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Juliet Mian

Infrastructure Advisor

Juliet Mian is the Resilience Shift’s Infrastructure Advisor, alongside her principal role as Associate Director in Arup’s Infrastructure group. A practicing civil engineer with over 20 years experience, Juliet has worked across a broad range of infrastructure sectors.

Her main interests lie in helping organisations develop bespoke solutions to achieve greater resilience of their infrastructure networks to both known and unknown hazards.

You can find Juliet on LinkedIn.

Posts by Juliet Mian

Urgency, value, and a common understanding – November update

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Juliet Mian, Technical Director of the Resilience Shift, gives us her view of November’s highlights.

I really appreciated the thought piece this month by guest blogger Dr Tom Dolan, on the necessity and urgency in both reducing the carbon emissions associated with the UK’s economic infrastructure, and increasing its resilience even in a ‘best case’ scenario of global temperatures reaching 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels  degrees temperature increase.  This is very topical as COP24 opens in Katowice, Poland.

Considering the latest United Kingdom climate change projections, also published this month, and the recent survey published demonstrating widespread public support for investment in infrastructure, the size of our opportunity, to transform our infrastructure for a sustainable and resilient future, is evident.  Conversely, the potential to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity because of a focus on short term issues is very stark. As Tom eloquently says – the conversation has to move away from this being an unaffordable luxury.

Our work at the Resilience Shift is heavily influenced by understanding the value that what we do will provide to the intended end-user. This means that engaging with stakeholders, throughout our activities is essential, because otherwise there’s a genuine risk that we produce content that no-one needs!  We’ve held several focused engagement activities this month, including a second workshop on tools and approaches, this one in New Orleans, with the objective of understanding what end-users want. The end-game with this project is to develop or co-develop a repository for resilience tools and approaches, that has a high chance of success, because it has been designed with the users in mind, and is informed by what we know from our engagement will actually make their jobs easier.

A third workshop is planned in London early in the New Year, and we’d like to hear from you if you are either a tool developer or a potential user, who wants to join in the discussion.

Also in November, our round table hosted by colleagues from Cambridge University, focused on the resilience of the ports and logistics sectors. Our proposition is that a common understanding across industry sectors that are part of globally connected systems is essential to enhance resilience. Our round tables are an essential part of our approach, to raise awareness of the resilience challenges across multiple stakeholders, and to help us design further work in this space with the end users in mind.

At present, there doesn’t appear to be a common approach between regulated (for example water, energy, transport) and unregulated sectors such as ports and shipping.  This is likely to lead to different outcomes or levels of service across the system, which in turn could lead to cascading failures. The system-of-systems that involves movement of people and goods through ports from origin to destination us highly interdependent and interconnected, but the governance is fragmented.  The importance of a common understanding was validated at the workshop, and the potential to transfer knowledge from our work on water system governance is exciting.

Over the next few months, our primer on resilience of the ports and shipping sector, and a global series of meetings around food supply chains and their dependency on critical infrastructure resilience will, we hope, produce some relevant and shareable findings for practitioners in the various industry sectors connected to ports, shipping, food supply, freight and logistics, as well as telling us what to focus on in order to ‘shift’ resilience in practice.

Resilience round-up

In our monthly round-up, here are some of the things that we found interesting:

  • The Resilience Shift attended the Resilience Measurement, Evidence and Learning Conference (MELCOP) in New Orleans where the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it is to set up a new body to promote resilience, amid growing pressure on the world’s top foreign aid donor to do more with less. We like the fact that it is positioned in a way to ‘do more with less’ as opposed to being an expensive luxury.
  • The US Transportation Research Board released a prepublication report of ‘Critical issues in Transportation’, considering the issues and opportunities facing transport in the next 10 to 20 years.
  • Our funders, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, and the Open Data Institute recently launched a new data initiative to use shared and open data to improve safety in built infrastructure and society. Ultimately, if more data was shared, openly published and available on our built infrastructure, it will allow for potential problems to be identified and improvements to be made more proactively; this aligns well with the UK National Infrastructure Commission’s report on data for public good – read more about the initiative here.
  • Nature Climate Change published a recent paper that indicates that the ongoing emission of green-house gases pose a broad threat to humanity by intensifying multiple hazards. Suggesting that the electricity, transportation and building sectors are at highest risk.
  • Another paper in the American Geophysical Union journal has explored the concept of infrastructure as a linked ‘Social, Ecological, and Technological System’ (SETS). This is something that our previous Executive Director, Nancy Kete, was particularly passionate about and as such resonates strongly in our current strategy.
  • John Hopkins University and Aecom has published a report on ‘Investing in Resilient Infrastructure’. The report identifies traditional barriers to investing in resilience, investigates best practices for implementing resilience strategies, and provides some general recommendations.

