Resilience from the Atom to the Organization

There is not much that is influencing our lives more than the risk and its implications. The perception of the risk can range from the absolute panic to the greatest fun but actually: what does risk mean?

Risk is generally described as a chance of a loss (or a gain as a negative loss). It has a stochastic element (chance) and a tangible element (loss). Fractals, as mentioned in the next lines, help to differentiate purely stochastic motions, such as midges dancing in the evening summer light (also called Brownian motion) from apparently disordered systems having an underlying structure, which may be repeated stochastically. Examples are as clouds, coastlines, blood vessels, ocean waves etc.

If we look at the pyramid of Maslow, we notice that Safety is the second basic need after physiological priorities, but what is actually Safety? How is this perceived? Does Safety mean this the absence of risk or the only the acceptance of the risk itself?

There is innumerous literature on the subject. Experts brought much light in the recent years, as great advances have been made in several disciplines. But the challenge remains: How to transfer the knowledge in its proper context, where it can be applied and ultimately save lives? To do this, we need at least a common platform and a common language.

Keep it Simple!


Fractal models describe complex shapes with simple patterns. For instance, we may approximate the shape of a cloud, a snowflake, a coastline or even the surface of a material at a microscopic level with simple mathematical algorithms based on the principle of self-similarity. Self-similarity means that a given shape is similar to itself at a smaller (or larger) scale. Similarity laws help in understanding underlying patterns in the scaling process.

As a simple rule, we could say that resilience increases safety. This is true at a Microscopic scale through the plastic zone at the tip of a crack and also true for an organization. Metaphors may also help to build bridges: For instance, we could agree that a risk is like as a needle in a bunch of hay. It may be difficult to find but it may hurt you if you sit on it.