woensdag 16 mei 2018

Understanding First Cause Principle

Now that I tested our Realimiteit Theory on various global issues such as environmental distruction, armed conflicts, trade wars, political strife and the current economic paradigm, it scares me. I now observe children in the streets, young pregnant mothers to be, young fathers teaching their children to ride a bicycle in a different way. I am concerned about their futures. Will they be free or will there be an ever increasing amount of imposed control of governments because leaders are trying to escape reality and build systems based on lies, half-truths and suppressing of information? I come to the conclusion that negative interdependent systems, organisations, industries or geopolitical agenda's will inevitably destroy our quality of living and ultimately human and non human life. All signs are pointing that way unless we start to share information and communicate about all subjects. Ulteriorly motivated goals are disturbing creativity, intervening with natural evolution and limiting the natural foundations needed for life.
Applying the theory on all we do, think and undertake from now, would have a positive interdependent effect and give us back control capacity. Like this we can change path-dependent institutions into learning and adaptive ones which can be steered by information. It would mean a complete redesign of harmful to non-harmful organisations (living systems). We are not outside reality; we are a part of it and the solution. The children I mentioned above should be the leaders our world tomorrow. We have to train, teach and educate them by showing them how to sustain themselves, nature and all organisations withing those borders of functionality which I have called within Realimiteit.

woensdag 11 april 2018

Predicting HSE risk and vulnerabilities by the TTT mapping method.

At the Rotterdam Stoc Expo in March 2018 conference speakers introduced several methods to control and prevent HSE and operational risks. One spoke about the latest version of PGS 29 which was updated, because new risks were encountered and had to be included. Impressive charts in Excel showed how health, safety and compliance managers had been able to improve safety standards, but they had to admit that ‘Human Factors’, which cause 80% of incidents, were not easy to influence or change.
During the last years, TTT experimented with testing, not only human factors such as psychological biases or character flaws, but the manner people interact, communicate and share information. We started to learn about the value of information. We mimicked nature and looked at the way all living systems communicate and replicated this method to create our unique measurement and mapping tool. The measurement method was developed in cooperation with the Creazene Institute in Switzerland. It was invented with the purpose to predict and map vulnerabilities in corporations, organisations or institutions which are in fact ‘living systems of communication.’ Using the tool we look at day to day operational risks and HSE management and are now able to predict and therefore prevent incidents.
By a combination of scientific tools, cybernetics and systems sciences, we created this capability which exactly shows potential risks and vulnerabilities of organisations.
This goes way beyond compliance and regulations from the outside, which are usually too late and are implemented only after something bad has happened. It is a well known fact that enforcement of regulations, rules or compliance impair an organization’ functioning.
It is about how an organisation, company, storage terminal or refinery or any other organisation, even political, communicates. We work with information feedback loops to create syntheses (observing and measurement of all interdependent relationships) of operations and management systems and use the results to draw maps. These so-called feedback loops maps directly expose, show and predict risks before they could become incidents or accidents. 
When the maps show communicative connectedness with all stakeholders, the organisation’s operations are considered stable, balanced and manageable. If they do not show communicative connectedness, the organisation is at risk. Potential risks or vulnerabilities will become evident and we train organisations how to eliminate these by teaching about the sciences behind the tool. It works incredibly well. It could even become scary when one looks at such maps and directly understands where and what vulnerabilities are present. It works as an alarm system and enhances operational excellence.

