The Black Swan

black swan south africa 2018
A black swan is a high-impact, hard-to-predict and rare event that is beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.

The Coronavirus - our black swan 2020

The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus shows us how vulnerable our complex globalized social and economic system with its interdependencies is. Suddenly we realize that global supply chains are suddenly disrupted, and we painfully note that in the just-in-time logic there are no capacity reserves and redundancies in the system.

The unprecedented lockdown in China is directly impacting global supply chains. Pure software companies are less exposed to supply chain disruptions, but remain at risk due to cascading economic effects.

Many companies have banned all “non-essential” travel and some have banned all international travel. While travel companies are directly impacted, all companies that depend on in-person meetings to conduct sales, business development, or partnership discussions are being affected.

The coronavirus will keep the world busy for a long time, the exact effects cannot yet be estimated, but for the time after the crisis we should already now make up our minds not to simply go back to business as usual. Some companies have seen their growth rates drop sharply.

We should analyze the stress test that our society is currently undergoing and draw the appropriate conclusions. We must pay more attention to issues such as Cyber Defence.

White swans are the norm - Black swans are an opportunity

The Black Swan examines the influence of highly improbable and unpredictable events that have a massive impact. In a business context, the nature of a black swan is that it represents a combination of events that impact the business in a meaningful manner.

Black Swans are significant risks in the business plan, and at the same time, a massive business opportunity for digital businesses prepared to shift their value proposition rapidly.

With change comes opportunity, because black swans damage your competitor's ability to execute strategy.

The Thanksgiving Turkey

Nasim Taleb, The Black Swan author uses the Thanksgiving Turkey to describe what a black swan occurrence is and why expectations built on historical events can fail dramatically. 

“Consider a turkey that is fed every day. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed every day by friendly members of the human race ‘looking out for its best interests,’ as a politician would say. “On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.”

The black swan event has killed the turkey – or in business terms: it has stopped your competitors´ ability to execute strategy.

A black swan is an opportunity

Our opportunity lies in defining black-swan scenarios and execution models while our competition still focuses his efforts on hunting white swans. When a black swan arrives, we can attack the market. Search listening and social listening will help us understand when the time is right – and we have to do. 

We find events in which your competitors lack sufficient information, and pre-design workflows and escalations to prepare yourself for the market opportunity, most of your competitors are missing out.

How we look at black swans

Vertical Search 89%
Business Network Interviews 75%
Scenario Thinking 64%

Connect Social

stop guessing – start listening

C84 OU is a company registered in Estonia.

Registry Code: 14492366