Open access peer-reviewed Edited Volume

Critical Systems - Towards Antifragility

Darrell Mann

University of Buckingham

A pioneering innovation-methods researcher, an innovator with a $6B track-record, and a regular author on innovation-related topics. Over the years he has held Visiting Professorships at a range of different universities around the world. He is currently a Professor at the University of Buckingham in the UK.


Complex-Adaptive-Systems Edge-of-Chaos Antifragile Holistic-Design Human-Error Irrationality Scientific Laws Evolutionary-S-Curves Anticipatory-Failure-Determination Edge Effect Feedback-Loops OODA-Loop

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About the book

As the world becomes ever more complex, connected and automated, the challenge of designing and operating critical systems increases exponentially. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that many critical systems – from healthcare to just-in-time supply chains to societal lockdown compliance – are remarkably fragile. If we are to learn anything from the pandemic it is that our critical systems need to become a lot more resilient. The ability of complex critical systems to survive unpredicted stresses and perturbations is one thing, but when solutions are responsible for the wellbeing of potentially millions of people, what is really needed, and this book proposes, are systems that are antifragile. That is, the more they are stressed the stronger they become.

Antifragility is a property found in many natural systems, but almost never in today’s human-engineered systems. Achieving antifragility demands new and better ways of specifying, designing and operating the world’s critical systems. More specifically, it demands the management and resolution of three overarching contradictions:

1) The divergence between system complexity of operating environments and the design capability of those tasked with creating such systems
2) The divergence between the levels of reliability required (twelve-9’s are not uncommon requirements) and the ability to identify or test failure modes that are increasingly unknown and unknowable
3) The divergence between the vulnerability of critical systems and the amount of damage that an individual ‘bad actor’ is able to inflict.

The book examines pioneering work to address these challenges and to ensure the timely arrival of antifragile critical systems into a world that currently sees humanity at the edge of a precipice.

Publishing process

Book initiated and editor appointed

Date completed: February 15th 2021

Applications to edit the book are assessed and a suitable editor is selected, at which point the process begins.

Chapter proposals submitted and reviewed

Deadline for chapter proposals: March 15th 2021

Potential authors submit chapter proposals ready for review by the academic editor and our publishing review team.

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Approved chapters written in full and submitted

Deadline for full chapters: May 14th 2021

Once approved by the academic editor and publishing review team, chapters are written and submitted according to pre-agreed parameters

Full chapters peer reviewed

Review results due: August 2nd 2021

Full chapter manuscripts are screened for plagiarism and undergo a Main Editor Peer Review. Results are sent to authors within 30 days of submission, with suggestions for rounds of revisions.

Book compiled, published and promoted

Expected publication date: October 1st 2021

All chapters are copy-checked and typesetted before being published. IntechOpen regularly submits its books to major databases for evaluation and coverage, including the Clarivate Analytics Book Citation Index in the Web of ScienceTM Core Collection. Other discipline-specific databases are also targeted, such as Web of Science's BIOSIS Previews.

About the editor

Darrell Mann

University of Buckingham

For the first 15 years of his career, Darrell held a number of positions at Rolls-Royce and was responsible for the conception, design and validation of a range of high-resilience, critical systems. Over the course of the last 25 years, Darrell has helped deliver over $6B in new value to clients in every industry and across over 50 countries, including serving as the spark behind a dozen successful spin-out companies. He is the author of over 1000 innovation related papers, articles, patents and innovation-related text-books, the latest pair focusing on innovation in start-up enterprises and the soft-side of innovation. Over the years he has held Visiting Professorships at a range of different universities around the world. He is currently a Professor at the University of Buckingham in the UK.

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