Today saw the first course I have run specifically on the subject of resilience. It was an experiment but one that we will repeat and refine over the next few months.. It provides a tight focus for some of the wider complexity principles and is an issue of considerable importance for an increasingly stressed economic and social system globally. Its important to distinguish resilience from robustness, The latter is the ability to withstand threat, the former to ability to recover quickly.
A common mistake is to assume that resilience means to recover as is, which is an over narrow definition. Often failure means rebirth, creating something new, recognising that the old is no longer sustainable. A point I made in the seminar with reference to the chaos sub-domain model of Cynefin. If you are thrown into chaos in an unexpected way without any ability to manage constraints then there is little alternative but to accept the process of destruction and rebirth. Trying to prevent final collapse will just expend energy that you will need post-collapse to create something new and more sustainable. That, fortunately is rare, but most of the time if a system suffers trauma of a kind then while it may recover, it never recovers unchanged.
I'll post more on resilience over the next few months. I'm also going to revise the course having run it for the first time today. I did however identify some seven characteristics of managing for resilience during the day although I am only now making them explicit as a group.
Early days, but here they are (and they will change)
As I say, early days and I'll be working these up in more detail, probably putting some of the new material into the Boston Advanced course in a few weeks time.
For the moment my own personal resilience is about to be tested with a long flight to Auckland for a single nights stay before going onto Calgary. Thats a lot of travel and a lot of time difference. More on that as the patterns unfold.
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