The safety and well-being of billions of people depends on infrastructure systems that can deliver critical functions and services that can provide, protect or connect us - whatever the future has in store.
Presently we don’t routinely design, deliver and operate for resilience. Moreover, the world is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Infrastructure is operating in an environment that is changing due to globalisation, urbanisation and demographic changes.
We define the critical functions of infrastructure as the ability to sustain societal needs through protecting, connecting and/or providing essential services.
Ensuring that these are delivered and maintained in ordinary as well as extraordinary circumstances is what we define as resilience value.
Breaking down silos using the value chain
One of the biggest challenges for critical infrastructure is breaking down the silos within and between infrastructure providers and customers along the supply chain so that everyone is focused on delivering resilience value where they can.
We have found that an infrastructure value chain is extremely useful for connecting the concepts of resilience and value in the context of the infrastructure lifecycle that will be familiar to everyone working on the design, delivery, operation of infrastructure systems.
Value chains are not a new concept - they are used widely across many industries. This concept of “joining the dots” helps articulate the contribution of all parties in delivering the overall function and value of infrastructure systems, and also helps align stakeholders behind a common outcome.
Contributing to better decisions
We are using the value chain in our project ‘Tools and Approaches’ – seeking to make resilience tangible, practical and relevant by connecting end-users with the tools and approaches they need to enhance resilience of critical infrastructure. We want to help them make better decisions in their day jobs, which will contribute towards more resilient infrastructure.
We believe that a value chain approach to resilience of critical infrastructure will help us to do this, through:
Articulating WHY it is important that resilience value is created, enabled and protected at each stage and carried through the value chain because the resilience increases the value of the service provided, by reducing the impact of disruptions.
To show HOW to ‘do’ resilience by mapping tools and approaches that can be used to enhance resilience at different parts of the value chain and at a level of sophistication appropriate for a stakeholder's role.
To indicate WHERE the entry points and opportunities to create, enable and protect resilience value are for different stakeholders in the value chain and explain how they are connected.
Thanks go to Caroline Field and Richard Look from MMI Thornton Tomasetti and Dr Igor Linkov for their contributions.
Figure is taken from A Handbook for Value Chain Research. Kaplinsky, Raphael and Morris, Mike (2002).