At the 2023 AIPM National Conference, our team found one of the highlights to be the talks delivered by visionary speakers, that not only captivated the audience but also left an indelible mark of inspiration. Each speaker brought a unique perspective, sharing valuable insights, groundbreaking ideas, and thought-provoking experiences. This particular talk was given by Dr Greg Usher, Executive General Manager for RPS Buildings and Property, Australia Asia Pacific. He has almost 20 years experience in construction and project management, and has published dozens of peer-reviewed and industrty articles, presented his research internationally and published a book on the Future of Project Management. He is passionate about the role project management can play in delivering social, economic, and environmental value for the global community.
Greg spoke on the topic of "Beyond Resilience: Creating Antifragile Projects," firstly identifying the difference between a risk and a black swan, then bringing to spotlight the idea of antifragility and its significance in a project context.
“Antifragility” is a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012), where he introduces antifragile systems as follows:
Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.
Greg elucidated how embracing antifragility goes beyond resilience and robustness, citing examples like the human body's response to vaccination or exercise. Furthermore, he proposed strategies for fostering antifragile systems, including simplification, embracing multiple options, and altering perspectives on stressors, positioning them not as risks but as opportunities for growth.
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Taleb, N.N., 2014. Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder (Vol. 3). Random House Trade Paperbacks.
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