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« DESIGNING FOR CHANGE | Main | BEAUTY & RESILIENCE »
Thursday
May232013

THE WEB OF RESILIENCE: COMPLEX AND CONNECTED

Resilience depends upon strength in numbers and it thrives on connections. Any resilient system can only be achieved through a highly connected network of equally resilient parts, allowing it to adapt to, and benefit from change. In fact, in a resilient ecosystem, each resilient part is  contributing towards multiple resilient systems, creating much needed redundancy. 

For example, a road may be used for facilitating multi modal transportation, but also for generating electricity from the load and speed of passing vehicles and filtering stormwater back into the ground. Similarly, a car may be used to transport people, but also to clean the road, generate data to study movement patterns and generate energy by compressing pressure sensitive mats embedded into the road system. When such resilient parts colaborate in this manner, the impacts grow exponentially.

Resilient systems within a given ecosystem also overlap and create self informing feedback loops. The interdependency between such systems also acts as a cross check against inefficiencies and insecurities that may build up in any system over time. The recent push in India to revolutionize the welfare distribution program using electronic fingerprint and retina scanning offers a good case study.

Two systems: Public Welfare and Technology overlap to create long lasting value.Corruption in India has always been a major barrier to equitable economic development. This is particular acute when it comes to disbursing public funds to the weakest segments of society, many of whom are uneducated. By digitally cataloging its entire population of 1.2 billion people, the country has streamlined its process of public assistance and put the funds directly in the hands of end users via email, text or direct deposit, thereby cutting out the corrupt middle man. At the same time, this has also exposed many people to such technology for the first time and displayed its benefits clearly. Now as these people begin to utilize their received resources, they are also exploring new, tech savvy ways to improve their lives in way previously thought unimaginable to them. Both these systems reinforce each other, delivering exponential benefits to end users. And rest assured, if the funds do not arrive on time, the govt. will now be hearing from citizens via email, text or twitter!

Such interconnectedness demand enhanced collaboration. If the twentieth century revolved around the ideas of mechinization, standardization and streamlining, ours is a century that will evolve around complexity, collaboration and constant protoyping. 

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