Karen Cham

The industrial model of society is redundant. Communications, logistics and supply chains are no longer pipelines, they are complex co-evolving eco-systems of nested dependencies that are in constant flux, with innovation regularly outstripping policy and law.

Digital transformation is the all-encompassing term for this steady migration of every aspect of our lives into code; a fundamental and technologically deterministic shift that has, in many cases, been a frictionless acceleration and disruption of livelihoods, marketplaces and economies.

It is the term Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) that describes the constant, unpredictable change that is now the norm in many planning, organizational and management scenarios. The only way to properly manage VUCA scenarios is to harness the connectivity and agility digital transformation affords by putting the user experience foremost and central to all software development.

Karen shares human centred design methods from the Bauhaus to the Santa Fe Institute via telecommunications, psychology and the arts to deliver a workable playbook on how to design Human Centred Digital Transformation in VUCA Scenarios.


Karen Cham is an internationally recognised expert in human centred design for VUCA socio-technical scenarios at scale. She is the Co-Director of The Behavioural Research Analytics in Neurotechnological Systems (BRAINS) Lab, a collaborative research and knowledge exchange facility concerned with ethical, inclusive and sustainable digital futures. Her research is in human/machine convergence, the digital transformation of values and designing for behaviour change.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a Women In Games Ambassador, sponsored by Google Women Tech Makers and a Non-Executive Director and Trustee of NEST, the UK Govts £24bn pension with 12m users, the largest FinTech transformation of its kind in the world.




Citation Data

Author(s): Karen Cham
Year: 2023
Title: Human centred design for VUCA socio-technical scenarios at scale
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/karen-cham-rsd12
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Kingston, UK | ONLINE
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 15 July 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404
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