Dr. Nicolas Kfuri: How to Bring Order to Chaos
Date: April 7th 2020
Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič
We are living in a world that is getting increasingly chaotic. Moreover, organisations are exposed more to chaos than to order. So how can order be brought to organisations? This was the question tackled by Dr. Nicolas Kfuri, a global expert executive trainer, professor and consultant, whose areas of expertise are Corporate Global Strategy, Marketing and Branding, and Internationalisation Processes, in a recent webinar organised by the COTRUGLI Business School.How are today’s crises, such as the COVID-19 epidemic, climate, etc., affecting work and businesses? Is there a chance that some organisations could end up being even stronger after the crisis? When trying to answer these questions, Dr. Kfuri recalled that order has its roots in political, economic and religious systems, meaning that the process of ‘getting things in order’ is different from culture to culture, from country to country, and from organisation to organisation.
In this process we also run into a knowledge paradox, since ‘we know’ more than ever before, however, since organisations are constantly growing, which by default brings more chaos, we need to put this “growing chaos in order, so that organisational chaos can become more orderly,” said Dr. Kfuri.
Society keeps changing – since time began!
However, while society keeps changing, it is becoming harder (for organisations) to keep their customers satisfied. Dr. Kfuri reiterated the new level of uncertainty, since this is now a time when we are going from ‘not knowing the means’ to ‘not knowing the ends’.
Throughout the history of social development, humans have come from the impact of authorities to that of social media, which has led to us reshaping our personal relationships. This, in turn, also affects culture, and culture within organisations. In addition, the traditional industries are being transformed by technology, which, as a result of corporations being affected by all the aforementioned factors, is ultimately affecting society.
In the Q & A part of the webinar, Dr. Kfuri replied to a question regarding whether the current crisis will ‘bring down’ the EU as a Union, to which he replied that “it is true that we are ‘together’ when things are okay, but we are not ‘together’ when things go wrong. Therefore, we will be able to keep the Union if we are able to stay together in solidarity too.” However, he doesn’t believe that the EU is really “coming to an end”.
Ikea, for example, is opening stores within city centres, the banking sector is being reshaped by newcomers, and companies such as Amazon are being described as ‘market disruptors’. In addition, the emerging markets are increasingly affecting global business, said Dr. Kfuri, adding that the three main ‘worlds’ in the planet are converging: physical, digital, and biological.
“It seems that ‘everything’ started in 2007,” recalled Dr. Kfuri, listing a few completely new products and innovations, among them: the first iPhone, Facebook, Twitter, Android, Amazon Kindle, Airbnb, IBM’s Watson, Intel’s non-silicon material, even renewable energy, shale revolution, DNA sequencing and ‘some Satoshi Nakamoto’ (Satoshi Nakamoto is the name used by the presumed pseudonymous person or persons who developed bitcoin; author’s note).
“Technology has been evolving since it began, but it seems that today this evolution is moving faster than ever. This process began speeding up a hundred or so years ago, when it still took around 20 to 30 years for inventions to come onto the market, whereas nowadays they only take a couple of years.”
From AI to the Bible
Dr. Kfuri next tackled the topic of artificial intelligence (AI), the advantage of which compared to human intelligence is ‘updatability’ and ‘connectivity’, adding that “computers don’t sleep but they do ‘learn’.” In addition, humankind has problems, such as the current pandemic risks, which - according to Dr. Kfuri - remind us of how globalised the world in which we live is today.
“Globalisation brings great things, but it also brings additional risks.” Dr. Kfuri believes that if some 25 years ago globalisation led us to “how to make things cheaper”, in the next 25 years it will lead us to “how to make things smarter”.
With these factors in mind, and by continuing to follow the goal of ‘bringing stability into our organisations’, the management of organisations needs to bear in mind that they are leading their organisations in a very turbulent world. Therefore, they have to come from a standpoint of “controlling a space” to that of “mastering time” in this fluid world. Furthermore, managers have to “fight settlers and build up a so-called nomadic culture in this mobile or so-called extraterritorial world, since people should be ready to embark on new challenges, which demand new skills, in new locations – constantly.”
Coming back to the differences between AI and humans, Dr. Kfuri mentioned storytelling, which inspires people – including within organisations – and management can and should play a positive role in this area. “This is also going to create a strong link between your organisation and your customers,” he advised, adding that the best-selling book of all time is a collection of stories about people. “It’s the Bible.”
This article is available also in Slovene.