Once upon a time, when hand to hand combat was the norm and eating vegetables a sign of poverty, people believed that there was no such thing as a black swan. That was until Cygnus atratus was discovered by the English naturalist John Latham in 1790.
In 2007 Nassim Nicholas Taleb published Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable in which he expounded his Black Swan Theory on how random events are much more common than we think, have huge impact, are impossible to predict and yet we spend huge amounts of time (which could be better spent) trying to rationalise them.
It is this process of attempted rationalisation that is most damaging. Drowning in an overflowing and ever increasing sea of information and data, individuals and organisations spend so much time trying to second-guess what might happen and what the affects might be that they become glued to the past and present rather than being able to adapt and deal with the future.
Taleb advocates “stochastic tinkering” as a method of scientific discovery rather than research which is dictated by top down thinking. This non-determinist approach fits well with the virtual business solution. Starting with a question, which might not be the correct one, the participants in a virtual event or virtual communication space can use provided content and information to begin their own collaborative process, where randomisation can be embraced and included in the process without the fear that this will result in a poor (or the predicted ‘wrong’) outcome.