In decision theory we differentiate between risk, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Risk means that we have different options and that because of probability we can decide for the best-known option. Under uncertainty we know different options, but it is not possible to calculate the likelihood for those options. Hence it is more difficult to decide what will be the better option. Ambiguity is most difficult to handle; we are not sure about options and probability at all.
Digitalization, trade conflicts, worldwide pandemics, climate change are only few of the most recent incidents which lead to drastic changes in society. Digitalization is driving new business models and an interbranch competition. Trade conflicts lead to shifts in global value networks. Worldwide pandemics will lead to significant changes in customer behaviors. Overall, the focus on climate change will lead to a focus of reusable energies and materials and new production technologies.
All of those and moreover the combination will need to shift management behaviors from managing risks to managing ambiguity. This will have the effect that we need to move from thinking in options towards thinking in scenarios. Especially important is this for managing production networks. How can you achieve Operational Excellence across production networks under those new requirements?