We offer to synthesize your operations and management systems.
That is done in 2 phases:
1. Operational observation 
2. Verification of  ‘stakeholder' communication systems (internal and external)
We offer a comprehensive training program about this capability. The first public courses are planned for August 16-17, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur and September 13-14, 2018 in Zurich. The course is also offered as an in-house training program anywhere in the world.

woensdag 4 april 2018

Stoc Expo Rotterdam 2018

Drinking Water to Fuel our Future Economy.
Next week the Stoc Expo Conference and Exhibition will be organised in Rotterdam, Holland. An impressive number of internationally operating companies, organisations and people related to the Bulk Liquid Storage industry will attend this important yearly event. What I wrote two years ago on the future of bulk liquid storage business, Id like to share with you today. I developed a method to research future trends, predictions on longevity or continuity of industrial sectors and wrote and presented these trends as I do believe we have arrived at a tipping point. Bulk Liquid Storage is a part of- and dependent on- a hydrocarbon based economy consuming non renewable fossil fuels. When I am asking the question; does this industry harm the environment, social cohesion or human and non human life, I cannot say no. Sure, the products we all use made from these fuels and chemicals improve our luxurious lifestyles, but are they sustainable? You can answer this rhetorical question  yourself.
When we cooperate and endeavour to phase out products and industries that are harmful or as we called them negatively interdependent (benefiting some at the cost of others) and replace them with non-harmful ones, we can create a sustainable range of products that are so-called positively interdependent (they benefit everyone). I can therefore see a future energy storage industry storing harvested solar, wind, water, hydrogen or geothermal energy, but also, perhaps even more importantly, to store, ship and distribute (tank farms and pipeline networks) drinking  water. Investment in guaranteed drinking water supply chains will benefit the continuity of daily, global business. Drinking water should not be made into a commodity, because the value of availability of drinking water for every one on this planet would reduce revolts, risks or conflict. Prevention of such costs, would pay amply for needed investments. According the WHO the yield in drinking water supply investments would be between 10 % and 3000%!  I foresee a function for existing oil or chemical storage companies to also become drinking water storage and supply terminals with dedicated pipelines, pumps, jetties and storage tanks for water. Such an initiative will not be coming from politics, but can be organised by the industry itself. When one acts as a systems thinker, all you have to do is use ALL information to build a resilient storage industry which is able to stand the test of time. Perhaps we should change the current definition of sustainability into standing the test of time. What we now can observe, not only in the Storage Industry, but in all industries, political and economic linear systems, is that they often overlook the need of future generations. This modus operandi wont stand the test of time. We would have phase out our harmful business models and adjust them into new, non harmful, sustainable ways. The awareness, knowledge and skills are here. Lets use them in cooperation and lets share the profits equally.

woensdag 28 maart 2018

Methods of Training

I am writing this column in Mombasa, Kenya. I’m here to teach and train two groups of loading masters who work for a national energy distribution company.
Now that major energy companies are divesting and withdrawing from downstream and midstream exposure by selling their physical assets like oil terminals and petrol stations, joint ventures are being formed with investors such as trading firms that refurbish, rebuild and, in some cases, operate them. This needs an assessment of the quality, not only of the hardware, but more importantly of the ‘software’ i.e. the people who work there.
And that is where TankTerminalTraining comes in. We take a look at the competency levels of the people by using the OCIMF guidelines and our global operational experience to assess awareness, knowledge and skills. This can be done in limited time. With that tool in hand, we are able to create ‘made to order’ training programs that focus on possible gaps of knowledge. By doing that in this manner, people can be upgraded in no time to the levels of professionalism required.
I usually work as follows: At the beginning of the course a number of questions are asked in the form of a ‘pre-test’. From the answers I can analyse the current level of competence and then during the ongoing assessment a competency profile can be made of each person. The training program is adjusted accordingly in order to not ‘lose’ the person by too much technical or operational details at once.
Our Loading Master program works approximately the same, but is not a class for beginners. Controlling and managing the ship/shore interface requires experience and advanced awareness, knowledge and skills. Again, systems science and cybernetics are used to train the candidates, because information is what it’s all about. The students are requested firstly to learn how to pre-plan and prepare before any tanker comes alongside. This pre-arrival, pre-berthing and pre-load or discharge protocol is very important. They are required to obtain a maximum amount of information.
According to cybernetical principles there is a law which I explained in an earlier column: ‘information reduces uncertainty’. When you take a closer look, that makes sense. People can be shown how, when, or where to get this information from. But of course, they first need to be able to ask the proper questions, which means that they must be taught all the details and aspects of how to manage the ship/shore interface.
What we use is a reference, or if you will, leverage. We look at what a Chief Officer of a tanker had to learn before he was allowed to be in charge of cargo operations. He or she had to go to maritime college for four years and then needed to build sea-time and understand everything about loading and discharging, which is a complex operation. So, we apply systems theory to teach a new way of thinking to our students in order to realise that information gathering through learning reduces complexity. This new level of competence gives them maximum control and reduces HSE risk.
This is the latest in a series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at www.tankterminaltraining.com. Those interested in responding personally can contact him directly at arendvc@tankterminaltraining.com.

