I need help!

I help out a lot, preferring to be the second dancer as in First Follower: Leadership Lessons from a Dancing Guy | Derek Sivers but, of course, selecting who I dance second to. Like serial killers, but a serial helper.

This time, though, I need help.

I’ve been doing other things lately. Very much related to resilience, which is were it looks like I’ll be helping out next: the Resilience session.

What I’ve been doing I can’t talk much about yet. Imagine a severe crisis, a global systemic one like the worst you’ve thought, and then it rains (or doesn’t, whatever’s worst). How do you react to that? No planning is possible, and if it’s possible, it is never done in practice. So you must forget about the RoboCop option, which is about arming yourself with expensive, specific, fancy, and heavy tools. You’re left with the MacGyver approach, which is about looking at your needs, then looking at your haves, and using your ingenuity and skills to hack your way out as safely and quickly as possible.

So, yes, I’ve been looking at resilience but I haven’t had the energy to catch up on EdgeRyders, shame on me! You can help me by pointing out the must-reads about the subject, both at the campaign and looking for the word across the full site. Or at other sources you find important. Thanks in advance!

Also, I know roughly what the session will look like. Say there’s a hundred of us on that Friday morning, and six sessions. That means maybe 17 people (a sixth of the hundred total) - or of course more or less than that - will get together in a room, for 2.5 hours, with the aim of looking into issues perceived by Europe’s youth as important and what young entrepreneurs, activists and innovators are doing to tackle thembringing in their own experience and vision … all about “resilience” as a key element of the transition of young people to an independent active life.

After that, each workshop will be giving a 5 minutes (3 slides) report to the plenary … to bring to the plenary an actionable idea, not just general principles. This means that preparing well in advance, coordinating with other team members, will be a key to success. Our kind hosts say they will probably hold a competition between breakout sessions, so make sure your team wins! Those 3 slides, is suggested, would have this content:

  1. What is an important challenge identified
  2. Who are the stakeholders in ensuring that the challenge is resolved and their relationships to each other and the challenge
  3. A creative solution for how to solve the challenge and get stakeholders on board to help make it happen
I'm sure we can build good stuff. You know, because we're motivated, and because 17 (+/-) people in 2.5 hours is huge brain power.

In fact, if we’re lucky to be so many, we might even want to split up for brief sprints, or whatever works.

In any case, I’ll be thinking about how I can help to make the most of this, and I’d appreciate your help.

Again, thanks in advance, and - gasp - see ya there!

I stand ready!


I know nothing about resilience. Precisely because of that, I have decided that I will sit in the resilience session: a great chance to learn something new.

What fascinates me in the resilience discourse (for what i understand, which is not much) is the assumption of self-reliance as the default state - what you call the McGyver approach. We must make do with what we have. In the unusual situation of actually being able to make a choice, the resilient thing to do is the simplest and most economical. Electric cars? Bah, expensive toys that require extensive infrastructure. Christiania bikes? Now you’re talking.

So, I would propose we a resilient-a-thon, and we do it around the theme of cyclability and walkability. A resilient-a-thon is a word I just made up for some collective hacking action meant to increase resilience. It means: assume zero budget and produce actionable ideas that would make walking and cycling in Europe more attractive forms of mobility. It is super-resilient, because it assumes only minimal infrastructure and no backer with funding; it takes advantage of the extreme diversity of the Edgeryders community (biking in the Maastricht is not the same as in Warsaw), that can help troubleshoot solutions in the light of what goes on all the different places; and we can pick the best two-three ideas for the reporting session.

Also: I have used my superadminpowers to assign this mission not only to “Help build the June conference”, but also to the Resilience session team. If you go to the home page and scroll down, you should now see this report is visible from there. I also tagged it with the tag “resilience”. So, you see, I am already helping a little. :slight_smile:

WOOO and enhanced improvisation

I’ve seen two broad approaches to resilience: YOYO and WOOO.

  • YOYO would be “you’re on your own”. Get a thousand cans of tuna and a piece of lumber with a nail sticking out, and you’ll be alright, or at least that’s the best you can do.

  • WOOO would be “we’re on our own”. Get yourself a tribe, and “arm” yourself with skills so that you can be a productive and expressive member of the tribe.

Of course both have a point, and circumstances may vary, but I much favour the second. Not really into canned food, and WOOO means we build so much stuff we don’t need to defend every little thing because we can always create more.

There’s another way to slice it: planning versus creativity. (What Vinay calls “enhanced improvisation”.)

  • I’ve looked at “contingency plans” written by fellow bureaucrats, and they are useful because in order to write them you have to create a network of experts who face the threat (on paper) and keep each others’ phone numbers (at least for some time).

  • I have come to realise those plans are just another resource. Good to have, probably, but you have to treat them like you would treat a “probably outdated” map. You must look at the world directly, or else. And there’s need for innovation, not in the “I must innovate” way, but in the “I’ll do what it takes, and if it’s new, it’s new” way.

So, yes: WOOO and enhanced improvisation.

