all part of the changing phenomena. Every professional is filled with anxiety due to our lagging control over the world.

  3. Non-Linear: Unpredictability of the world which results in complexity. There is no straightforward solution to anything; everything requires excellent knowledge, motivation, and creativity.

  4. Incomprehensible: Today, we can hardly understand what is happening and interpret what might happen next. Finding answers to all questions is complex and requires excellent learning abilities. This creates an illusion of knowledge that is always acquired but never entirely gives us the correct answer.


The terms VUCA and BANI might make us depressed because of what it signifies regarding the changing landscape, and it is crucial to realize what is happening to take action. When it comes to a business environment, these terms help us to grasp the world around us and make sense of it to provide strategies to help us survive. We live in a world that is delicate and can break anytime. Therefore it is crucial to be prepared to face difficulties.


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