Resilience, vulnerability, and adaptive capacity: Implications for system performance

Resilience, vulnerability, and adaptive capacity: Implications for system performance

Erica Dalziell, Sonia McManus

Implications for System Performance. 1st International Forum for Engineering Decision Making (IFED), Stoos, Switzerland: 5-8 Dec 2004

Abstract

As our infrastructure and organisations become ever more networked and interdependent there is a growing need to focus on managing overall system risk.  In particular, there is a need to focus not only on the vulnerability of our systems to failure, but also on our ability to manage and minimise the impact of any failures.  This raises some interesting concepts in terms of how we might design systems to be more resilient to change.  For example, the traditional engineering approach had been to design systems that are less vulnerable to damage from hazard events.  However system resilience can also be enhanced by increasing the adaptive capacity of the system, either through ensuring the system design includes enough redundancy to provide continuity of function, or through increasing the ability and speed of the system to evolve and adapt to new situations as they arise.  This paper discusses the particular challenges for evaluating the resilience of organisations to major hazard events.

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