I guess it’s not my job to try and turn that into policy (whatever policy is). But I’d look for ways to foster, as you say, zero-budget cooperation, and improvisation (or as some say “serious creativity”), at the very local level. It sounds like we already need that, and will need much more of it.


So, just to make sure I understood, would you use part of the available 2.5 hours to cothink ways to increase cyclability and walkability in European cities?

How would that increase resilience? Ah, yes. If oil prices rise or moneys go down, we need to do that, more or less in a rush.

So, if 17-20 of us join forces, we can think of 20 ideas, select a bunch of them, improve them to make them workable - is that what you’re thinking?

We can even look beyond walkability and use bikes for business, right? Hmm.

Accelerated Food Resilience

I’ve started an experiment to join a couple of threads, and I’d like to push it forward as much as I can before we meet in Strasbourg.

This is somewhat related to what’s happening in Greece. What we’re watching is a 11-million strong population that’s sliding inside a dark cloud, and the slide has no end in sight. But surely the cloud has a bottom, and so does the slide. Is it Haiti? Haiti with a war? I don’t know. But there’s room for unimprovement, I’m afraid.

So, given that my feet are not there, the only exercise I feel confident I can carry out - other than re-offering some assistance with a document I translated Imagine The Canaries: Why I love SCIM, and what to do about it - is do some, erm, no, I won’t call it empathy. Those who do statistical analysis for epidemics would call it, what was the name, standardisation. Say you’re comparing Haiti and Sweden. When you compare two countries, one has a higher percentage of deaths per year, and it may be because their age structure is different (Sweden is older so if each age die the same then Swedes die in higher numbers) or because their death-by-disease is different (Haiti is younger, but for each age they may have more deaths). So there’s this mathematical magic where you take the age groups of one country and apply the per-age death-rates of the others, or the other way round.

Anyway, this is about trying to imagine what would happen in Spain, and specifically in the Canary Islands, if we “applied” the kind of trouble they are having in Greece right now, to our very own population of 2-million people. What would I be doing? Not strictly empathy, or scenarios - just a game of sorts. Maybe rehearsal, I don’t know.

So, in any case, what I think I’d be doing is apply SCIM and OODA OODA loop - Wikipedia and serious creativity. Look at vital needs, see which ones are at risk, look at what changes are needed and doable, get some of them done, go back at looking at vital needs, loop, loop, loop.

I’m focusing on food right now. I’d like to see how fast we might be able to increase local production, and what we’d be able to do in the time between the crisis (or, I think, realisation that it’s up to us to change gears) and getting to our 2000 tasty calories per person and per day.

With Imagina Canarias: Resiliencia Alimentaria Acelerada I’m attempting to convene a small group of people. So far without success, I must say, because (a) it’s not a real problem or (b) it’s distracting from the real business which is business as usual. But I’ve set my expectations low on purpose: one hour a week, and just one person (myself), see what I can do working openly.

Even if I only find some clear-cut blockages, I’ll be happy.

But what I want to do is apply “agile methods” like Scrum. For our meeting in Strasbourg, I’d like to have something to show, maybe not at the meeting itself but at the open-space sessions. That “something” would be some specific actions, a design of what to do in such circumstances, an open design that anyone would be able to copy/apply, modify and improve on.

As the folks in http://www.wikispeed.com say, “agile developement for social good”.

Because we need to get better at it.

Some details I don’t know how to do. Folks in “agile” say you need to develop the test before you develop the tool. If you’re writing software to compute the square root of a number, you need to write a piece of software that gives the number and compares it with the real result. If you’re building a car frame, you need to know how you’ll test it’s strength in a car-crash. So, first thing I need to do is, how do I measure (or rather estimate) “food self-reliance”? I guess it’s similar to measuring flu, so it’s possible …

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated as I go.

Citizens, more efficient than govs when it comes to resilience

I spent 4 years of my life thinking non-stop about resilience (2005-2009) and worst-case scenarios in case of severe pandemics. I was an administrator of the FluTrackers community (based in Florida, United States). I built the Francophone section of this international forum.

What the citizens have imagined is awesome! They thought about alternative ways to survive, they absolutely do not rely on their governments to ‘save’ their lives. From making masks with T-shirts, to filtering mud with coffee filters in order to be able to drink the water from their pool, to keeping warm by sleeping in a tent in their home in case of electricity shortages, to stocking on food, you name it! Citizens have a lot of imagination, they rely on solidarity, and they are much more efficient, when it comes to resilience, than what governments do. Hypothesis proven.

And besides not planning and not taking early warnings seriously, governments seem to be much more concerned about hiding the reality, hiding vital information, in case people might panic, than saving actual lives. Which has always made me uncomfortable… These 4 years spent as a Flubie have transformed me into a strong opengov activist. I want transparency tools badly. Not because I want to know where the bicycles are located in my city. No, I don’t give a damn about silly such details. I want transparency tools to be up and running, because one of these days, I know that they can help me protect my son’s life, and other loved ones. I know that I can probably do a better job than my government, when it comes to resilience, if the government give access to the right information.

When communities are included in preps for any type of major catastrophe, it gives better resilience results. As a matter of fact, I consider resilience as the upmost, the highest type of opengov collaboration, between a government and citizens.

