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Posted by Tom Cheesewright on

Stratification: Agility and Resilience

If you’re ever short of inspiration, go and grab the podcasts or watch the videos from the RSA talks. I find them enormously enlightening. And just occasionally I find echoes of my own work in the words of one of the speakers.

Last month, Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation gave a talk on building more resilient cities, not from an architectural point of view (though design is often the output) but from an organisational, strategic perspective. She preaches a model where cities learn from disaster to build in resilience to an ever-changing environment where the next crisis is never far away, be it earthquake or flood, cyber attack or terrorism. Where silo’d organisations communicate and integrate better to create a ‘resilience dividend’ where a single investment in mitigating risk creates multiple benefits.

Listening to the talk I realised a lot of what Rodin is preaching for cities is similar to what we are preaching for all organisations with Stratification. Where Rodin talks of ‘resilience’, we talk about ‘agility’. Both are about adaptation to fast changing scenarios. Where Rodin talks about integration, we talk about reducing the friction between units in an organisation by better codifying roles, inputs and outputs.

In a previous RSA talk on ‘Soulful Organisations’, Frederic Laloux talked of how sometimes ideas are just ‘of the time’, and are arrived at independently by lots of different people. It feels to me like this theme of resilience or agility, and the means of achieving these characteristics, are very much of their time.

If you’re interested in making your organisation more agile, or more resilient, whether you run a city, a company, or a charity, we’d love to talk to you. We’ll soon be publishing our framework for agility in template form — get in touch for early access.

Tom Cheesewright