a triarchy press publication
Ready for Anything: Designing Resilience for a Transforming World
by Anthony Hodgson
Publication Date: 30th November 2011
No of pages: 108
Book type: Hardback
List Price: £15.00
This hardback edition is available for airmail despatch to anywhere in the world.
A print-on-demand paperback edition (at the same list price) is available for customers outside Europe. If you order this title from a bookshop or online retailer, such as amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, etc., you will normally only be able to get the paperback edition.
Epub: Available here
Kindle version: Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
- What kind of trouble is our species and our planet in? What’s likely to happen next?
- How can we think creatively about and understand the interconnected problems (climate, health, energy, governance, economy, etc.) that we face without getting overwhelmed by their complexity and uncertainty?
- How can we get ready for whatever is coming next? What can we do practically, at local, national and international level, in business and in the community?
- What sort of help does resilience offer? How can we design resilience? What happens when we do?
- As we pass the 7 billion mark, we are currently using the resources of about 1½ Earths to support our collective lifestyle. But we only have one Earth. How can we design and vision one-planet living?
Whether you help to run a country, a corporation, an NGO, a public service, a city, a school or a family… these are difficult questions. Particularly difficult when we can’t even agree, for example, whether the climate is changing, whether we should build more nuclear power stations or close the ones we’ve got, and whether the free market offers the best hope or no hope at all for feeding and watering a population of 10 billion.
Which is why, rather than face our problems, we too often bury our heads in the sand and pretend nothing is happening.
The World System Model and IFF World Game
Working closely with the internationally-renowned International Futures Forum (IFF), futurist Tony Hodgson has developed, tried, tested and fine-tuned a model (The World System Model) and a practical application (The IFF World Game) that have already helped many different groups to ask these questions and generate their own answers.
This book describes and explains The World System Model (right). The model offers the clearest way yet of examining and understanding the interconnected problems we face… and of formulating creative and transformative ways of approaching those problems.
This book also explains how to make the model immediately accessible – in the form of The IFF World Game – to any group (school governors, city councillors, health service managers, concerned citizens, boards of directors, UN High Commission). It uses Case Studies to show how it has already been used in eight different situations from a national economics research council to a city school.
Ready for Anything: a book of insights, advice, inspiration and example
Tony Hodgson’s new book – Ready for Anything – offers a clear and honest look at the state of the world today. It introduces The World System Model as a new and holistic way to gain an understanding of our particular predicament – and The IFF World Game as a quick and effective way of involving others in the exercise.
It goes on to examine the kind of resilient and adaptive solutions that can be most helpful to us – whether they are applied at the level of the school, the city or the Earth. Since so many of us (both human and other beings) have to live on this planet together, it sets out our best hope yet of finding sustainable ways of ‘one-planet living’. Best of all, it helps ensure that we keep our heads out of the sand.
Chapter 1, The Global Predicament, explains clearly and unemotively the resources currently available to us vs the amounts we are using each year. It outlines resource boundaries and looks at the assumptions we base our planning on (including those that are no longer valid). The conclusion: we need about 1½ Earths to support the world population and its requirements at 2011 levels.
This highlights the need to find ways to live on the resources of just one planet – one-planet living. Two main changes are proposed: 1) realise the folly of short-term, single-issue, quick fixes; 2) shift our thinking away from fragmenting things so as to make them easy (analysis) towards integrating them so as to make them real (synthesis).
The need for an integrative approach becomes clearer in Chapter 2. We must increasingly expect major disruptions (whether financial, political, social, geological, medical or climatic) to occur simultaneously. Because the impact of synchronous crises is so huge, we must also look at how we respond as human beings. Three types of response are characterised, the most helpful being the ‘transformational response’.
Having considered the severity and complexity of the challenges we face, Chapter 3 looks at The Opportunity in the Challenge. Just possibly, the crises we face will weaken our old, dysfunctional habits and ways of living sufficiently to enable radically new and more effective ways to emerge. These approaches need to be generated through our collective intelligence, not through the heroic acts of outstanding individuals.
This leads us to The World System Model in Chapter 4. The Model is a clear and memorable way of looking at all this in a way that keeps it together in our minds, helps us talk to others about it, and helps focus us on what really matters in generating positive ideas for the future.
