• 08 March 2011

    GCPH Seminar Series 7 Lecture 4 - Anthony Hodgson

    Location: The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU
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    Is resilience enough?

    It has become all too evident in recent months that the world, as well as local society, is being subjected to an increasing pace of shocks. These range from natural events, such as earthquakes, eruptions, super-storms and large scale flooding, to societal shocks including financial crises, budget cuts and unrest with outworn regimes and politics. At the local level we see escalating fuel and food prices, weather stress and degrading public health.

    These challenges are having the effect of switching the agenda from sustainability towards resilience. The question emergency planners ask is "how can we plan for anything without having to plan for everything?" The essential nature of resilience is to prepare capacity to be able to bounce back from shocks, surprises and contingencies. The task is to get things returned to normal as quickly as possible.

    But supposing we are entering a future where normal as we know it no longer exists? There may be structural changes taking place in people and planet that are too far gone from the normal that we have become comfortable with. This talk introduced the idea that we need to begin thinking about what it would mean to bounce beyond, to respond to crises as opportunities to change the way we configure life. In the increasing frequency of what Homer-Dixon calls synchronous failure, where our rigid structures are really broken down, we may be able to initiate positive changes that are impossible as 'gentle change' as the current system fights to keep the status quo. This leads us to a new concept called transformative resilience.

    Presentation slides - PDF
    Seminar summary - PDF


    Anthony Hodgson is the founder of and Director of Research at Decision Integrity Limited, as well as a founding member of the International Futures Forum.He has published papers on various aspects of educational technology, systems thinking and facilitation, and has co-authored a book on Scenario Thinking.