In this time of turbulence, scientists, economists, social innovators, corporate and civic leaders, and citizens alike are asking the same basic questions: What causes one system to break down and another to rebound? Are we merely subject to the whim of forces beyond our control? Or, in the face of constant disruption, can we build better shock absorbers - for ourselves, our communities, our economies, and for the planet as a whole?
In their new book, Resilience, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy examine how institutions and people respond to disruptions. By studying how systems-from coral reefs to Lehman Brothers-respond to change, Zolli argues that we can be better prepared for unexpected events. Zolli is the curator for Pop!Tech, a community of innovators dedicated to accelerating people, projects, and ideas at the edge of change. In that role, he's had the opportunity to engage with organizations and people who are grappling with complex challenges around the world. He noticed a common theme in research being done about that work at foundations including Rockefeller and Gates, government agencies such as USAID and global institutions like the World Bank. All were pursuing the scientific study of resiliency and beginning to identify useful insights. Zolli argues that some of these insights can be applied broadly.
In Resilience, which he wrote with the playwright and journalist Ann Marie Healy, Zolli explains how difficult it is to keep big, complicated systems up and running when things go wrong-to prevent failures from cascading into more failures which in turn cascade into total collapse. And in a trek that takes him from arsenic-poisoned wells in Bangladesh to coral-reef preservation efforts in Jamaica, he finds a set of key factors when it comes to staying resilient.
There are many connections between the emerging science of resilience and the complexity framework at the core of our work at Plexus such as principles about diversity, sensitivity to feedback, and adaptation.
In addition to serving on the Board, Lisa Kimball served as Plexus' President for three years. She continues to serve Plexus as Chair, Learning Programs. Lisa's dissertation research focused on how senior executives worked on complex problems and the capacities that made some more effective than others. Lisa has more than 30 years experience working with organizations on systems challenges.
We'll also be joined by other members of the Plexus community to contribute experience with resilient systems.
Free, but registration required. This event has concluded.
More on resilience:
George Bonanno on Measuring Human Resilience (poptech video link)
‘Resilience’ Author Andrew Zolli on the Secrets of Failure (article link)
Learning to Bounce Back by Andrew Zolli (article link)
Oct 15 2012 audio (excludes breakout group conversation)
Oct 29 2012 audio (excludes breakout group conversation)