Categories: Knowledge News

Building knowledge and sharing insights – taking stock of September’s progress

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September 2018 has been a great month for the Resilience Shift team, and our wider network of grantees and pioneers.

Our focus is on a shift in practice, and we know that to do this, we need to engage widely with stakeholders, from across critical infrastructure value chains. Convening those who can influence changes in practice is a two-way exchange – we can disseminate knowledge, and we can learn from the engagement about what’s needed, what works, and what doesn’t.

As we start to approach the end of our second year, disseminating the work we’re doing, and planning work for 2019 and beyond, is keeping us all very busy.

There is a wealth of knowledge captured in the latest issue of the journal Environment Systems and Decisions and we are very proud of the contribution the Resilience Shift has made to this special edition – read more in Nancy Kete’s recent blog.

Events globally during the past month have served to bring into focus once again the importance of resilient infrastructure, to create a world that is not only safer, but also better able to function after an event. Typhoons, hurricanes and most recently the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Indonesia, all illustrate the interconnected nature of infrastructure, and how communities rely on these systems, such as communication networks, in times of crisis.

This issue of cascading failures linked to power and communications infrastructure in a ‘black skies’ situation was explored at a Resilience First event in London that we attended. With a debate led by Lord Toby Harris, UK Coordinator of the Electrical Infrastructure Security Council (EIS), the event offered an insight into how the energy industry prepares for such incidents and how they aim to build resilience into the system – see Lord Toby’s article Are we ready if the lights go out?. The EIS Council was also responsible for the recent EIS Earth Ex exercise that included such a scenario among its event content.

The Resilience Shift is a global initiative. This is extremely important for our work, and reflects the increasingly globally connected world we live in. In practice, we can’t make a global shift in one simple step and have to start with geographies that we know well. Arup, as the host institution, has a ready-made global community to support this.

We are starting work in the Australasian region, assessing the contribution that policy and legislation make to ‘moving the needle’ of infrastructure resilience. This is against the background of a number of developments, including, very recently, the New South Wales government’s publication of its Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, encouraging leaders in business and government to support communities by improving critical infrastructure resilience.

Remaining in Australia, we also found some useful insights from Australia’s infrastructure sector and how they’re managing climate resilience in the infrastructure sector in this short video.

Some other interesting resources we’ve found useful this month include:

Looking forward to October, you can hear from the Resilience Shift at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)’s Global Engineering Congress in London, and the 6th Asia-Pacific Climate Change Adaptation (APAN) Forum in Manila, Philippines.

We’ll also be conducting the first of a series of workshops on tools and approaches focusing on the needs of participants from the beginning, middle and end of the critical infrastructure value chain. These promise to be extremely insightful in helping us to explore how we can turn theory to practice for all those working in infrastructure resilience.

Following our call for expressions of interest, we are delighted to confirm that we’ve provisionally selected four grantees to help us develop industry specific resilience primers.

We’ll be announcing their names and topics in due course, so sign up to our blog to receive our news directly.

Categories: News Spotlight

Putting the resilience building blocks in place – every time

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In our asset management decisions, how should we routinely use the building blocks that are already in place to implement resilience thinking?  I presented at the end of Day 3 (themed on resilience) of the Institute of Asset Management’s (IAM) Annual Conference 2018 in Birmingham. It was a really forward looking event, focusing on the future of asset management. The three days over 25-27 June focused on asset management in the context of Growth, Innovation and Transformation, and Resilience.

I followed some great speakers and discussions – including Dr Mark Fletcher, Arup Fellow, who is leading Arup’s work on the City Water Resilience Framework and the Resilience Shift project on City Scale Water Governance.

As I often do, I used the ITRC diagram showing the complexity of the UK’s infrastructure system-of-systems to illustrate why we can’t consider assets or even individual sectors in isolation. Mark made this point much more memorably using a picture of a pizza!

