How to become Resilient by Design

What is a resilience capability?

How to become Resilient by Design

Chris Butler, Managing Consultant, Databarracks 

I'm going to describe how to become Resilient by Design using a concept familiar to anyone in the Capability Development branches of the military.

In theory, the Army doesn't build a tank. A tank is just a 60-ton metal box on tracks, with a big engine and a big gun. Its purpose - the capability it brings the Army  - is to kill other tanks. If you've got a military background, please forgive my gross simplification here.

The capability to kill enemy tanks is not just provided by the 60 ton metal box on wheels. It needs people - a crew, maintainers, logisticians. It needs ammunition, spare parts and fuel. You need procedures to operate it, and doctrine to understand how it fits into the wider Army. Those people need to be trained in their roles, whether you're the driver or the commander.  It needs a base to live in and be supported from.

This tank analogy demonstrates what we mean by capability.

I could use a London Bus to also demonstrate what capability by design means. You've got the bus itself, the driver, a conductor (sometimes), routes to travel on, a timetable, a depot, fuel, parts, maintenance - I am sure you get the idea.

Building Resilience capability can be viewed through the same lens and this is why we recommend taking a 'resilient by design' approach.

We need resilience baked in to the organisation, and this means you need the right people, properly prepared (trained and practiced) with the right facilities, plans and procedures. You also need to have formulated the right strategies and solutions that provide you with the necessary redundancy, diversity, modularity and adaptability in your systems and structures. For example, splitting teams working in critical processes between different sites or on different parts of your network ensures that if one experiences a disruption, the ability to deliver that service can continue.

It's the same design principles that gives you resilience in IT infrastructure, and why we like to see buildings with generators and UPS.

This focus on being resilient by design has clear business benefits, which means it should not be seen as purely a cost or a drag on business. You'll understand your business better and have a good basis for innovation. You will be able to respond much better and faster to any disruption, saving costs of downtime and protecting your reputation. You will be a more confident, agile and flexible organisation, as being resilient by design normally means better leadership and more trust.

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