Resilience requires healthy key resources, systems, processes and capacity to support the individual, organisation or workplace. In this case we focus on the capacity and capability to accommodate ongoing change. Steve Denning in Forbes Magazine does caution that while tools and processes are important, it is the mindset of the people involved that ultimately determine the resilience of the workplace.

A great deal has been written about Agile. Much of that writing is about things—tools, processes, methodologies, technologies, platforms, big data and the like. While the 2015 Learning Consortium Project found that these things are important, people are more important—the goals that people aspire to, the mindset through which they understand how the world works, the way they work together, the values that they share, and manner in which they communicate with each other. As the Agile Manifesto itself said, individuals and interactions are valued more than tools and processes. Without the Agile mindset, tools and processes achieve little.

Steve Denning, Forbes Magazine
For ease of access the following three areas of focus have been identified:

Principles and paradoxes


Approaching complexity with enquiry – Learning from the Workplace of Tomorrow research project reinforced the need for organisations to have mechanisms that respond to complex interconnected systems at all levels while also trying to function and effectively work with uncertainty. The shared experiences of respondents pointed towards heroic leadership styles tending to fail in this context.
(Workplace of Tomorrow, p28)


  • Balancing the ‘antifragile’ (Taleb – things that gain from disorder and/or stress) with resilience and fragility.
    • Things the gain from disorder and/or stress
    • No guarantee that things will remain consistent based on past history – smaller releases can relieve the pressure
    • The need for redundancy (eg. moving from just-in-time to just-in-case)
    • Managing the difference between something being difficult and strengthening versus something being difficult and damaging. (should you be ‘pushing through’?)
  • Control – imposed (something outside your control) vs planned (initiated by you)
    • Loss of control and making meaning
    • Messiness and the spaces in-between
    • Reminder that people resist loss rather then change itself

Staying Agile

Strategy and Planning

…he confronts two competing demands: his organisation must be ready to respond at a moment’s notice, but he must also plan today for the fighting force Britain will need twenty-five years from now: ‘You have to distinguish between determined strategies and emergent strategies. Because the future is inherently unpredictable, a determined strategy won’t be successful. We think that the future emerges and therefore we can only really take one step at a time, building alliances and hedging opponents’ behaviour along the way. But you need scenarios to get a general idea of what parts of town you’re aiming at and to check your steps are in the direction of your ends.’

Margaret Heffernan, Uncharted – How to Map the Future Together, p152-153

Experimentation and Failure

  • Importance of failing fast

Difference Between agile and Adaptive (Reactive) Development

  • How UK Aid Learns, Literature Review, p9
  • Geoff Marlow blog/document (2020-04-26)

Working with the systems

Working with systems, processes (task cycles) and resources

  • Transitioning in transformation (Oasis Transition Group)
  • Phases of birth, growth and death (Book – What We Learned in the Rainforest)
  • Systems and processes (Books – The Fifth Discipline (Senge), The Hidden Connections (Capra), Mind and Nature (Bateson)
  • Social ecological systems (Holling, etc )