Monthly Archives: July 2014

Does The Tipping Point = Decision Point?

Introduction. If you are analyzing and assessing where your company or community is at on continuity then at some point you reach a tipping point. A point where you can no longer control the direction that events are headed. Turning to dictionary.com we see that “Tipping Point” the point in a situation at which a minor development precipitates a crisis: Every infected person brings us closer to the tipping point, when the outbreak becomes an epidemic.

You can only hope to realize this point when it “precipitates” or before a crisis. Realizing it well into the crisis is not good as your courses of action may no longer be possible. Realizing there is an epidemic, after it has reached the tipping point, means the epidemic is spreading faster than you can manufacture and distribute the vaccine to stop the epidemic from spreading (pandemic). Tipping point started out in medical terms but obviously has a broader application.

Another part of the tipping point definition is the point at which an issue, idea, product, etc., crosses a certain threshold and gains significant momentum, triggered by some minor factor or change. I hope that the 3CFortress idea hits its own tipping point.

You can find “Tipping Point” used in several ways and by several people. Most recently Malcolm Gladwell wrote a very good book about it sub titled “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference”. I have my own copy along with others from Gladwell. Referred to so much that if you look this up on Wikipedia the whole entry is about his book. For him, it started while covering the AIDS epidemic but he saw it could be applied to social policy (nonmedical areas). Social being how ideas spread via word of mouth after reaching a tipping point. One of the points that Gladwell wants readers to take away from the book is, “Our intuitions, as humans, aren’t always very good”.

Some other examples using tipping points is health (when everyday health and diet decisions catch up to you), brewing beer, The End of Oil (tippingpointdoc.ca), technology (FastCompany), Time magazine (Transgender), a movie (rated on rottentomatoes), Global Climate Change, nuclear waste, renewable energy, poverty (in the San Francisco Bay area) and finally twelve tipping points on one web site (thetippingpoints.com).

Tipping point is used many times for business applications. Any business idea that makes it way to a tipping point can only see that idea spreading like wild fire…in a profiting way of speaking. Another more cautious way to look at reaching a tipping point is looking at it like a wave. But we all know what happens to waves. They crash into the beach at some point. Many great businesses have not been what you would call a long-term success. Getting the business or community past the next generation, the next fifty years or two hundred years requires better strategic thinking.

Tipping point, used in military terms, are those times when a gradual accumulation of small changes results in a sudden major shift in a balance; restoration of the prior equilibrium may be very difficult or even impossible (globalsecurity.org). Difficult as these small changes are hard to put into a recognizable pattern that provides advance warning. Much of this tipping point analysis focuses on Afghanistan but it shows up in general military planning.

The big question from the tipping point and how it relates to 3CFortress is all about urban planning and business continuity. Look at several Internet searches on “tipping point” and I find it disturbing that nothing address the future direction of communities and corporations to survive a crisis. How long have we heard the term “urban sprawl” used? How many more cities/communities do we have to see fail? It is truly a scary thought to think that we have reached the tipping point on communities and corporations being able to do anything to change course. If we have reached this point then just like a pandemic we have to come up with a plan of how to stop the “old” way of regional and local planning.

Check It Out – Found an article on the “Castle In The Clouds”. Thomas G. Plant put this plan into action using architect J. William (John W) Beal (perhaps others). I mention the architect because this is one person that is a key player on the 3CF team. Incorporating so many related concepts is a challenge that you need expert advises on. It jumped out at me but this place started as a “Park”. It was described as a self-sufficient community (Lee farm) albeit a hard life. My take on this point is that improvising (think AdIOS) a farmer’s market into supporting the 3CF is a must have part of the plan.

Taking a quick look at where they may have gone wrong the amount of land in use jumped out at me. It appears that it rose to about 336 acres but for some reason (finance?) it dropped back to 150 acres. This may have been a tipping point leading to an unsupportable amount of land to be self-sufficient. This will vary depending on location but it is another key point in the 3CF plan.

Postive points were: 1) Using a lodge to house visitors and family. Expand this to be a 3CF long-term living hotel. 2) School on site. Haven’t mentioned this much but the 3CFortress has to be adaptable (AdIOS) and scalable. Instead of the office tower make it the school tower. This can be for Elementary, High School or a college. 3) Construction materials and labor were from local resources. This points back to my Detroit (and other dying cities) response that 3CF can help revive an economy and make money for the investors.

