Photo: Enschede Utwente Risk and resilience festival ©foto Eric Brinkhorst

Risk & Resilience Festival theme held on risk meets resilience for a sustainable future

13 November 2019
Knowledge Base

by Michel Klompmaker

On the 7th of November, the third edition of the Risk & Resilience Festival was held at the University of Twente in Enschede, which was organized by the university, the Society for Risk Management (GvRM) and Public Risk Management Organization (PRIMO). The theme surrounding this riveting event was “Risk meets Resilience for a Sustainable Future”. The overarching theme was also split into eight subthemes, which were resilience, vision & strategy, legal & compliance, technology, financial risks, human factor, operations & safety and data analytics. Around 100 speakers attended the event to share their knowledge and experiences together with about 750 people. Highlights of the event included three keynote speakers and the handing out of awards.

This article will particularly give focus to four presentations given by speakers of the operations & safety subtheme.

Safety and Risk Management for Public Infrastructures and Industrial Design by Pieter van Gelder and Mohammad Rajabalinejad

Pieter began the presentation by speaking about the most important factors that influence social-technical risks, which are technical, human and organizational factors. Technical risks influence the safety and risk of public infrastructures and an example he gave of human factors is of a bus driver who can fall asleep due to fatigue, which could lead to an accident. An example he also gave of organizational factors is of a safety walk that is carried out once a day on a ship to check for possible debris on the deck. Pieter also mentioned two other factors such as economic and ethical factors.

When it comes to economic factors, he stated there is always a limited budget and this is why it is essential to optimize investments. For ethical factors, he said that we as humans have an obligation to protect people and that loss of life should be reduced as much as possible. Mohammad continued by talking about the three basic safety ingredients, which are people, technology and the environment. With people, it’s about how they interact or use a system and how if users expect a certain level of safety, it is a company’s responsibility to deliver on it.

Mohammad also touched upon safety challenges and used the example of the relationship between robots and humans. He stated that humans tend to either overestimate or underestimate the robot and that nowadays this relationship extends beyond the technical system. He said that people are making greater emotional relations with robots. An example of this can be seen by a robot that can only come out of a depressive state through physical contact with a human. Mohammad explained that this brings a lot of safety challenges, which we have to be aware of.

Managing Risk and Resilience: A Levers of Control Approach by Ian McCarthy

Ian was the second keynote speaker of the event and started off by explaining the evolving concepts of risk and resilience and how they are two sides of the same coin. Resilience is a fairly new concept about the ability of a system to adapt and bounce back, however, even though what is said about both concepts is different, Ian states that they both make the same points. He goes on to talk about how when you look at industries today, you notice how quickly things change and how often. He says that the risks we face depend on the rate of this change and that the world is changing in different directions and at different speeds.

Ian also spoke about the two approaches to adverse risks, which are adaptive and proactive. An adaptive approach is about being prepared, being tough and having safety levels. A proactive approach is about taking risks and actively looking for risks. With building resilience, Ian mentioned, it is about creating a context, which allows you to do both at the same time and juggle proactive and adaptive behaviors. Ian also discussed Simon’s Levers of Control model, which consists of four types of levers: belief, boundary, diagnostic and interactive systems. Each one of them represents a different type of control.

Belief systems communicate the vision and the approach to risk, for example determining what systems you have or use and if are they proactive or adaptive. Boundary systems specify how, where and why you should not do certain things and diagnostic systems are how you measure your approach to risk, which can be payment systems or award systems, for example. Finally, interactive systems are systems you have, which allows you to change.

Modeling and Analysis of Integration Risks Across Domains of Socio-technical Systems by Mohsen Jafari

Mohsen first began by speaking about integration and how it is a multifaceted and multidisciplinary concept and that it is closely related to the concepts of coordination and social integration. He also explained what socio-technical systems are, which are systems that have been examined by scholars in different fields. Mohsen mentioned that when it comes to such systems, it is important to combine both macro and micro-level perspectives to understand them better. In terms of the macro perspective of socio-technical systems, the changes in technical artifacts happen slowly. The micro perspective to socio-technical systems is affected by action, structure and technology.

Data-driven Bridge Damage Detection Based on Vibration Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) by Lisandro A. Jimenez Roa

Lisandro first discussed what health monitoring is, which is essentially using data in order to track certain aspects of interest. He gave an example of this by saying that there are two ways to measure the temperature of the body: using a thermometer (quantitative data) or putting a hand to the forehead (qualitative data). He stated that children, for example, are able to communicate, cry and express whereas bridges cannot. This is where Lisandro introduced the concept of structural health monitoring, which is about creating and giving a communication voice to a bridge.

He also stated that there are four levels of structural health monitoring. The first level is damage detection, the second level is damage location where the location of damage can be pinpointed, the third level is damage quantification and the fourth level is prognosis, where you can tell what will happen to the system. Lisandro stated that these levels help determine how we can use technology to avoid bridge damage or collapse scenarios. When it comes to bridges, in particular, he said that we all use bridge infrastructures, which bring about certain risks with it.

Going back to the first level (damage detection), he spoke about how bridges accumulate damage over time and that in this level, you determine if there is damage to a bridge or if it is healthy. Lisandro also spoke about two methodologies, which are statistical-based and model-based. One shortcoming of the statistical-based model is that it will detect damage on the bridge even when there is none. He explained that the model may be picking up on damage due to the fact that the bridge may have been closed or under construction.

The statistical-based model would only work well if, for example, there is a normal amount of traffic crossing on a bridge, and it also takes into account rush hour where traffic is known to be higher. Lisandro also stated that the statistical-based model is easy to implement and good for damage detection over long-term data. On the other hand, the model-based methodology was susceptible to temperate changes, less susceptible to traffic changes and more difficult to implement. However, this model can locate the damage based on the curvature and that it is also good for damage detection.

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