Understanding the landscape
Initial work on ‘Understanding the Landscape’ told us that tools and approaches to assess and enhance resilience are needed to make resilience less of an abstract concept, and to make it more tangible, practical and relevant. However, despite there being numerous resilience tools and approaches available, we found a considerable disconnect between them and their potential end-users.
Two key actors are involved in implementing resilience-based tools and approaches. These include the practitioners who use the tools (users) and the developers of the tools. At the start of our work, we found very little or absent interaction between these two groups. We wanted to change this.
Early in the programme however we realised that any change must be grown, not imposed. We therefore set out to develop a community of practice. This began by bringing 50 users together with 18 developers across three workshops in London, Washington DC and New Orleans.
These workshops told us about many key challenges and opportunities faced by users and developers, that are being used to inform our work going forward. A summary of our findings and next steps are discussed briefly below; you can also read our recent report.
Towards a community of practice: challenges and opportunities
Tool users expressed that they often have too much choice, and that there is no clear articulation of the value and outputs delivered by the tools. This makes tool selection difficult. Furthermore, there can be a lack of tools are able to deal with user’s bespoke issues. Users also told us that they can have difficulty in articulating what they need.
Exacerbating these user challenges is that tool developers told us that they have little opportunity to get access to or interact with users. They also struggle to expand their tools across sectors and to get included on procurement routes, making uptake difficult.
What was clear is that these two actors needed to be brought together. We found that an interactive user-centred trusted platform linking users with tools and a supporting community of practice would contribute to a successful implementation of resilience in critical infrastructure. These two elements – the platform and the community – are interlinked and integrating them would strengthen each one individually.
Working with the Schumacher Institute, we also used, for two of our workshops, a methodology called ‘Action Learning’. This puts humans at the centre and helps with the implementation of change. This methodology is one effective approach to support resilience implementation efforts.
Strengthening future community
We’ve had valuable discussions with resilience tools users and developers to decide where we are going next. Building on our current Resilience Shift Toolbox, that incorporates a number of the 60 relevant tools that we have already identified, we want to take forward the idea of an online platform. This would also include the development of real use cases for tools ‘in action’ applicable to different audiences and at different scales.
Strengthening of our community of practice will be through follow-up engagement with both users and developers. We will also be amplifying our impact through working with existing communities, key organisations and individuals who can act as ‘change agents’.
There is an opportunity to replicate our pioneering workshop format (which we’ll be using at a Resilience Shift workshop at the 8th REA Symposium: Embracing resilience: Scaling up and speeding up), where we want to bring in more users and developers into our growing community of practice. This should include representatives from developing countries, who have different resilience challenges. Additionally, we’d like to understand the context for resilience financiers and investors.
Supporting our online platform, developing real use case studies for tools in action for different audiences, and at different scales will help along the path to make resilience more tangible, practical and relevant.
To be part of our community of practice, or to find out more about our work, please email us. Please subscribe to our blog alert for more things like this, and to be kept aware of our upcoming events.