I also put my usual pictures of bridges, energy systems etc. and was completely blown away by Monique Beedles‘ slides which drew heavily on her family history to illustrate different types of assets that boards of directors need to think about. Communication of important issues in a memorable way should never be undervalued – food for thought…

My proposition to the IAM community was that there are many of the building blocks already in place to implement resilience thinking in asset management decisions, but that this is not yet routinely done. At the end of my presentation I put some possible reasons why this is still the case, and I hope to be able to carry on the conversation to truly understand how the Resilience Shift can help asset managers to ‘shift’.

The discussion at the end of the conference was great, and gave me a lot to think about – including a plea for more help in how to implement a systems approach in practice, where most people recognise it as important in theory. We discussed that at a city scale where a city is responsible for all its assets, asset manager are in a better position to make cross sector decisions.

The IAM is about to publish its Subject Specific Guidance (SSG) on resilience and contingency planning, which I look forward to reading.

The slides that I presented are available for viewing below.

Categories: Events

Doing the right things and doing them well

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Juliet Miam

Juliet Mian

A key programme milestone in May was our fourth Programme Board meeting¹. We shared with our board our approach to assessing our impact in a meaningful way, in order to provide us, the board, and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation with assurance that we’re doing the right things, and that we’re doing them well. Our impact framework is proving a valuable tool for determining that our activities (i.e. projects, investments, events, outputs) fit well with our vision and outcomes. It helps us scope and define what we are doing, see where there are gaps, and also supports decisions where we say ‘sorry, not for us…’.

Our mission is to create a shift by accelerating the uptake of theory in practice, and we need to be as sure as we can be that we are investing in work that will actually move the dial. The value chain is another excellent tool for ensuring we think about end-users – who they are, and how our work will help them to do things differently on a Monday morning. Nancy Kete, our Executive Director, tracked down the featured image below – a great example of how we don’t want to measure our work!

(Copyright Jonathan Koomey, 2001. All rights reserved. Used with permission)

Bringing safety to life

On the 9-10 May we attended the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s International Conference at the IET in London. The conference provided a great opportunity to understand the work of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation grantees, and we were excited to get an opportunity to network with the wider group. We also held a workshop, which you can read more about here. If you couldn’t make the event, don’t worry, Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s YouTube channel provides videos of all talks here.

We passionately believe, along with our funders at Lloyd’s Register Foundation; that life matters, and that life relies on the resilience of critical infrastructure (often referred to as lifeline infrastructure for exactly that reason). Planning, designing, delivering and operating critical infrastructure systems to be resilient will not only create a safer world, but also a better one. Nancy articulated this very convincingly at the conference, along with our areas of focus to achieve this, in the ‘Life Matters: 3 minute pitches that will change the world‘ panel session.

Current activities

Our project to create a repository of tools and approaches – connecting the developers of the tools with the customers, and responding to our finding in our ‘Understanding the Landscape‘ report that while many tools exist, awareness of these, who they are for, and how they add value, is limited – is progressing well. We are very focused on not reinventing any wheels here, which is why we want to work with a number of organisations already active in this space, and build on what has already been done. ‘Tools and approaches’ is certainly not expected to ‘finish’ in 2018, and we’re looking forward to sharing our initial work in this space, and using it to inform our next steps. This work is fundamental to making resilience tangible, practical and relevant to those responsible for financing, planning, designing, constructing, and operating critical infrastructure.

Working in critical infrastructure sectors, to transfer theory to practice, and engage with sector leaders to really understand and influence a shift, started with the water sector. We have projects ongoing in this space, dealing with the challenge of mapping and understanding governance, in order to improve the governance response during ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. Arup and SIWI have been busy running governance workshops, with some great feedback, in the diverse cities of Amman, Miami and Mexico City – with Cape Town and Hull in June.

We’re delighted to have Fred Boltz and Casey Brown working with us to influence the highest levels of government about the importance of resilience-based approaches. The open letter to the UN High Commission, that supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which Fred discusses in a guest blog, is a great start to this influencing strategy. We’re thinking strategically about which sectors to look at next, and the important focus area of transferring learning between sectors. For me, and my ‘day job’ advising infrastructure clients on their resilience challenges, this is really exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing this work stream gain momentum.

For our followers, potential collaborators and partners

One of our key guiding principles is to be open, and this applies to everything we do. We’re committed to working collaboratively and openly, and sharing all our work publicly. Please get in touch if you have questions, comments, or ideas about our vision and outcomes impact framework, we’d love to hear from you.

