Resilience Through Necessary Inefficiency

Do we want resilient systems? When is it necessary to aim for them? And if the consequence is a certain trade-off towards a decrease in efficiency? How do we establish the right balance?

We live in a complex world, and this has been highlighted for many of us during COVID, because the intricacies and the interconnected nature of so many processes and procedures became transparent. This kind of insight into the complexity of our world is extremely helpful. It is healthy to understand what effort it actually takes to accomplish things, and how much effort additionally is required when they  are not going well. The ability to deliver the expected result under unexpected circumstances, adverse conditions, strong forces pushing you left and right is what resilience is about.

Our systems are resilient if we can rely on them, maybe not under a wide range of unanticipated circumstances. A complex world will express unexpected circumstances often, so we need resilient systems, but their resiliency comes at the cost of a lower degree of optimization, and as a consequence, a lower efficiency.

In 2022 let’s remember what are the very natural consequences of a complex world where we want to be able to deliver solutions to our challenges. As a consequence, we want to create resilient and adaptable systems and procedures, without worrying about being super efficient. Let’s give us a little slack. Let’s give us collectively a little leeway, the benefit of doubt and empathy and love when we are together or from afar.