Vaughn Tan – How to organise innovation

Vaughn Tan

University College London's School of Management

From The Conference August 29, 2022

“Confusing risk and uncertainty can be very expensive and unpleasant.”


“Organisations shaped by a risk mindset are naturally resistant to change.”


Organisations that want to remain innovative now and in the future need an uncertainty mindset according to Vaughn Tan. Most organisations are built on the conventional model of risk-taking that has clearly defined job roles, goals and milestones. Unfortunately, this model also makes it hard for organisations to learn, change and adapt which is ultimately necessary in our world characterised by uncertainty.


Risk and uncertainty differ in several ways. Risk takes a more mathematical approach being calculable while uncertainty has a lot of possible actions and outcomes. Some of them might be more desirable than others. Vaughn Tan suggests that organisations might benefit from learning to switch from a risk-assessment-focused mindset to an uncertainty mindset. We’re talking about holding roles open for people involved in solving a problem, setting goals with no defined end, and (re)learning the ability to learn.


Now, working with an uncertainty mindset, how might organisations more holistically understand what effects innovations can have? How might we create truly regenerative innovations?

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