Sharing ideas on Risk, Human Performance, Teams and Leaders

Erik Hollnagel

Learning from what goes right-resilience engineering

Erik Hollnagel is Professor at the Institute of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, Chief Consultant at the Centre for Quality, Region of South Denmark, Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales (Australia), and Professor Emeritus at the Department of Computer Science, University of Linkoping. Throughout his career, Dr. Hollnagel has worked with various problems, including nuclear power generation, aerospace and aviation, software engineering, land-based traffic, and healthcare. His professional interests include industrial safety, resilience engineering, accident investigation, and patient safety.

Risks change, they are dynamic and can’t be eliminated. In our efforts to eliminate risk, we focus on unacceptable outcomes, but rarely ask why acceptable outcomes occur. We need to examine our successes, and not just failures alone, and the science of resilience engineering focuses on how we manage the “expected” rather than the “unexpected” alone. We should examine why safety occurs, count the events that happened and when everything goes right, in an effort to amplify things that are good. This will lead to performance adjustments and enhancements, which are necessary and need to be ubiquitous to make sure important functions happen (as opposed to preventing other things happening).