donderdag 7 december 2017


In the first of a new regular column, Arend van Campen of TankTerminalTraining emphasises the importance of teamwork
When a football team wants to win the championship it will spend a lot of time, many hours per week, preparing for the next game. This is what training is. The team needs to form a strong connection, unity and cohesion to operate as a machine; in systems thinking terms, this would be a system that constantly improves itself.
The training programmes use feedback as a method of controlling a system by re-inserting into it the results of past performance, which in fact is called learning. The team then functions as a living system, adjusting to opponents, adapting to circumstance and always learning from its environment in order to stay flexible, resourceful and finally victorious.
TankTerminalTraining (TTT) incorporates a similar line of thinking in its training programmes and this improves the overall results dramatically. In order to understand how systems operate and survive in real life we always ask this question: how would you behave if you were stranded alone on an island?’ This usually starts up a new way of self-reflection and from that starting point TTT focuses on commitment, awareness, knowledge, skill and – ultimately –  wisdom. There is a saying: ‘a wise person comes prepared’ and from that idea onward training towards a winning team proves its value in making people better at what they do.
In management terms it is important to remember that “rules and regulations impair an organisation’s functioning”.  What this means is that unthinking compliance to rules or regulations can jeopardise the individual’s powers of reason, with compliance just becoming a matter of ticking off a checklist. But people do have reason, as well as their self-esteem, their caution and their prudence as natural survival mechanisms. All they have to realise is that they are actually on that island where they have no other means but to train themselves by saying aloud: S.T.O.P!  S: Stop! Where am I? T: Think! Who am I and what can I do? O: Observe! What is available? P: Plan! Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 to survive!
Learning and using these four simple words would prevent many incident or accidents, but people need to be taught first to understand themselves. TTT is not just training and educating people on technical or operational matters, because as you are probably aware 80 per cent of incidents and accidents happen due to human factors. TTT understands that a winning team can only be created by training them physically and mentally.
The metaphor we like to use is to form a tank terminal orchestra where melody and harmony can only be produced by the cooperation of all the musicians. These musicians need their personal motivation to learn how to play their instruments well. TTT has noticed that management does not always emphasise individual responsibility. Sometimes, when TTT asks the question “Are you in control, really in control?” the answer is not convincing; “Don’t ask me. I just work here!”
When this is the case, the operation of the terminal may be vulnerable despite the growing mass of rules, regulations and checklists. People are the terminal! Behaviour and information decide the sustainability of the business model, so have people learn all the time and win!

This is the first in a new series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found at www.tankterminaltraining.com.

Sustainability (Column in HCB Magazine)