I will be talking more about how to come up with a plan to make a 3CFortress happen.

Quick Tip – Reading The Tipping Point by Gladwell brought out an interesting point about the number One Hundred Fifty (150). Gladwell’s research pointed to a tipping point when an organization grew larger than 150 people. At that point the organization of that many people becomes unmanageable. After looking at several companies and religious organizations it did stress the point that crossing the 150 level requires a lot of planning. If you don’t think ahead and adapt then be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Look Who’s Talking – See my recent responses to survivethecomingcollapse.com and agorafinancial.com posted here on this blog. Another tipping point subject was GMO food. Farmwars.info is asking if the tipping point has been reached and whether or not we really have a choice? When you plan your 3CFortress you have a choice!

What Do You Think? – Should I expand and deliver another post on “tipping point”? I do plan one on “decision point” and how they relate. Help me reach the 3CFortress tipping point! Spread the word.

Reply to survivethecomingcollapse.com on Scouting and Bug-Out

Title of article:  Scouting For a Survival Bug-Out in the Wilderness or the Desert

I have to admit that it is tough to form a positive reply to posts or advice like this. But a large portion of it will just plain get you killed or make it close to impossible to survive a long term crisis. The big question was about bug-out so survive in place or bug-in was determined to not be an option or the correct option.

The article correctly stated that city or desert areas are going to be tough so the recommendation was to scout out your bug-out location in advance. Trouble is, the wilderness area suggested are not practical or what I point out will throw you into a very desperate situation.

To cut to the chase, I agreed with one or two of the replies that talked about “community”. Yes, that is one of the three C’s in 3CFortress. What I have been saying is finding a community or corporation that has prepared is not a realistic expectation. As this article pointed out, you do have to use the 7 P’s but my point is use them to find and/or prepare a “C” for natural and manmade threats. By doing that a 72 hour or multi-month crisis is already prepped for. The plan, hopefully practiced before hand, will be activated. Using the AdIOS acronym any of the variances to the plan can be dealt with.

I do hate to respond so negatively on these responses. If it is not a survival article, like this one, it is an unrealistic security article. I hate to inform you but you are not a subsitute for SEAL Team 6. You need numbers and size on your side to make it through even the most basic crisis.

Look back through the other 3CFortress blog posts and see how to get started on the right path…before it is too late or the crisis hits.

 

Response on “Smart Cities” Agora Financial Article

When I saw and read this article in the 5MinForecast I felt like I had to respond. So did several others. I couldn’t see “Smart Cities” as the answer…to much of anything. Here is my response that was published on July 10, 2014:

  “Technology is not the answer to everything,” wrote another reader. “Haven’t we already proven that?

“I’m surprised you didn’t tie in the ‘Internet of Things’ inside the so-called smart buildings. An Internet request from your refrigerator for more milk can’t be answered if the supply chain is interrupted. Same for water and power. For cities in the 1-10 million population range, the supply chain can’t be broken, but it is dependent on its weakest link.

“Is technology going to solve the traffic problem? Highly doubtful. None of the 10 or even 1 million population-size cities have this figured out, or it would be spreading like wildfire. I don’t see one community over 50,000 that has this solved. Instead of building homes with four-bay garages or trying to convince every one to use public transportation, it comes down to walkability.

“Why can’t the smart city concept work? We have the ‘urban planning’ model totally flubbed up. Ye say no? Technology hasn’t solved urban sprawl. Never will. In your kitchen, you have a ‘working triangle.’ In the real world, you have your ‘living triangle.’

“Until the ‘living triangle’ (home-work-play) can be walkable or figured with reliable public transportation, the problem won’t be solved. Instead of moving toward smart cities, we should be looking at the old concept of garden cities. Less technology, not more.

“Don’t claim to have all the answers to this problem, but check out 3CFortress.com for a start. Agree or disagree, we have to get this solved or more cities will fall into the Detroit model.

“Thanks for getting the discussion started!”

The 5: Sorry to disappoint, but we’re not going to start any discussion about urban planning.

All we’re trying to do is follow the money. And contra the first reader’s point, it really doesn’t matter if city governments are broke or not. As long as they have the capacity to spend out of an empty pocket, they’ll pour money into smart city projects no matter how foolish or Big-Brotherish.

