Despite the way we see our international community, it is not made up of ‘isolated trees’. Instead, the branches of a global forest are intertwining at an accelerating pace. As the complexity and interconnections explode, so our collective blindness and inability to see the forest that is really there is becoming increasingly dangerous. It means that those of us within businesses and institutions and governments and social communities miss the linkages. So we miss the worst potential threats. It also means there can be no joined-up thinking. So we not only miss finding effective ways to counter the risks that threaten our organizations’ survival, but those actions that we do take are misaligned and bring unintended consequences we can never anticipate.
It is all these mistakes together that now threaten to undermine established industries, major international institutions, and entire countries. They are mistakes that – once made – rapidly become contagious and risk pulling down other industries, institutions and countries. And that is why they are mistakes that increasingly threaten to destabilize not just every organization and community we are part of, but the world economy as a whole. The consequences of each individual mistake would be bad enough. Yet they are all linked too.