vrijdag 2 november 2018

Star Stuff

Last week I drove back from Rotterdam to my home town in Switzerland. When I reached the Vosges Mountains in the vicinity of Strasbourg, a dense fog covered the valley as if an ocean of cotton protected the land underneath. The sun appeared in the east as it was dawning. I was thinking: the sun warms us, this blanket of clouds protects us and I could not help a sudden thought from entering my mind that we are probably alone in this universe.
Our lives, work and loves have to be lived on this earth, which provides us all we need to live well, but only if we stay in harmony with her. 92 elements in a multitude of combinations form all life, even yours and mine. Cosmologists confirm that these elements originate from stars in the universe and somehow ended up on our planet, which miraculously happened to be exactly in the right position. We are literally made up from star stuff, or stardust if you will.
The sun that warms us, clothes us and provides us with the necessary means to survive,  is at a safe distance from us at 149.6m km. If she were farther away we would freeze. If she came any closer, we’d be fried. Somehow these stardust atoms agreed on a right mixture of hydrogen and oxygen which formed the water to drink. This water, in combination with many of the 92 other elements, then formed our body, our brain and our blood.
Oxygen was designed because it pleased these atoms to combine two oxygen particles. These two atoms then cooperated in an exact equilibrium with millions of trees to keep up production of O2 and clean our atmosphere, of course in collaboration with everything else in the environment and ourselves, as users and dependents.
This took and is taking time. A continued process of construction and destruction of combined elements provides life.
When I reached Strasbourg, I was wondering if policy makers such as EU Commissioners, their political friends and business relations would also contemplate how to sustain life on earth? I came to the conclusion that they either are not aware of the beauty and incredible creativity of living systems or refuse to see. Their agenda seems to be filled with the pursuit of political and business interest that in fact are harming and jeopardising the life-sustaining particles of our stars and sun.
Life on earth is being sacrificed for the interests of a few. Scientific evidence of harmful industrial production is being ignored. Pollution of seas and soil are condoned. Stephen Hawking stated that humanity will not survive another 1,000 years.
Perhaps I am a pessimist, but I’d like to think that I am a realist. We have to change our transportation, production, sales, marketing, manufacturing from their path dependency into a form which supports life. Perhaps we can all become stargazers so we don’t feel alone anymore.

vrijdag 21 september 2018

The Cassandra Effect

The Cassandra Effect

I just read an interesting article written by Richard A. Clarke and R.P. Eddy called; 'Why visionaries who can accurately predict looming disasters are often ignored’.

I could not help feeling touched by this article as it exactly confirmed what I am experiencing myself. I have been writing this column and my blog for some years now, but despite the truthfulness and predictions based on logic and empirical research, most of what I write seems to be ignored.
The column I write for Hazardous Cargo Bulletin and my publications on LinkedIn are well researched. I trained myself as a cybernetician and a systems scientists, because by combining these scientifically sound insights, I can predict looming disasters. I even developed a measurement or mapping tool to do this. It measures the so-called limitations of reality which I coined; Realimiteit.

The authors wrote: Cassandra was a beautiful princess of Troy cursed by the god Apollo. He gave her the ability to foresee impending doom but the inability to persuade anyone to believe her. Her ability to pierce the barriers of space and time to see the future showed her the fiery fall of her beloved city, but the people of Troy ridiculed and disregarded her. She descended into madness and ultimately became one of the victims of the tragedy she foretold.
Are there Cassandras among us today warning of ticking disasters, whose predictions fall on deaf ears? Is it possible to figure out who these seers are? Can we cut through the false warnings to tune into the correct visions, saving millions of lives and billions of dollars? This question is not about Greek mythology. It is about our ability today, as a nation, as an international community, a company, to detect impending disaster and act in time to avoid it or at least to mitigate the damage.
Buried in billions of pages of blog posts and tweets, academic research, and government reports, Cassandra figuratively calls to us, warning of calamity. 

