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Designing 4 Resilience

Today I am attending a conference at workspace collective in Berkeley that addresses resilience in a shifting landscape. For further information on the timely topic of design resilience visit: livestreaming and for support content. One of the drivers of the conference, Neal Gorenflo, promotes design for resilience via shared living for resilience through 



Interesting attendees included several sponsors such as IDEAHIVE.COM (for more on Idea Hive see below)

Design4Resilience Intro:

"It's all about Social Change, Social Innovation, Social Ambition Activation in challenging times..."

We are currently understanding:

-1 degree can create mass extinction

-2 people in a garage can change the world

-Collapse or construct conversations going on reveal the ‘Many Headed Hydra’ of our situation

Design For Resiliance (D4R) – emerged through personal conversations being taken to the public… to evolve and shape it through cross contribution. Welcome.

Presented: 3 short framing talks on resilience.

1. Harold Katzmair PhD and CEO of research

-Thriving where cyclical destruction rules

-Generative disruption and creative destruction

-Capacities to adapt to and shape the changes that are out there

-Operate under and respond to those conditions

-Strategies that capitalize through thinking, and action empowerment/capacity building

• Resilience as Capacity Building

-Uncertain about the future? Let’s be prepared for a range of futures

-Build resilient networks as strategy to hedge uncertainties

-Don’t know the future but can prepare for the range of outcomes

-Redistribute the power to participate in the problem solving process

-Capacity as resource access and building: Power, money, support and story

• Sciences of Resilience

-Positive Psychology

-Systems Ecology

-Material and Engineering Sciences

-Complexity Theory

-Network Theory

• Capacity to re-invent yourself includes:

-Cycles of change: growth, maturity, back loop collapse, conservation, new explorations, reorganizations, and releases.

• Features of Complex Adaptive Systems



-And more…. But not the focus here today.

• What blocks resiliency is more important in focus today.

-Lack of resources, willingness and understanding

-Lack of Willingness.

Example of addressing lack of willingness:

Project: Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan. Water abstraction

-Began a stakeholder dialogue with farmers. Taking into account the disempowering centralize hierarchy.

-Dominating mindset of King, Allah or Americans must solve it, not us, abdicating powers to engage and influence

-Water is not regarded as a commons, nobody then owns the problem = no participation.

-Centralization (Jordan as symbol of everyplace) as ‘Fallacy of Power’ that is failing us.

• Design thinking becomes important then.

Stakeholder mapping:

-Evidence based mapping of the situation

-Interjection and collection/connection of influencers

• Types of Influencers to Create A Network of Resilience

-Cross boundary ethnic groups

-Cross scale links, different levels of time and space from village to government

-Cross-functional roles and types of knowledge links: innovators, networks, leaders, facilitators, sense makers, investors, incubators, bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs

• Adaptive Co-Management Cycle

1.     -Observation of Resource Issue

2.     -Explanations of why this is happening to all concerned

3.     -Policy Alternatives and Ideating Strategies

4.     -Evidence, funding of pilot studies in implementation

5.     -Did it work? Sharing the knowledge.

• Design Thinking Cycle by George Kembel






• 10 Principles of Adaptive Management

-Create frame and story to envision common future

-Create open model…

Harold K Summary

Resilience design is a movement encapsulating a thinking style. Where is it going?

-In 4 weeks a conference in Vienna is occurring to continue promotion of bringing resiliency forward.

-Jordan-Model has been applied

-Yemen-Next assignment upcoming


Reliance is not a tech problem but rather requires social innovation to hedge the risks of not knowing what the future will look like. Weave cross scaling and cross boundary networks in order to build knowledge and social memory. Know how stakeholders can be assisted, involved and engaged in fold networkers… map out the key influencers embedded in structural fold networks and them be inspired  with strategies for building up adaptive capacity to learn from tools and work styles established in design and engineering. Observing, framing, ideating, prototyping, testing, robust decision-making.

2. Stephanie Smith, Architect and creator of Cul-de-sac Commune concepts and upcoming book.

Start: MSNBC article today: 1.2 Million Families Lose Their Homes – think of the lives and families destroyed. And yet people are leaning on their families and friends and coming up with unique solutions and the article discusses this…. Contrast this with The New York Times opinion response,  "Relax, We’ll Be Fine". The Millennials will move into the suburbs, into a post-industrial village recreation.

