Risk management and Covid-19
The industry of the future

Innovation: international perspectives on the safety of tomorrow

3 minutes
Innovation: international perspectives on the safety of tomorrow Innovation: international perspectives on the safety of tomorrow

Coming out of the blue, the Covid-19 crisis has been a severe blow that has knocked society off its feet. Now, more than ever before, we need to know how to manage and take decisions under uncertainty. In this context, Icsi and Foncsi are joining forces with two renowned, international research and development networks working in the domain of organizational resilience, the power of intuition, and their judicious implementation. The aim is to explore pathways that can be applied to risk management under uncertainty.


The Covid-19 crisis has shaken up societies, economies, what we think of as social utility, and required companies to be able to reorganise themselves at a moment’s notice. More specifically, the need to give health ultimate priority has changed safety management in at-risk industries, and reshuffled the cards regarding the challenges companies face. This unexpected assault has had multiple consequences: reduced manpower, social distancing, the widespread use of remote working, the need to protect individual team members, the use of technology, high-speed trade-offs, etc. and destabilised a risk management model that is deeply founded on anticipation and predetermination.


| Preparing to be unprepared |


“It has required initiatives, real time actions, that we didn’t know we were capable of, and that we need to understand and build upon. What we have to take away from this, is not how we dealt with Covid-19 by adding to the catalogue of solutions to known problems but, instead, how we learned what to do when we didn’t know what to do. We mustn’t forget that there are more surprises ahead of us. What you have to be prepared for is to be unprepared”, notes Jean Pariès, Scientific Director of Icsi and Foncsi.

So how, in this uncertain world, can we take action, take decisions, and manage, without making too many mistakes? What do we have to do to manage this complexity? “This is a major challenge for thinking about tomorrow’s safety. We need to innovate, invent new ways of managing industrial safety, putting uncertainty at the heart of systems”, explains Ivan Boissières, Icsi’s Director.


| A partnership with two leading international networks |


To explore these issues, Icsi and Foncsi are joining forces with two, highly-regarded networks: The Resilience Engineering Association – whose founding fathers include Jean Pariès and René Amalberti (Director of Foncsi) – and the Naturalistic Decision Making movement.



The Naturalistic Decision Making community has developed around Gary Klein, a cognitive psychologist and author of best-sellers such as The Power of Intuition. The community seeks to establish and consolidate ‘natural’ decision-making within teams, such as firefighters, who operate in very dynamic and uncertain environments. In a context characterized by a lack of information and uncertainty, an initial intuition about what should be done, forms the basis for setting out a strategy. The implementation of this strategy generates information that makes it possible to validate or invalidate it.

The Resilience Engineering Association embodies a current of thought that emerged in the early 2000s, and is driven by researchers such as David Woods, Eric Hollnagel, Nancy Leveson and Sidney Dekker. It focuses on the design and management of systems, processes and organizations in the face of uncertainty, turbulence and disruption. It aims to explore the resilience of complex systems, and examine their robustness to variation and disturbance. Going further, it focuses on the capacity of systems to adapt to perturbations, and even to take advantage of this variability to drive change and flourish.


| A rich mix of theory and practice |

We are happy and proud that through the work of Jean Pariès (Icsi) and René Amalberti (Foncsi), we have access to such rich, international networks. Our joint work will feed into our thoughts on the management of current and future industrial risks and will, of course, benefit our members”, concludes Ivan Boissières.

Through our webinars and an observatory of industrial practices, our members also provide first-hand feedback that feeds into the theme “International perspectives for thinking about tomorrow’s safety”, which is a key focus of our Risk Management & Covid-19 campaign.


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