Let me know if I can do something to give a hand…


Resilience gaps

I was a flubie too. Two lives, really. Stressful but you get to know some creative freaks. Perspective, as usual, comes later.

I found how, as a citizen, you can ask naive questions which you can’t ask from any official possition. That’s cool, and extremely useful. More people should try it, really.

As a public servant, I have of course nothing to say. :slight_smile: Unless this counts (I think it doesn’t, but comes close): as a doctor, I told the official flu networks about wikipedia, to challenge them into contributing, and probably they did … as citizens.

Reflecting on both sides and beyond, I think there are several resilience gaps, each with things to do.

First there’s the govt-activists gap identified by the likes of FluTrackers, FluWiki, GetPandemicReady, ReadyMoms, etc. At the time, it was said that the govt was dropping a 60 meter piece of rope down a … 100 meter cliff. Govts were said to be doing lots of work, and citizens were doing lots of creative stuff, but the two sides didn’t get to meet properly.

Govts have difficulty in acknowledge worst cases. Maybe even more than individual citizens.

Both have difficulties in acknowledging usable strengths that challenge the status quo, and our mind models.

Then there’s the individual resilience gap identified by Vinay in his “Dealing with security” (which I translated into Spanish and anyone is most welcome to try and translate into other languages): individuals and families in non-camping situations can’t protect themselves much from the “infrastructural six ways to die”: too hot, too cold, thirst, hunger, disease, injury.

If we look at it in terms of gaps, I think there’s also a gap between hard resilience and soft resilience. It’s true that we need water (hard) but it’s us people who go get the water (soft). Which is why I like Vinay’s SCIM as a language, because it might eventually (if used) let soft people talk about hard things, and get things done in a rush, if and when needed.

“If and when needed” is of course “right now” in many parts of the world. If not everywhere.

Being practical, the gap that intrigues me most is the “fast adoption” gap. How fast can we go from “permaculture text-books” to “emergency permaculture”? How fast can we go from “all hell breaks loose” to “every family has a stove, a water filter and an ‘off-grid’ toilet”? I’m trying to help answer that by giving some energy to our local makers: they happen to be creative and practical, so I guess that kind of group is an asset in every community.

You see, in the end we’ll all be dead (at least for a while, depending on beliefs). Before that, there’s this tendency to get up after we fall. So I’m intrigued by the notions of not falling too hard and getting up fast. As individuals working in groups/networks for communities, and facilitated by whoever can lend a hand, govts included.

So, as they say in the Linux world, it’s not “where do you want to go today” or “where do you want to go tomorrow” but rather “are you coming or what?”. (Most likely, you’re doing the walking already and I’m the one who needs to learn. So come and tell us.)

Health Care + P2P

Hey Lucas, kudos for getting the ball rolling on this track.

As you may have noticed one of my little obessions is food resilience, community food etc. Another is Health care . It is a big and important topic in Europe what with an ageing population and a general rise in costs. But it didn´t register on my radar until a friend in Berlin mentioned that he doesn´t have health insurance as the costs were too high ( something like 300 Euros/month) and that he is far from alone in this. It´s pretty scary because as a craftsperson he handles lots of dangerous equipment and at least one of his friends had had an accident recently while not being insured. As you can imagine the consequences were pretty awsul, both from a psychological but also finacial point of view.

While exploring the concept of commons and what work people are doing in this space the topic of healthcare popped up and it felects the provision of helathcare as percieved from the perspective of “recipient”: http://edgeryders.ppa.coe.int/protecting-and-enhancing-commons/mission_case/healthcare-all. I think the reflections in this post that you shared on twitter are a good overview of the discussion from a metalevel: http://healthafteroil.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/goodbye-to-bad-knowledge/. But there is no real conversation or discussion of solutions.

I grew up in a household with “Where there is no doctor” as the first point of refence for dealing with health issues courtesy if a geeky Dad from a rural community in the middle of nowhere in Sudan. And I am pretty convinced that we can do a lot of peer-2-peer innovation to free up resources for critical health care provision. But to be honest I would prefer alternatives where we are not put at the mercy of private interests. And so I would really like to explore feasible alternatives and different approaches that seem promising. Anyone know of relevant initatives, ongoing or past, we could learn from? They could be failures too, you can leqarn alot from exploring what went wrong :slight_smile:

resilient health

Hi, Nadia, thanks for your encouraging thoughts!

I work in public health, “measuring” diseases, mostly of the infectious kind but sometimes helped with the non-infectious. (In other words, we do statistical reports from available information systems, and sometimes small redesigns of those systems.) Also, I have family and friends who are deeply into health-care, and we’re all watching what looks like a process of “helenization”.

I’ll write more at lenght later, but here are two links of some of my views on this:

Over time, I think I have managed to tie the definition of two close concepts:
  • Sustainability (heard from Gunter Pauli of zeri.org) is "get what you need from what you have, for an indefinite time".
  • Resilience would then be "get what you need from what you have, right now".
How? As in any healthcare issue, there's diagnosis and there's treatment:

ping @amelia @noemi , @lucasg is asking if we did any/all of this?