Inspired 21 opens with a meditation by Prof Dr Ahmad Izanee Awang, OUM’s Vice-Chancellor/President, on VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) that defines the times we live in and the critical importance for open universities such as OUM to be agile enough to surf the VUCA wave to ensure they have a place in the future landscape of higher education. The issue also features Prof Olaf Zawacki-Richter and Prof Insung Jung, two prominent scholars of open, distance, and digital education (ODDE), discussing such wide-ranging subjects as knowledge gaps in ODDE, shortcomings and opportunities in ODDE research, and the place of critical theory in ODDE discourse. Last but not least, the issue is proud to present the next opinion piece by our guest columnist, Emeritus Professor Junhong Xiao. In the current piece, Prof Xiao makes an urgent case for Asian ODDE practitioners and scholars to take a context-sensitive approach to EdTech research and praxis, and to avoid outdoing their western counterparts in hyping up shiny new tech-objects emerging from the west.