We think real stories, particularly success stories, are a great way of influencing critical infrastructure decision makers that there is a need to shift current practice. If you’ve got any to share, then please let us know. As an example, our Programme Board Chair, Michael Bruno, recently shared his views on the relationship between academia and government during the volcanic alerts in Hawai’i.

Things we liked this month

A select few, due to the length of this blog!
The American Society of Civil Engineer’s Annual ‘Infrastructure report card‘, which provides a comprehensive assessment of America’s infrastructure, told us that the US infrastructure stock is ‘Poor, at risk’. This report considers the ‘resilience’ of the infrastructure, and therefore represents an opportunity for us to help improve this situation together.

A short topic insight by David Singleton, Chairman of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) on ‘What are the best infrastructure investments to make? Is it based on economics, or resilience, or both?‘ has considered how the launch of the ISC’s v2.0 of the IS Rating Scheme, which will provide input into how we should best plan, design and operate infrastructure, should look beyond purely the economic value of projects.

In summary, May was another busy and rewarding month for the Resilience Shift team and our partners – we’re busy with interesting, satisfying work, with genuine potential to make a difference, and what more can we ask for?


¹In the spirit of being open, minutes from our Programme Board Meeting will be published on our website shortly.

Categories: Spotlight

April saw the start of our project in San Francisco to incentivize resilience

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Juliet Miam

Juliet Mian

April was another busy month for the Resilience Shift. Find out more about our key activities and engagements including the start of our Incentivising Resilience project based in San Francisco.

Our two projects in the water sector are making progress, with field visits and engagement in Amman, Jordan, and preparations for visiting Miami in May as part of the water governance project with SIWI and We Are Telescopic. Our work on influencing the water sector, working with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has also started – more to follow on both of these.

We had an excellent response to our EoI for our project on tools and approaches, with a wide range of respondents, and our timeline for progressing that will be shared shortly.

We’ve also started scoping our first project under our work stream ‘Incentivising resilience’, working with Ibbi Almufti and Jack Hogan  in Arup’s San Francisco office, and it’s great to expand our network out to West Coast USA. Ibbi and Jack have developed some excellent ideas around helping specific actors across the critical infrastructure value chain to understand ‘What is resilience worth?’. We believe that targeting specific stakeholders in specific industries, although it limits the coverage, will have the greatest potential to ‘move the needle’ in this space. We’re looking ahead as well, as to how to ‘scale it up’ having articulated the value of enhanced resilience – the arena of resilience ratings schemes, best practice guides, codes and standards and other incentives. This is a busy and dynamic space, but essential both in the short and long term to truly embed change in how we approach the resilience of critical infrastructure. We look forward to working with existing and new partners on these projects.

We’re thinking hard, with our colleagues in our Technical Advisory Group about resilience-based education – how to shift theory to practice, and where the Resilience Shift can make an impact in a rapidly changing space.

We’re delighted that our website and presence on social media is starting to generate interest in what we’re doing, and ideas are coming to us, rather than us working in isolation to develop our own ideas – we’ve given some structure to how we manage and progress ideas that we believe are going to contribute to our vision and outcomes, recognising that “in order to get good ideas, first you have to have lots of ideas” (Linus Pauling).

Several of our colleagues attended the Transport Research Arena conference in Vienna – a wide ranging event that covered a lot more than transportation resilience, but reinforced the importance of holistic thinking.

I attended ITRC’s showcase of their current research. This was a thought provoking day, with some very interesting discussions about modelling, visualisation, data and uncertainty. The depth and breadth of work being carried out under the ITRC’s MISTRAL programme is truly impressive.

We’re sorry that we weren’t able to attend the Critical Infrastructure Resilience event in Brussels in April, where the results of the Smart Mature Resilience, Resolute, RESILENS, DARWIN, IMPROVER and Smart Resilience were presented. The collective output of the projects involved has led to the recent publication of a White Paper on Resilience Management . We look forward to following these projects as they develop further.

The team has been working hard setting out our impact framework, enabling us to know that we are doing the right work, and identifying performance metrics that tell us we doing it well. This framework provides a really useful structure across our projects, investments and events with a continual eye on some of our core questions – is this the right thing to do? Who will it help? And how do we know?

We’ve also started developing our knowledge and community workstream, with some invaluable guidance from Faith Wainwright  and Tim Hawley. We’re looking forward to engaging more with the Resilience Shift community and linking up to other networks in the coming months. Stay tuned!

