Last week I presented The Herd of Cats to a great audience at the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto. Although I’d floated the premise out there before at CPRS Ascend in Banff last spring, this was the first real public unveiling of many of the ideas and cases that will be featured in the book.
This was the session’s synopsis in the program:
The Herd of Cats: Startups, Improv, and Disasters
The strange, fringe worlds of tech startups and improv comedy may offer some powerful insights for disaster managers (and vice versa). As cliche as it has become to say that the world is faster-paced and more unpredictable than ever before, many of us – individuals and groups alike – are still overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with this new normal. Whether it’s the massive disruption created by new technologies, the turbulent shifts in how interconnected politics and markets behave, or the severe impact of Black Swan events like “one-in-100-year” super-storms, it’s evident that our systems, enterprises, governments, organizations, and ourselves must find better ways to adapt. We are more sensitive to the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity that surrounds us. And we’re more vulnerable to the predictions, plans, tools, and hierarchies that remain entrenched in all facets of our lives. Much of what worked before simply doesn’t anymore, and we need to learn how to approach this new age with ingenuity, versatility, and resiliency. Fortunately, there’s a vanguard – a herd of cats – who have not only figured out how to endure uncertainty but how to thrive in it. Lean, Agile, Holacracy, APIs, Jobs-to-be-Done, Blue Ocean… “Yes, and”, Follow-Your-Foot, active listening, fluid leadership, play… In The Herd of Cats, Steve Hardy sheds light on the dynamic yet disparate worlds inhabited by entrepreneurs, improvisers, and disaster managers. Blend together the maxims of startup culture, the principles of an improv mindset, and the hard realities of disaster resilience, and what you’ll find is the very best approach to navigating the rapidly changing world around us. Hardy enthusiastically explores this fascinating inter-sectional space, profiling each area’s unique stories, philosophies, and best practices, while also illustrating their remarkable similarities and valuable cross-learning.
And here is a narrated video of the deck I presented:
It was an honour to be invited to speak at such a great event, and I am grateful for all of the positive feedback I received from delegates who attended it.