DAVID WOODS, Professor,
Integrated Systems Engineering Division,
The Ohio State University

Resilience-in-Action: Proactive Safety in a Changing World - DAVID WOODS

Room: Sagamore 3-4-5

Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 1:30 PM-3:15 PM
Failure is due to brittle systems, not human error. Systems operate successfully due to sources of resilience, usually hidden or underappreciated. Explaining accidents as due to an error by a person hides the operation of the systemic factors that create brittleness and undermine resilience. Breakdowns in learning lead organizations to miss signals that operations are becoming more brittle as relentless production pressure erodes the capabilities that provide resilience in the face of surprises. Learning about resilience-in-action highlights how people in various roles anticipate bottlenecks ahead, act to fill gaps, and are able to stretch system performance in the face of smaller and larger surprises. These resilient capabilities create safety in high-performance/risk-critical settings. Analyses of dramatic failures of complex systems, such as the Columbia space shuttle accident, highlight this pattern and the need for proactive safety. Findings gathered from many settings and organizations, including firefighting and disaster response, show us how to build proactive safety management and sustain the capability to put resilience-in-action in an uncertain and changing world. ALL LEVELS

DAVID WOODS is a professor in the Integrated Systems Engineering Division of The Ohio State University. He has worked to improve systems safety in high-risk settings for more than 35 years. He is the author of Behind Human Error (1994; 2nd Edition 2010) and Resilience Engineering (2006). He  has received many awards such as a Laurels Award from Aviation Week and Space Technology (1995) and the Jimmy Doolittle Fellow Award from the Air Force Association. He served on many national advisory committees such as National Research Council on Dependable Software (2006), Autonomy in Civil Aviation (2014), the FAA Human Factors and Cockpit Automation Team (1996 and its reprise in 2013), and the Defense Science Board Task Force on Autonomy (2012). He was an advisor to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He is past president of the Human Factors an Ergonomics Society and past president of the Resilience Engineering Association.