Stephanie Smith, has thoughts on that. As an architect she thinks there is too much architecture in the world. I love that she says that, an honest statement about her profession that is taking away the starchitecture approach… She is about using what is there, reinvention and evolution design that is useful to the user. There is potential in the suburbs because there is so much space unused so much need, so much to work with.

As a social entrepreneur and architect she has been working on:

-From Cube to Commune – How to create community in cube land

-Cul-de-sac Commune – Creating and teaching about creating community in the American suburb which is about Design Resilience and shared futures. She is taking this year to write the book about these ideas and ideas she has worked on these many years. See her interview last year on NPR:

"Transformation will happen right where we are. Using what we have, working with whom we have.

Reintroduction of commune concepts into modern life? Clearing up the past concepts of commune  needed, commune is simply a sharing of resources according to Wikipedia.

What if we removed the cult (ideology of rock, free love lifestyle) and used this as a typology, simply of sharing what we do and what needs doing. How do we get there?"

A year ago she started 3 projects along these lines in Los Angeles. Got neighbors together… Topanga, Hollywood, Rustic Canyon. It was initially therapy really to resolve the petty issues of so many things we get irritated about in communities that do not communicate… your dog was mean to my dog. Hour upon hour. And eventually they took to it. Communal pizza oven? That sounds get!!! Excitement, movement, engagement and then they each come to a point: "Is there an iPhone ap for this? I am not up for spending 4 afternoons a week over and over again with my neighbors… "

Cul-de-sac Commune Project was on NPR as mentioned, it inspired many across the country to engage. And now she is taking this year to write the book and to work on technology for this, an ap for this! At last the iPad is out! She is doing an iPad version with tools all in one place. A year away.

Since day is also about design thinking, there are four things she learned along the way around Resilience and Optimism:

1.A Need To Be Contained and Densified – For instance suburb is difficult because you want space and yet ultimately it is too airy, not defined, demarcated. For resilience there is a need for boundary and more density to continue on successfully.

2. Online and offline – IN ALL WE DO, both are very important. Instance communication (virtual and actual bulletin board), mapping (location, GPS), networking (micro-communities connected) approached so it adds to the real versus take away from it.

3. Productive and iterative -  Not a rock star, singular design generation coming up. Rather, bottom up design, female not male is the future model. Wired cover was all about local tech that allows local success. Gandhi’s village model from ‘Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered.’ Her bible from the 70s.

4. Note: Credit was introduced less than 50 years ago. Stephanie proposes a 3rd economy, shared and resource-based economy. Current financial constructs are victimizing… resource-sharing removes the intermediary creating less victimization. Stephanie’s role is providing tools to integrate this economy into our daily lives immediately to get this sharing going.

Presentation End.

Great questions/comments after:

• Individual responsibility and passion keeps us from collapsing as well. Being responsible within the community as well as the community responsibility is important.

• Different Drummer idea of Community from Jerry Michalski

1.     -False community ideas (left handers, we are a team…. untrue)

2.     -Crisis triggers and shows u this is not true. Crisis is necessary in order for us to form community

3.     -Crisis Triggers and the Initial Chaos: Two primary and immediate ways out. Leave or lead us out of this.

4.     -The productive way to create community is crisis is an emptying out and then beginning which is about entering true community.

The rest of the day includes small gatherings of thinking in open contribution.

Sponsorship, Partnership and Contribution Included Many, Here is Information About

I conversed with Idea Hive member David Hodgson ( on his inspiration regarding sponsorship and purpose:

"Currently a majority of organizations are locked into patterns of execution and are making money via singular execution. To date there has been a great deal of positive reinforcement for this behavior. As meta shifts occur and are occurring, what is required is to 'step back' to look at the multiplicity and rich range of future directions to consider what will be beneficial and what will not.

How do you maximize human well being in a time of discontinuous change? We are interested in exposing those experiencing stress by nurturing their capacity for resilient adaptation in these times."

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