Be Resilient, Part IV: The Importance of Measurementon September 11, 2006 at 12:00 am
“SOA, Resiliency & Consiliency,” by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 16 May 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/05/the_blogger_wig.html.
“Child Labor & Resilient Nations,” by Stephen DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 7 September 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/09/child_labor_res.html.
- Resilience is the degree of resources needed to perturb an organization
- Agility is the political power to substitute resources to avoid a perturbation for an organization
- Resiliency is the amount of time and resources needed to return to life as it was before an organization
But why measure? Why not just wax poetically about social OODA loops, revised OODA loops, and other unfalsifiable concepts? Just because those are unscientific concepts, of course, do not make them wrong.
Maybe we should just think that
that resilience can’t be developed sector by sector. It must be developed holistically, with challenges in each sector attacked simultaneously. Otherwise, advances in one sector are cancelled out by setbacks in others.
The answer is: a “holistic” view of resilience is operationally worthless. Holism replaces action with an ephemeral philosophy that is not relevant for Development-in-a-Box, or anything “in-a-Box.”
I don’t think I am saying anything controversial here. Enterra CEO Steve DeAngelis, who gave the above quote about holistic approaches, earlier qualified his speech by emphasizing that his words should not be taken precisely
Both Safranski and Weeks are correct that resilience, strictly defined, refers only to a bouncing back. Unfortunately, I live in the business world where words are used to “sell” not just explain. In Enterra Solution sales pitches we try to make the point that resilience (i.e., bouncing back) is no longer sufficient if organizations want to thrive, not just survive, when faced with emerging 21st century challenges.
In business, science, are any progressive enterprise that focuses on development, selling is critical. It is crucial to generate theories and objective facts that can be understood, even without some deeper philosophically harmony between partners.
There are times and places for subjective arguments. I’ve lauded subjective perspectives, such as interpretivism and constructivism, on this blog before. Great scientific theories, such as the Wary Cooperator Model, are built from horizontal thinking. Positivism will never explain everything to us, and it may not even explain much that matters to us. When we try to induce meaning from brute facts we may even be deceived.
But that does not detract from the insistence that developmental, progressive fields of study need measurement. That’s how we build useful bodies of knowledge. That’s how we create useful fields for engineers, such as resilient software development.
That’s how science works.