Thus is Chicago — only a few steps behind Detroit on the path to fiscal disaster — spending money on “50 sensors attached to downtown light poles collecting data on everything from the humidity to air quality to the noise level,” according to USA Today.

**********End of Article Response****************

Didn’t want to keep this going but isn’t “continuity” about “money”. How much money are you making while your doors are closed? Better to plan ahead using AdIOS to develop a Continuity Plan so you can Survive and stay in business…NO Matter What!

Handling Risk Management

Introduction. Risk management is going to be one of the subjects that will put you on the path to building a 3CFortress. Once you list and analyze the risks for your community and/or corporation the light bulb will come on, lighting the way to surviving the impact. Ignoring the risks means the impact is lurking out there just waiting to rear its ugly head. Can you afford to ignore risks and realistically stay in business when the risk hits? That is the main topic for today.

Risk Management 101

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) is this:

1. Identify/Make a list of the Risk (Hazards).

2. Determine what the Probability and Magnitude the Risk presents.

3. What “Stuff” (Assets) is affected or vulnerable from the Risk?

4. Determine the Impacts (Damage) for each Risk.

5. Finally, determine how to prepare, mitigate or reduce the risk.

Simple huh? Of course not but taking the first step will have you taking the road less taken. The road ends with a 3CFortress. Ignoring the risks puts you on the path to destruction or going out of business.

1. When you create a list of risks don’t get caught up in semantics or spin off on whether or not risks are threats, crisis points, hazards, etc. Pull together a team that can put this list together and not hold back. Don’t worry about if this risk requires further analysis or if it truly does affect your 3C. All that is done in later steps.

Here is a list to get you thinking: Fire, explosion, Natural hazards (see below), Hazardous material spill, Terrorism, Workplace violence, Pandemic disease, Utility (Power Grid) outage, Mechanical breakdown, Supplier delivery failure, Cyber attack, Financial crisis, Economic crisis, Earthquakes, etc.

Many of these break down into other areas such as Natural hazards. This includes floods (water rising and wind driven rain), tornadoes, hurricanes, severe drought, winter storms, and wildfires. Terrorism has many faces and that face can be the same as one of the others listed above (chemical spill or cyber attack). If statistics show that perhaps thirty percent of businesses failed during Super Storm Sandy is there any doubt that natural hazards need to be on your list of risks?

A quick note on the economic crisis risk is that the books about the “Aftershock” predict more than fifty percent of business will fail during that crisis period. It would be prudent to think about what events or risks would cause this amount of failures. Repeated several times but risk like this has a severe impact. If you assess a low probability to it the impact is too high to ignore and must be addressed.

Did I miss any? Bet I did so add any that you come up with and save the assessment and analysis for later. Two not on the list that come to mind are EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) and Solar Radiation. EMP could come from an accident or terrorist attack. It is similar to the Power Grid going down but has its own unique impacts. Solar radiation could come from a solar flare coming from our Sun. Both can involve severe damages to infrastructure but let’s stick with the most common or one’s that have a high probability of happening.

2. Probability and magnitude can be tough to figure out so don’t be afraid to hire a consultant or professional to help on this step. This is not something to settle with a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). Assigning too high of probability or magnitude can lead to incorrect and/or unnecessary costly plans to mitigate or reduce that risk.

You need to have a realistic idea of whether or not this risk or hazard can occur in your 3C area. Preparing for a hurricane in Missouri might seem like a waste of time or zero probability but what do hurricanes start from and break down into? Tropical storms! These storms can bring unusual amounts of rain that forecasters might not predict. Hurricanes might not have a high probability as you go up the USA East Coast but don’t forget the magnitude and impacts that Super Storm Sandy brought with it. Sandy went farther inland than initially expected, much to the surprise of many communities and businesses. Look at how many businesses folded for good after Sandy and you might decide to keep this on your list.

