IDEAS Factory - Curative Resilience Scoping Study

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Computer Science


Organisations and communities have a purpose (the organisation's may be more specific than the community's) - that is what defines them; what makes them unique. The way successful ones are structured and organised, how resources are deployed and what activities they undertake are all focused on achieving that purpose.Resilience is not a purpose of an organisation or community per se, but successful organisations will have relevant functions and features, the capability, to be resilient. However, it is difficult to identify those functions and features of an organisation that contribute to resilience such that one can extract them to produce a generalised model of resilience for broad applicability.The living being, the biomedical metaphor, is capable of many things and can address a multiplicity of purposes, often simultaneously. It is also resilient, It has no essential purpose unless directed consciously. We propose to undertake a Scoping Study to explore the development of a blueprint (an original plan or prototype that influences subsequent design or practice [1]) for resilience using the biomedical metaphor that organisations and communities can use to assess their need to adapt or develop to become resilient. Social systems are innately complex, with social agents enmeshed in a web of connections with one another and, through a variety of adaptive processes, they must successfully navigate through their world [2]. Complex adaptive social systems are often modelled to help understand the behaviour of both the agents within the systems and the system themselves [2]. Behaviour, being the outcome, is difficult to predetermine and a challenge of model building is to include the appropriate agent behaviour to incorporate that results in a specific behaviour such as resilience within the context of a set of human social systems that include citizens, communities and organisations.Using other system methods to explore an essentially resilient, complex adaptive system, such as the human being, may provide insight into the necessary lower-level components, and the behavioural rules of those components, such that a specific model can be developed and validated. Of the range of systems methods, three have a particular suitability for this stage: Soft Systems Methodology (SSM), the Viable Systems Model (VSM) and System Dynamics (SD). Individually the methods help provide insight into complex human activity systems from different perspectives and record the related mental models and consensus of those involved to provide a basis for discourse on the findings. However, we assert that when used together even greater coherence and insight can be gained. Exploring this will be an additional benefit from the scoping study.To evaluate the developed blueprint and determine further research viability, we will undertake a period of consultation, and hold a 2-day workshop with a broad set of communities, to assess the usability and benefits of the blueprint sufficient to justify and define a full research programme that extends the research work to include simulation.[1]Collins English Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 6th Edition 2003. William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd 1979, 1986, HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003[2] Miller, J. H. and Page, S. E., Complex Adaptive Systems; an introduction to computational models, Princeton University Press, 2007

Planned Impact

This project is a Scoping Study; consequently the impact on the public sector, commercial private sector, third sector or the wider public in general will not be as great as the impact from a full follow-on project. We see the main beneficiaries being government and public sector planners and policy makers, and organisations involved in civil contingency. The project is unlikely to have a major impact on the commercial private sector, as they will not be able to exploit the blueprint in its entirety. We do, however, intend to involve the commercial private sector in the development of the blueprint to ensure its wider applicability. These organisations are more likely to be vendors and consultancy-style organisations who will exploit the results in their own products and services. We believe that the literature review and subsequent blueprint of resilience by itself will have a major benefit to CNI, CPNI, Civil Contingencies Secretariat, emergency planners and first responders. A number of public sector organisations were present at the NxtGen sandpit and are aware of our ideas. At this stage of a scoping study it is not possible to present with confidence well-defined results. Where we have longer-standing links, we have discussed the proposed project and have received considerable interest. These include: NHS South West Strategic Health Authority; a policy developer at CESG; the Deputy Joint Regional Liaison Officer (DJRLO) 43 Brigade, and through him to Severn Trent Water. The PI and Co-Is intend to visit interested parties to present our work as it develops and to solicit their input; this will include the sandpit attendees such as CPNI, NaCTSO, Civil Contingencies Secretariat and BT. We will hold a two-day workshop to bring interested parties together to formally present our draft findings and update the blueprint accordingly. Following discussion with the Technology Strategy Board, we plan to access their Digital Britain testbed community. Though this test bed is developed to allow businesses and users to explore the effects of alternative network operating models, business models and service platforms, we wish to assess the benefits of the blueprint with a selection from the testbed community. To ensure good communication, we will maintain a website for the scoping study, and also intend to exploit the knowledgebase being developed by Cardiff School of Computer Science as part of the EPSRC-funded EFFEKT project (EP/G034540/1). The project team will undertake the impact activities. In addition, Cardiff School of Computer Science will provide some website technical and authoring support as well as the knowledgebase. The PI and Co-Is will travel to meet with relevant public sector and commercial private sector organisations. John Wort has offered his support to facilitate engagement with Gloucester Police and the local resilience community there. The PI will engage with The Open Group and the Jericho Forum.


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