Sully and the Human Factor

Learning by Training: Sully and the human factor
14 OCT 2019 Recently I watched the movie Sully with Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart. Perhaps you have seen it too? It made me ask this question: who do incident investigators trust more – people or computers? For those who haven’t seen the movie or know the story of the US Airways flight 1549, I will briefly tell you what happened. Right after take-off from La Guardia Airport in New York, the plane encountered a flock of birds, several of which flew right into both jet engines, causing them to stop running. With no thrust available anymore the Airbus A-320 lost altitude fast and could only glide towards destruction because it could not return back to La Guardia nor reach Teterboro airport. The only option would be to land on water of the Hudson River. That decision saved the lives of 155 people. Captain Sullenberger became a hero overnight. It is what happened after this remarkable landing about which I wanted to write today. Airline and go…

Greta Thunberg

Heeft u toevallig deze week de verontwaardigde, boze Greta Thunberg gezien toen ze de Verenigde Naties toesprak? Het lieve meisje had besloten met stemverheffing, een nijdig gelaat en door boze woorden de wereldleiders te doen schrikken. Ze had gehoopt dat met kwaadheid het klimaat kan worden gered. Nou, dat werkte dus averechts, ze werd overvallen door hoon en smaad. President Trump kon het dan ook niet laten om iets sarcastisch te tweeten. Tja, als lieve, noch boze woorden helpen ons voor onze ondergang te beletten, hoe moet dat dan wel? We staan als Lemmingen te trappelen om ons massaal van de rotsen te gaan storten. Willen we of kunnen we niet naar rede luisteren dan? Een filosoof zei dat we sinds de Griekse Oudheid in principe niet veel hebben bijgeleerd. Natuurlijk leven we ons leven met allerlei technologische snufjes, maar die eigenlijk gemaakt zijn om ons bestaan niet echt te verrijken, maar te vergemakkelijken. Deze filosoof kwam namelijk tot de conclusie dat de mens niet ve…

Synthese van Wereldproblematiek : hoe kunnen we overleven?

De titel van deze Seminar is ‘Risico Gestuurd’ ondernemen. Maar wat betekent dit? Sturen we een onderneming door middel van Risico’s? Of besturen we een onderneming door het onderkennen en dus vermijden van risico’s? Kunnen risico’s worden voorkomen en of beheerst? Deze vraag zal ik proberen te beantwoorden, maar niet op de gebruikelijke manier om een risico analyse te doen, maar op een nieuwe, meer effectievere wijze en dat is om een risico synthese te doen. Het verschil zit hem in de details hoor je wel eens of op zijn Engels: ‘The Devil is in the details’. Waarom hebben we het steeds over ‘analyse’. Op tv zien we politieke analisten, voetbal analisten, medische analisten, wetenschappelijke analisten, enzovoort. Maar zo goed als niemand neemt het woord ‘synthese’ in de mond, terwijl er een belangrijk verschil is. Dit komt door een fenomeen dat het reductionisme wordt genoemd en dat is er bij ons ingepeperd vanaf kind zijn door onze ouders (ze wisten niet beter) door onze leraren (zij…

Understanding Complexity

When an organisation, corporation, industry or political process are understood as living systems, their interconnected and interdependent relationships within and outside of their networks change all the time. This complexity, due to dynamic and perpetually changing information feedback loops, can’t be managed by direct causal action (cause and effect reactions) but can only be maximally controlled by steering with that information in real time. Adaptability to constantly evolving changes by using all information directly is needed to ensure continuity and longevity of the living system. Nature works like that too. Complexity is a consequence of a myriad of unknown factors, relationships and reliance which nevertheless have a direct impact on organisations and can only be ‘controlled’ by learning and actual adaptation in real time. These so-called non linear effects or non causal stimuli from often unknown, but interconnected and interdependent sources, can’t be controlled by old-fa…

Aliens (published in HCB Magazine)

When I sit down to write this column, I usually don’t know what to write about just yet. It normally comes to me when I start typing words onto my keyboard but today, for some reason, it seems more difficult than before. I know I have written about risk management, HSEQ control and the use of Systems Sciences and Cybernetics quite a bit, so those subjects I will give a rest, because I feel that not many of you seem to have understood what I was trying to tell you. Few people contacted me to ask about these sciences. But now we are nearing summer and it is getting warmer, although now, as I am writing this, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. I have mentioned climate change before, but is man actually causing this? What man is certainly doing is using up earth’s resources at an exponential rate. In 2018, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 1. That marks the day when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. For the rest of the year, we are maintaining our ecological deficit …

March 29, 1986 - 33 years ago

33 Years ago
There's rumors of war
Men dying and women crying
If you breathe air, you'll die
Perhaps you wonder the reason why? 
This is how the song 'Are you ready' commences. The song was a hit by a band called Pacific Gas and Electric in the sixties of last century. I was ready in the eighties to work in all kinds of places, even in war zones like the Persian Gulf. The name of the ship was 'Hawaii'  and it was hit and destroyed by an Exocet Missile which was fired by the Iraqis during the first Gult war between Iraq and Iran. This news message was hidden in some obscure newspaper: 
The 372,201 dwt Liberian tanker Hawaii, was loaded with 320,000 tonnes of Iranian crude oil, when she was attacked by an Iraqi warplane about 60 mi South of Kharg Island in lat 28.20N, long 50.50E at 0310 am on March 29 1986. The Exocet missile struck her in a starboard fuel tank, causing a major fire in the aft section. 31 man crew. 
I was on board and was rescued by the Dutch towing an…

Paradise Papers

Law of Requisite Variety (First Law of Cybernetics) and The Paradise Papers
A situation can only be controlled if the variety of the controller matches the variety of the situation to be controlled. •The system/person with the most flexibility of behaviour will have the most influence on the system. The more choices one has, the more freedom is felt and the better the quality of life. •It is impossible to control for every variable so most variety is absorbed through relationships with other systems •Only Variety can absorb Variety •It means that in Risk Management, only enough variety in your system can absorb, or control risks originating from outside variety. •By using feedback, this information is fed into the system to allow the system to adjust and learn constantly. •It is impossible to control all Risks as systems fluctuate by information from a constant changing variety (environment).
       An organism or organisation generates tremendous variety and tries to control it in its own wa…