More on Resilience in Complexity

My friend Bob Stilger is very committed to change and leadership in Japan. He’s been that way for 40 years. He often works in support of “Future Centers.” They are networks of communities and other organizations that are exploring a deliberate and desirable future together, particularly after the triple disasters — tsunami, nuclear accident, and earthquake — of 2011.

In 2013 Bob offered a TedX Talk on the primary theme of his work Resilient Communities: Calling Communities Back to Life. The video itself has an ironic and comedic edge, given the technical difficulties that occurred while he was presenting. Yet Bob just kept adapting, just as he was advocating through the content and stories of his talk.

Bob described several qualities that add to a system’s resilience. They are what people can do, particularly when there is trauma. At one level these appear to be individual actions and strategies. Of course. But they are also community actions and strategies. They are community practices. Community practices that when expressed repeatedly and with randomness, create an overarching culture of resilience. I believe this is at the heart of what Bob is supporting.

Enjoy the simplicity of these. I do. Then watch the Ted Talk. Bob has a way of naming starting points that interrupt the patterns of paralysis that can often occur in complex systems. They are invitations to get going and do something, but not just reactive anythings. They have coherence with a larger intention of systems change.

  • be yourself
  • do what matters
  • stand up and continue
  • stand together
  • try stuff; experiment and learn
  • embrace ambiguity
  • enjoy it

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