Robust Resilience

In Purposeful Learning, Ward is embarking on a journey. A journey to understand how organizations might be able to better engineer complex systems that are more resilient. He suspects that the core of this design involves Accumulating Opportunity.

The velocity of decision making is critical for this resilience. The more complex a system becomes, the greater the potential consequences of each decision, the slower decision-making becomes. As decision-making slows, systems become more rigid and more susceptible to catastrophic failure.

So, in order to achieve robust resilience within complex systems, it is critical to look at the velocity of decision-making.

All decision are made with assumptions. They involve the known and the unknown. Our confidence is based on the ratio of these two factors. We utilize our "intuition" to walk into that which is unknown.

Successful decision-making requires us to have something we are calling Informed Intuition. The more informed our intuition is, the better it can manage the risks of potential system failure. Or, as Ward recently put it, can build systems that break better.

How, then, can an organization better inform the intuition of each of its myriad of decision-makers so that good decisions can be made fast, ensuring that systems remain supple.

To begin to address this question, it may be helpful to take a step back and define the nature of complex systems.

One might argue that resilient complex systems have three critical characteristics; they are holonic, adaptive and contextual.