On Resilience

I’ve been working on an illustration of a poppy. I chose the subject somewhat randomly. But as I was drawing yesterday I started to ask myself why I’m drawn to poppies.

It’s because they are a symbol of seemingly impossible resilience. The flower is large and bright and spreads it’s paper-thin petals widely. And all of that sits on top of a long, thin, and winding stem. A poppy appears to be delicate and barely balanced, but if you’ve had poppies in your yard, then you know that they can take quite a beating and still stand tall.

I don’t know anything about their biological and mechanical makeup, but I’m guessing that poppies have just the right material and structure in just the right places–the places that take the most stress in a storm. This is resilience.

Our lizard brains tell us that we need to build walls around a system to protect it. Walls keep out the bad stuff. But they keep out the good stuff, too. So let’s think beyond walls to identify the pressure points where a system is likely to break then design flexibility and resilience into those points.