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, tweeted recently: ‘Wake up world. We are killing our planet. Climate Action now!’ He meant that our economy, industries and politics are not exactly cooperative in regard to changing pace and curbing climate change in time to avoid entropy and ultimately chaos. The way our banks use algorithms to outpace human trade drives everything else towards maximum financialisation, literally using up future resources for the sake of profits now. This obviously cannot last and, according to recent article in the New York Times, jeopardises humanity’s very survival.
As a researcher on what can be sustainable, durable and can be continued, I developed a method to measure sustainability. This valuable tool allows an organisation able to predict the future and therefore can adjust its course timely. As I am writing this for you, readers of HCB magazine, I’d like to propose that you apply this tool to your company’s products and services and ask yourself if they are negatively or positively interdependent. This means that products or services that would benefit a few at the cost of others (people, environment, etc), should be redesigned, reworked or replaced by those that are positively interdependent, meaning they are useful and sustainable for everyone and everything. This, in my view, would create millions of jobs and would benefit politics, economics, the environment and repair the ecological balance on which we all depend. Path dependency of an organisation means that products and services which may be harmful are not changed voluntarily, but often await laws to prevent them. I agree with António that it is too late for that.
Two weeks ago I spoke to the renowned physicist Dr Fritjof Capra in Innsbruck and he said that organisations that are unwilling to learn and adapt are dead. Biology confirms that an organism that is unable to learn from and interact with its environment can be declared dead because it has stopped metabolising.
Looking for example at companies or politicised organisations we can observe that they are often ‘path dependent’. Inflexible entities that are unable to learn, adapt and adjust to constantly renewing variations created from interaction with people, environment, planet or universe, cannot survive. This is a scientific fact.
How to proceed? Well, there is ample information and science. All such organisations have to do is to start listening by weighing ‘all’ information, even that information which would contradict ulterior motivation towards pre-planned and expected goals. Life in business or in politics can only be continued and remain sustainable by asking ‘where to now? and by learning everything that will be useful to ensure their systems stays afloat.
The Greeks were right over 2000 years ago. They accepted that you can only sail a ship to the other side of the seas if you prepare well and are open to learn from the wind, water and tide. Antonio realises that people are not listening. Perhaps his tweets, and this column, are read by 190 UN member countries, but are they alive or nearing death?
This is the third in a new series of articles by Arend van Campen, founder of TankTerminalTraining. More information on the company’s activities can be found atwww.tankterminaltraining.com. Those interested in following up his invitation can contact him directly at arendvc@tankterminaltraining.com.

woensdag 25 oktober 2017

Information reduces Uncertainty

Last month I talked about teams and feedback. The last two weeks I have been working in south-east Africa teaching and training petroleum people how to build a safety culture. Much has been written on HSE but, as far as I am aware, cybernetics has not yet been applied as a useful tool for governance.
Risk prevention and risk management are methods to control risks, but often do not consider the cybernetical law of requisite variety or philosophical solutions such as a science of ethics. To prevent and control HSE risks, we have to first know ourselves. Who am I? How do I react? How do I communicate? These so-called ‘Human Factors’ are, in my opinion, insufficiently explored and understood. In Africa we spoke about narcissism, arrogance, recklessness and other human character traits and concluded that they are always dependent on the interaction with others. On an island alone, people would not have much use for such traits.
Let me first explain the Law of Requisite Variety, which was proposed by Ross Ashby in 1956. ‘A situation can only be controlled if the variety of the controller matches the variety of the situation to be controlled.’ It is impossible to prepare for every variable so most variety is absorbed through relationships with other systems. Only Variety can absorb Variety.
Every organisation generates tremendous variety and tries to control it in its own way through HSEQ rules, checklists or regulations. Human variety, environmental variety, social variety, regulatory variety change all the time and therefore cannot be controlled. A company is a living system and needs to maintain and develop sufficient internal variety to be able to absorb (counter-balance) ‘outside’ variety. This means training people to have the combined knowledge, experience, expertise, will and influence to do so.
For HSE or risk management, only enough variety in your system can absorb, or control HSE risks originating from the outside and also the internal variety.
What an organisation can do is to insist that ‘all’ information is centralised and made available. Often management does not or cannot hear (or listen to) what is going on, because the company is managed in a top-down manner. But, as the title of this column shows, information is anything that reduces uncertainty and, next to energy and matter, it is the way our universe operates.
The solution therefore to maximise risk prevention or risk management is to make sure that all the parts of the system (the organisation) communicate constantly and are able to adapt to new situations. When outside variety changes, the organisation directly adjusts by learning and adding more counterbalancing knowledge, skills and wisdom.

This is a continuous process and can be managed by cybernetical steering of positive and negative feedback. It becomes a natural tool, not to manage or control HSE risks, but to prevent them,