Strengthen Robustness

Robustness is the ability for a system to resist change. It is a highly desirable property of the Order system. If a failure occurs, we immediately fall into the Chaotic domain and the state of the system changes. If we had to pick a statement that characterizes robustness,  it would be NASA flight director Gene Kranz’s “Failure is not an option”.

Experts in the Cynefin Complicated create fail-safe designs, identify all known risks, assess the probabilities of failure, estimate risks in terms of frequency and severity, and develop reliable mitigation plans.

By using the Cynefin Framework we can depict Strengthen Robustness as any attempt in the Order system to avoid a negative event by utilizing barriers and preventive measures.   

An example of barriers in Safety would be the deployment of personal protective equipment, safety rules, grounding apparatus, hazard signs, and mechanical warning devices. Strengthening Robustness includes deploying stronger materials, trucks, and tools that can take a beating and keeping on performing.

A lot of time, energy, and money in the mining industry has been invested on strengthening robustness. Simply observe the number of exhibitors at safety trade shows who are in the business of preventing failure.

Robust barriers are typically rigid and fixed. Which means when they breakdown or fail, the results are usually disastrous. Just think of a dam holding back the pressure of gravity to create a reservoir. If a breach in the wall is not immediately repaired, the dam will eventually collapse sending tons of water rushing down into the valley below. This is why strengthen robustness is not enough. You need to also build resilience.