Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Art of Placemaking II: Resiliency

This was my second day at the marvelous workshop. It was focused on us internally, rather than our environment (place): Our creativity, what we can do today, the barriers I impose on myself, my metastories...and the focus was RESILIENCY.
"Resilience: Creativity applied in circumstances of adversity."
Laws of resilience:

1) Yesterday's creativity is today's lead shoes: Don't fall in love with your ideas, learn to appreciate them and to let go of them when needed.
2) Resilience is directly proportionate to the risk you're willing to take: Survival is in the margins. Don't aim at changing everything to keep yourself in your comfort zone. Instead put yourself out of your comfort zone and learn to re-create constantly to adapt to the always-new conditions. 
3) Over-planning reduces agility: Plan yes, don't fall in love with the plan and the first idea. Create something that gives you room to change it when you need.
4) Over-planning produces a 'false sense of resilience': The best example I can think of, is that about 'being prepared for climate change'. We are getting prepared for what we think that is going to happen. What if it doesn't happen that way?? Our plans will be completely useless and there is no resilience, just the sense that we're ready to act, if only if what we think will happen, actually does happen. 
"Second-guessing the future and preparing for forecast threats lulls people into a belief that they have the future under control. This 'false sense of resilience' reduces their agility to deal with elements that were not in their forecast."
5) There are not right or wrong actions. You may choose not to act. But do not, not choose. Not choosing is death: Don't get paralyzed because you have to get a decision "right". Even if it seems stupid, you will have more and new information.
"It is far better for a man to go wrong in freedom, than to go right in chains"                    -Thomas H. Huxley -
6) Resilience is proportionate to how much the organism plays: 
"Play allows us to experiment with new ways of relating in a non-critical environment" 
7)Blame reduces resilience:
"In survival situations, those who blame others... perish first. Survivors take personal responsibility and choose a course of action"
8) Honed senses improve resilience (tune your senses to what is really happening in your environment)
"Resilience is tied directly to the ability to be a 'sense learner' - learning from the direct experience of an environment rather than third party interpretations". Babies are sense learners until they transform in symbol learners.
There is also a concept from Bernard Lietaer that is in my heart. From his article on financial stability, he says:
"Nature does not select for maximum efficiency, but for a balance between the two opposing poles of efficiency and resilience... Too much efficiency leads to brittleness and too much resilience leads to stagnation: The former is caused by too little diversity and connectivity and the latter by too much diversity and connectivity.
It is critical to understand that the findings described in natural ecosystems arise from the very structure of a complex flow system, and therefore that they remain valid for any complex flow network with similar structure, regardless of what is processed in the system: It can be biomass in an ecosystem, information in a biological system...or money in an economic system"
These concepts really resonate with what I believe and I would like to apply them in different aspects of life, which includes the Business Model Generation for Community Organizations project. In the way I see the project, resiliency concepts are (and must be) completely applicable.

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