Several risks can be too general or not specific enough. No problem. This is how it begins. Asking several “What if?” questions are a good start. What if Supplier X was unable to deliver one or more critical supplies to your business or community? The 3CFortress concept looks at the “big picture”, system or holistic approach. Going back to the Sandy example, how was the infrastructure failure and local community supply interruptions affecting business continuity? Careful, remember back that a plan that involves going it alone or with a castle mentality is doomed to fail. If no outside help can be expected then the 3CFortress concept takes this into consideration. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Before we get too deep into risk analysis I ask you to keep in mind that risks or threats can be opportunities. An economic crisis centered on the food supply could create an opportunity for a Farmer’s Market of local Food CO-OP that may not have been considered before. Creating ways to shorten to shorten the living triangle and length of the supply chain creates more local businesses and jobs.

3. Figuring the assets at risk and vulnerabilities is not going to be an easy task. In order for this to be analyzed it will require a large amount of data gathering. Use the power of the Internet to gather historical data for your area. I am thinking of Galveston, TX and the hurricane that hit there in the year 1900. It was deadly and devastating to say the least. Are the conditions the same today? No, so your work is cut out for you to apply what an Saffir-Simpson Category 4 would do today. What if it is Category 3? How would the loss of oil production and oil refineries affect the state of Texas? The region? This is a prime example of Low Probability with High Impact. The high impact forces you to budget money for this in order to mitigate or reduce the impact.

4. Once you determine the impacts, the total picture of each risk comes into view. As mentioned in the Galveston example, if the impact is very high then you have no choice but to include it on your “to do” list. Impacts can go beyond financial costs. Look over your risk list and you will see that natural hazards can lead to casualties that can overwhelm the local system. Does your plan rely on the local medical facilities or do you have your medical facility on site? Pandemics create casualties from an initial event but linger on for weeks. More on this later but you can see that addressing this risk involves what to do with sick workers and secession plans. While expensive, moving to another location may have to be part of your plan. Last, the Boston Marathon bombing showed that terrorism should be on everyone’s list.

Any business that wants to make it past the impact has a long list to address: Financial loss, Business interruption, Loss of customers (from Supplier failure), Environmental contamination (think BP in Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon), Fines and penalties and Lawsuits (Reference: ready.gov). Have you started to wonder if some of these events are survivable? They are but you have to develop a plan and put it into action.

5. Coming up with a plan to mitigate or reduce the risks is not going to be an easy task. The risk management plan will have to be approved and money budgeted. It is doubtful if any of the risks can be mitigated over night. Any 3C needs to sign on to this plan for the long haul. Part of the plan has to address what to do if the risk happens before your plan is complete? Are there any “trigger events” warning you of a risk about to happen? What actions can you take before the risk event that will reduce the impacts?

Besides the business management team there is another group that needs to be included in this risk management process. Talking about the “Stakeholder” group. Some examples of key stakeholders are creditors, directors, employees, government (and its agencies), owners (shareholders), suppliers, unions, and the community from which the business draws its resources. Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/stakeholder.html#ixzz36byZqzFn

 

As several people have said, “We’re all in this together”. Looking over the stakeholder examples from businessdictionary.com shows the 3C’s (corporate, community, city) are, in fact, all in this together. No individual plan for a community or corporation is going to work. Everyone is a stakeholder, which the 3CFortress concept takes into consideration.

 

Check It Out. IKEA announces commitment to using renewable energy at their stores, when feasible. While this is just one piece of the 3CFortress concept it is a huge step in the right direction. It is clear that IKEA takes the local environment into consideration as some involve solar and others wind turbines. The size of the system at each store mentioned is amazing. Obviously, this scale of investment doesn’t come cheap but they see the savings over the long haul. Little doubt that as the technology improves IKEA will take advantage of that as future stores are built. One can only hope this commitment is seen positively by the local community enough that they want to shop at IKEA even more. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/about_ikea/newsitem/President_Obama_renewable_energy

Quick Tip – Credited www.ready.gov several times today and it is a good place to start. One note of caution is some web developer or government worker may have added too much information and ended up overwhelming the reader. What I would like to see more of is what “Wisdom” we can gather from this site. Using the DIKW (Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom) information flow I have to wonder if the information is too much and figuring out what is useful for future use (wisdom) is very tough to pull out. Visit the site and see if you agree or not.

Look Who’s Talking. Growyourowngroceries.org had a post about a disruption in trucking transportation affecting the delivery of food supplies to the local community. Responded that I couldn’t agree more. The only point to make was I don’t think you can grow enough of your food to get past the impact of this risk. Scaling the solution to a 3CFortress is the only way to do that.

What Do You Think? Are you with me so far?