New things we have enjoyed in April include:

– Zurich’s report on ‘Rebuilding Infrastructure: the need for sustainable and resilient solutions

– Ernst & Young’s report, as part of the 100 Resilient Cities initiative discussing ‘Getting real about resilience


Categories: News Spotlight

Turning theory into practice to kick off 2018

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Juliet Miam

Juliet Mian

We have had a good response to our call for Expressions of Interest and look forward to selecting partners to develop proposals with beyond 16 April.  See the call here. Thanks to everyone who’s been in touch so far. Thanks also for the comments on our report ‘understanding the landscape’.

We’ve launched an exciting new project on Basin Scale Governance in partnership with Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)Arup’s Water team, the City Water Resilience Framework (supported by the Rockefeller Foundation) and We Are Telescopic. During a two day opportunity framing workshop, we defined the resilience opportunity together and took the first steps towards mapping out activities and expected outcomes of the project (with thanks to our strategic partner ValueLab). We’re looking forward to field consultations shortly.

Members of the Resilience Shift team attended the Arup University/MIT executive learning module on the Resilience of Urban Systems.

We presented our poster on catalysing resilience within and between critical infrastructure at the ETH Infrastructure Resilience Conference in Zurich and enjoyed talking with the other presenters about resilience modelling and qualitative approaches – ultimately there is room for both, providing we recognise the limitations of each.

The Resilience Shift attended the Global Resilience Research Network Summit in Boston from 29th-30th March and we look forward to further collaboration with the GRRN.

We also attended the Black Sky Hazards workshop and look forward to continued discussions with the EIS councilEncore and UKCRIC.

The IBuild final event was also very interesting and their work is extremely relevant to our work on understanding what resilience is worth, our broader framing of the resilience value question.

And finally, here’s a roundup of interesting things we came across this month in the resilience world:

Categories: News

Infrastructure resilience: where do we start?

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In setting out an ambitious programme to catalyse change in terms of how resilient critical infrastructure is planned, procured, delivered and maintained in practice – how do we know where to start, and what we really need to do?

An important activity in our first year in the Resilience Shift programme was fact-finding, defined as “Agenda Setting”. Essentially, we want to start from an informed and robust position and we wanted to test our perception of the current state of practice, building on the Foresight Review of Resilience Engineering. We won’t be able to shift anything if we don’t get our starting point right….

As part of this, we ran an engagement process with colleagues across the Arup world. I am a practicing civil engineer, working on a number of Arup’s infrastructure projects at any one time, and am also acting as technical advisor to the Resilience Shift team. As a member of Arup’s growing Infrastructure Resilience community, I knew there was a lot of activity and interest in the subject, but was really keen to reach beyond this immediate community and understand what else was going on. It was really important to get views from those who don’t actively work in the resilience space, as well as those who do.

In such a diverse field, it would take forever to fully baseline current practice across all disciplines, globally. We used a targeted approach to achieve the widest coverage we could of the status quo of people, projects and organisations within a short time. Even within this consultation we got mixed messages and differing views – which was not surprising. We spoke to many people who are truly passionate about our subject area, and we also received some pretty robust challenge which gave us pause for thought.

Our engagement process took a three-way approach: an online survey promoted across the entire company; a series of focus group sessions and a number of 1-to-1 interviews with industry leaders selected to cover as many regions and sectors as practical.

For me, a message that came loud and clear was that practitioners have a wide range of needs, and current state of practice is a spectrum, not a single defined point. If we want to promote ‘doing things differently’ (which we do), we have to embrace the challenge of both supporting and engaging early adopters, who are already on this journey, but at the same time ensuring that our outcomes will deliver a shift in how others work. Many designers, planners and engineers are, understandably, comfortable with classic engineering approaches, which tend to consider single assets not systems, and design to fixed thresholds not diverse and uncertain futures. If we want to catalyse change, communication with those on all stages of the journey is going to be as important as what we do technically.

Our findings from this consultation have contributed towards the planning of ‘what next’, and will help us to be mindful of the pains and gains of stakeholders across critical infrastructure. We’ll share some of our specific findings over the coming weeks, and would love to hear your views on where current practice is in your world.


Read the Foresight Review of Resilience Engineering here

Read our latest report on Understanding the Landscape here.


Categories: Knowledge

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