21 October 2012

Starfish: A Community of Resilience...

When is the last time you were in an environment where trust was implicit?  A place where the people you were working along side, shared a unity of purpose and a single mission.  Once you experience this, it is forever engraved in your mind and felt deep in your soul.  A "Starfish Community," walking together with such a high degree of mutual trust, it will endure and remain resilient against all Operational Risks that may be encountered.

Enabled by the wisdom and thinking from Rod Beckstrom and Ori Brafman's book "Starfish and the Spider:  The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, the "Starfish Community" is growing rapidly across the globe.  A group of decentralized networks that are able to work without hesitancy and with moral courage.  It does not matter if the model is used on the battlefield or in business, the desired outcomes are the same.  Joby Warrick at the WP describes the latest work of al-Qaeda:
Authorities in Jordan have disrupted a major terrorist plot by al-Qaeda-linked operatives to launch near-simultaneous attacks on multiple civilian and government targets, reportedly including the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Amman, said Western and Middle Eastern officials Sunday.  The Jordanian government issued a statement confirming the plot and saying that 11 people with connections to al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq have been arrested. 
The foiled attack, described as the most serious plot uncovered in Jordan since 2005, was viewed with particular alarm by intelligence agencies because of its sophisticated design and the planned use of munitions intended for the Syria conflict — a new sign that Syria’s troubles could be spilling over into neighboring countries, the officials said.
The alleged plotters are Jordanian nationals. The officials said the group had amassed a stockpile of explosives and weapons from Syrian battlefields and devised a plan to use military-style tactics in a wave of attacks across Amman.  
The scheme called for multiple strikes on shopping centers and cafes as a diversionary tactic to draw the attention of police and security officials, allowing other operatives to launch attacks against the main targets, which included government buildings and embassies.  A Western official briefed on details of the plot confirmed that the U.S. Embassy in Amman was among the targets. Like others interviewed for this report, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still unfolding.
The ability for the Starfish Community to evolve, adapt and to consistently execute against its agreed upon mission manifests itself in terrorist acts and simultaneously in humanitarian and disaster response.  The ability for the human race to at one moment be so evil and at the same moment so forgiving and good, will continue to amaze us all:
Syrian Arab Republic, 2012
HISG has provided food, blankets, medicine, and other assistance to families that have been affected the by political turmoil in Syria. Many of these people have lost their only source of income because businesses have shut down. Others have simply fled the larger cities to escape the violence. 
The assistance has gone to families like these: In one household, the mother had died from illness, leaving the father to care for five small children. He was not able to keep his job, and now sells small items door to door or on the streets, but it was not enough to provide for his children. When his family received food packs and heating oil in the winter, he was overwhelmed with gratitude. 
Late 2011 and early 2012 brought on an unusually cold winter in Syria, and the harsh temperatures coupled with the protests and demonstrations drove the price of heating oil to 4 times its usual price. The blankets were delivered to insulate people from the cold and help them survive the bitter cold.
The business world evolves around us with mergers and acquisitions, incidents of fraud and corruption while a silent and clandestine army of cyber warriors wage conflict on our critical infrastructure and copy or steal our intellectual assets.  The ability for the "Starfish Community" to survive in the virtual environment of the Internet is no different than the cities of Aleppo or Amman.  This is why Wikipedia and other open source projects are able to continuously adapt, grow and survive the threats or vulnerabilities to this resilient and self-healing network.

How have organizations like Google and others designed their business to withstand the tests of both physical and virtual threats to it's global well-being?  
8.  The need for information crosses all borders.
Our company was founded in California, but our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language. To that end, we have offices in more than 60 countries, maintain more than 180 Internet domains, and serve more than half of our results to people living outside the United States. We offer Google’s search interface in more than 130 languages, offer people the ability to restrict results to content written in their own language, and aim to provide the rest of our applications and products in as many languages and accessible formats as possible. Using our translation tools, people can discover content written on the other side of the world in languages they don’t speak. With these tools and the help of volunteer translators, we have been able to greatly improve both the variety and quality of services we can offer in even the most far–flung corners of the globe. 
A crisis appears in your business only when you are unable to adapt and withstand the impact of the virtual or physical forces thrust upon you.  Whether it is the economic well being of the U.S. or the privacy laws in Europe.  The shock wave of a VBIED or insider threat.  Your organization could reach an Operational Risk crisis state, if you have not embraced the architecture of the "Starfish Community".  Learn from the best on how to withstand the test of time and and all that humanity has in store for us.  And to all of those who are on the front lines of crisis everyday.  God Speed.  You know who you are.

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