PWH in 2014 – Retrospective: Socialization of Unconventional Crisis and the Readiness Factor; Next Steps

This is the first post in some time and is intended as a start for the next steps in investigation on decision making in severe crisis.

In his 2011 book TEMPO; Timing, Tactics and Strategy in Narrative -Driven Decision Making, Venkatesh Rao provides a process of moving emergent thinking, exploration, sense-making and resultant new models along via the Double Freetag Model as shown here.  The model builds on the simple structure of stories: a stable state of affairs, then “once upon a time,” proceeding through a climax and then a different stable state – “happily ever after.”

Deep Story

This model was used to organize and compose a five year summary of Project White Horse 082640 and the investigation into decision making in severe crisis. The “cheap trick” or early exploitable pattern for the early PWH effort was the idea of resilient communities – ones in which not only were professional first responders thinking ahead of the game, citizens were learning an acting to be participants in their own survival when disaster struck.

The “deep story” that evolved was of response to unconventional crisis, defined in part as one with severe novelty and high likely-hood that leadership across the community could be destabilized. The Separation Event is the “moment when a significant proportion of the newly created mental model, along with its momentum is externalized into the environment.” (Rao) It is now exposed to investigation and critique by a world audience.  For PWH this conclusive model for response to unconventional crisis was the Readiness Factor. The path from cheap trick to separation event was tied through the “sense-making” differentiation between preparedness (for what you know) and readiness (for the uncertain).  This carries into the context of “doing what you know” OR “knowing what to do.”

The Readiness Factor then was described as the 1) mindset; 2)organizational requirements; and 3) elements of the mental toolbox necessary to allow sense-making and to achieve actionable understanding in the face of severe novelty. In other words – figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you currently think .(Wick)

Since Edition #11 and DaVinci’s Horse #6 (At Five Years: Unconventional Crisis, Narrative Rationality, Sense-making, and the Readiness Factor {Part 1, Part 2}), PWH has been in Rao’s Retrospective mode: 1)asking if the model of Readiness Factor is valid – looking for evidence on either side of that question and 2) socializing the Unconventional Crisis/Readiness Factor through discussions with those with experience in senior decision making roles, briefings and workshops and by use of social media.

This has included speaking at a Leadership Conference at the University of Ontario, lecture for a Masters level course in Public Administration at Pepperdine University taught by PWH Adviser and former Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks, briefings for Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and most recently in April this year, providing an education segment for  ISC West (International Security Conference and Exposition).

Educational brief at ISC WEST, April 1, 2014 (L) and with PWH  advisers Dr. Chet Richards, LtGen PK Carlton, and Dr. Dag Von Lubitz at the TOL Conference held at the University of Ontario , May 2013 (R)



Socializing the Readiness Factor includes three LinkedIn Groups:

  1. The Readiness Factor Forum
  2. Disciples of Boyd’s Strategies and
  3. Boyd and Beyond

(Currently under discussion are the events of MH370 in light of mismatch of observation and orientation and the 4 hour delay in initiating emergency response.)

And finally, June 17 there will be a Readiness Factor Workshop in Ventura California in conjunction with Haines Security Solutions.

In closing this first post since Edition #11, a few admin notes:

1) Edition #11 containing DaVinci’s Horse #6 will remain as the current edition as it provides a stake in the ground not only for a five year overview of effort but also as the reference starting point for evolving the Readiness Factor in conjunction with Unconditional Crisis.

2) The FORUM/blog will be used to establish next efforts and continue discussion. On that point, I have closed all posts to comments because of SPAM.  I am most interested in your thoughts so please use projectwhitehorseatroadrunnerdotcomon.

3) PWH is beginning two major undertakings with Haines Security Solutions and Motion Arts Technologies.  This process and relationships will be the subject of future posts.




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