Chapter 5, The Twelve Nodes, explains the circular diagram (above), which is the main icon for The Model. It explores the twelve key issues and positions them as the nodes of sustainable living. Each node is described – and some of the main trends summarised – in terms of recent research.
Now the book’s attention switches from the Model to how we can apply it in practice. Chapter 6, From World System to World Game, introduces a way of getting groups of people to participate in using the Model. The game format challenges participants to co-operate to develop ideas about getting ‘ready for anything’ in their area. In particular, it invites awareness of how things are interconnected, whether the focus is on a community, a business, a public policy area, or a whole country/region.
To explain The IFF World Game, Tony Hodgson gives examples of where it has been tried. Chapter 7 has examples of The Game being used by an intentional community in Scotland, by another group of concerned city residents, and by a group in San Francisco considering how they would run the USA. The chapter ends with a project where pupils from a London school and their family groups played a version of the game called ‘21st Century Hopscotch’.
Chapter 8, Strategy and Policy Development, describes how the model was used to help generate an innovative public health strategy and a separate example is given of a design group exploring how their Mediterranean island community could regenerate itself and build in greater sustainability.
In Chapter 9 read how a group of professors and senior researchers at a leading Indian economics institute used The IFF World Game to critique and develop their research strategy to contribute to ‘rapid, inclusive, sustainable growth in India over the coming decade’.
Whether playing The World Game or using The World System Model as a strategy method, the approach needs care. Chapter 10, Creative Facilitation to Engage the World System, analyses three levels of facilitation capability, corresponding to the level of difficulty being addressed. Here, the process is related to action learning and several key thinking skills are also described.
Chapter 11, A Platform for Planetary Learning, takes us back to basics. We face a deluge of information in different areas of research into planetary sustainability and world governance. But the danger, in terms of survival, is that the noise makes the signals too hard to read. Experience also tells us that we are slow to learn. The World System Model can provide a framework for reading the ‘weak signals’ and compiling crucial information in a joined-up way.
This chapter also leads us into considering ‘futures’– How can we identify possible futures? How can we recognise when our responses to problems are locking us into the very patterns that got us into the mess in the first place? How can we envision a better future? The book presents IFF’s three horizon model as a way of getting to grips with these questions.
Finally, Tony Hodgson stresses that the huge scale and complexity of the challenges we face should not be an excuse to duck them. Chapter 12, Designing Resilience, affirms that we can create a sustainable form of one-planet living. This is, in fact, an exciting and energising task. But he ends with a warning that, if we simply improve our ability to ‘bounce back’ to normal after a crisis, we will keep facing more crises. We need to get smarter and wiser about learning to ‘bounce beyond’ to a truly sustainable world.
About The Author
Anthony Hodgson is the founder of Decision Integrity Limited, a company pioneering ways to facilitate better decisions through the application of holistic thinking, systems mapping, integrative group processes and sustainable values.
His career-long consulting experience spans public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK and farther afield, from Hewlett Packard and Statoil to the National Health Service.
Tony has taught on the Executive MBA at The London Business School on Visual Thinking and Team Learning and on an elective programme, ‘The Art and Science of the Long View’. He helped facilitate the foundation of SOL International (the Society for Organisational Learning). He is a founder member of International Futures Forum (where he is World Modelling Research Coordinator).
He is currently researching new ways of thinking about the future and acting in the present at the Centre for Systems Studies in the University of Hull.
International Futures Forum (IFF) was set up to address the complex and confounding challenges that our world faces… to support a transformative response to those challenges and to enhance our capacity for effective action.
IFF restores practical hope and provokes wise initiative.
The book works at several levels. In proposing a transformational response to the possibility of multiple disasters, this is a powerfully hopeful book for concerned individuals.
In presenting a coherent model for thinking about the world’s predicament, it also becomes a book for researchers, policy makers, community leaders and ‘activists’ right across society.
In describing the IFF World Game and its use and application in several scenarios, it also becomes a practical guide for anyone seeking to change the way communities and organisations think and behave in relation to the future, resources and one-planet living.