Responding to and growing from a Black Swan event

Responding to and growing from a Black Swan event


Message from Tom

In our year of COVID-19 we are faced with two urgent and important imperatives, saving lives and sustaining livelihoods, and a less urgent but at least equally imperative of how we might start preparing for building a new world afterwards. In my 21 minutes I will suggest a way of conceptualising our COVID-19 Black Swan event in our VUCA environment and how it might unfold, and then illustrate how the use of Idealised Design, back casting and learning scenarios might help us in in addressing these imperatives in this unfolding



Professor Tom Ryan is one of South Africa’s leading innovators in the field of executive development. As co-designer of UCT’s Graduate School of Business’ pioneering Executive MBA and one of its graduates. Ryan is constantly pushing the boundaries of management education and development. He has an acute sense of the complex challenges that business executives face – particularly in the transitional economy context in which South Africa exists – and has developed a learning approach that equips them to deal with these challenges head on.

This approach integrates personal and organisational development as well as academic and workplace learning. It teaches participants to think analytically and find novel solutions to complex problems. Ryan regularly ploughs this knowledge and expertise back into the corporate sector, not only through the Executive MBA programme, but via the numerous seminars and workshops he personally facilitates. Ryan has a MInd Admin and BSc from UCT and is also the former Director of the UCT School of Engineering Management. He consults extensively to a number of corporates in South Africa in the fields of strategic planning and scenario thinking.

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