Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 TOCICO Conference - Anti Fragility

This is the second post in a series. For the first post - go here.

A main theme in the conference was Anti-Fragility, becoming anti-fragile as individuals and a community and helping companies become anti-fragile. I have heard the term before but this time I feel I got a much better grasp of it. Here's what I can share:

  • Definitions:
    • Fragile:
      • Sign on the box will say "Handle With Care"
      • Mythological prototype is Damocles with the sword above his head ready to drop when his life is at its best
      • Features limited gain and unlimited pain
      • Breaks in reaction to pain
Richard Westall's Sword of Damocles (Source:Wikipidia)
    • Robust:
      • Sign on the box will say nothing, as it doesn't make a difference
      • Mythological prototype is the Phoenix which comes back from the ashes just as it was
      • Features limited gain and limited pain
      • Recovers in reaction to pain

 FJ Bertuch's Phoenix (Source: Wikipedia)

    • Anti-Fragile:
      • Sign on the box will say "Please Kick"
      • Mythological prototype is the Hydra which grows 2 new heads for every 1 cut off
      • Features unlimited gain and limited pain
      • Grows in reaction to pain
Hercules Killing the Lernean Hydra
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Anti-fragile systems are designed around multiple low risk experiments, with the ability to quickly focus and cash in on the few successes, letting go of those experiments that did not make the grade. This is a system that does not protect all of its parts.

Now, of course, it is clear that the anti-fragile state is relative, time-based and specific. Think of the human body - our bones are quite anti-fragile, recovering to be stronger at the break point, but our necks and hearts are not, bearing the burden of past trauma, if they ever recover.....

While the subject was a repeating thred there weren't much ideas as to how to make it happen, One thing was made very clear, though, throughout the conference and that is that systems that are based on forecasts are fragile, more will come on that.

So, take a moment to reflect about your private life, your organization, our community - where are they now? how can this be improved? at what cost? 

Let me know what you think.

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