There are three truths by which many organisations either survive or fail. The first is that everything is changing: technology, industries, regulations, economies, markets, societies, and the climate. Some changes are generated by organisations, while others happen to organisations. Some changes happen slowly or are otherwise foreseeable, while others are fast and surprise us. The second truth is that organisations must adapt to their environment if they are to survive and thrive. To be more specific, people must adapt, and create the capacity for resilient operations. Even in the most technologically advanced sectors, only people can do this. The third truth is that everything has limits, including technology and people. Some limits are fixed, but our adaptive capacity is malleable.
Aviation is changing in so many ways that it is hard to envision how things might look in a few decades’ time. But in an increasingly complex world, everything is becoming more interconnected and interdependent. Changes in one part of the aviation system, society or the world affect parts that were not thought to be connected. Perturbations ripple through the industry under the surface, with changes emerging in ways that surprise us. Even small changes in one part can result in big changes in another.
Solutions are also interconnected and can also be hard to see. One feature of complexity that is often unappreciated is diversity. Complex systems require diversity to cope with changing conditions. This is why just as a bee colony has different kinds of bees for different roles, organisations have different kinds of people for different jobs. But we don’t just need diverse jobs. We need diverse ways of thinking. Diversity of thinking is needed to cope with the diversity of challenges and opportunities ahead concerning sustainability, safety, security, business continuity, capacity, and efficiency. So, how can we expand and enrich the diversity of thinking in organisations necessary to meet the demands of a complex and rapidly changing world, and how can we create the conditions for this to be expressed?
Research in a variety of disciplines, from psychology to complexity science, suggests several ways to encourage diversity of thought in yourself, your team and your organisation