So, there you have it.  Information, even perhaps of negligible value, still has to be used when decisions are made. Not allowing parts of it, will alter outcome beyond control. (Butterfly Effect). Ulteriorly motivated suppression of information, i.e. predictions based on science, but also by those who are able to foresee things, directly destabilises intended results and make them 'uncontrollable'.  Cassandra knew this as do many philosophers who  ask 'ALL' questions and can reliably synthesise what is going to happen next. We now observe a global elite, politically and financially interdependent that tries to ignore information and hunts down or even stifles or jails Cassandras who do perhaps contradict centrally planned stealth goals. I foresee and you may quote me: This will end in disaster, because I can predict catastrophe by epistemological knowledge using systems science and cybernetics. Same applies for Hazardous Cargo Industries. HSE and Risk can only be prevented by using all information and by listening to Cassandras. Perhaps Cassandra was an early cybernetician? I feel she certainly was a ‘systems thinker’. If you know Cassandra, please listen to her?

maandag 27 augustus 2018

Oil and Gas Terminal Management & Control Training Program


A marine storage terminal is a complex living system. Interaction with all stakeholders is a challenge. Complying to an ever growing number of rules, regulations and guidelines needs a control system which is manageable. We created a new management learning program that focuses on this concept: ‘information reduces uncertainty’ by using systems science. This is a unique approach developed after much research to understand how complex systems behave and generate risk.
Management when focusing on effectivity using technical, economic or operational skills only, does not suffice anymore due to the enormous complexity of responsibilities and uncertainty which is the inability to know everything fully. Uncertainty is a fundamental property of complex systems primarily due to, a large number of elements, high interconnectivity, interdependence, nonlinear interactions and coevolution. Feedback loops during a system’s development make the space of possible future states to the system grow at an exponential rate. Within complex environments, our traditional analytical methods for modelling the future – that depends on probability and statistics – break down. In response you need to invest more in understanding these broader trends. TTT teaches  terminals how to respond and function within a wider range of possible states in order to maintain stability and prosperity.
HSE, knowledge, insight, awareness, skill, control, efficiency, time, to name just a few, are the necessary foundations for tank terminal management and marine operations. It all comes down to be able to control and steer the terminal’s complexity through information feedback.
This highly interactive and practical course will assist bulk liquid marine storage terminals in achieving a competitive advantage by having an effective and well-managed operation. This will ensure your operational processes and workforce perform up to the highest standards and expectations.

Risk Mapping and Sustainable Organisations

We now offer a risk mapping tool that proves that sustainability and balance are in the best interest of both producer and user (client or buyer) and every stakeholder involved.
Our service is to measure and map risks and advise organizations with scientific argumentation to always allow for  ‘relevant' information. It means that stability and long term continuity of a business relation between two or more parties can only be achieved by constantly adjusting course and using updated information. So, if for example information about the danger of a certain chemical product is not disclosed, the organization selling it will become instable and vulnerable as well as the buyer or user. Therefore, it is in both parties mutual benefit to allow that all 'feedback' loops are shared and connected. If a feedback loop (withholding info) is severed on purpose (lying, denial) or from unawareness, a business or political model becomes uncontrollable and unsustainable. This reality applies to everything; politics, business, including the scientific community if it refuses objective and subjective insight. Reality is real and can only flourish within natural boundaries of functionality or as I have coined it ‘Realimiteit; within limits of reality’ . Rules can become guidelines. Only value driven creativity is sustainable. This means that business ethics and corporate social responsibility are just information too which one cannot afford to ignore as they are necessary to steer and maintain a sustainable course.

woensdag 4 juli 2018

Chaos & the Butterfly Effect

Chaos & the Butterfly Effect.
When one observes the entropic, disorderly world around us, we often call it chaotic, coming from the word chaos, which from Greek, actually means emptiness or nothingness of the universe, from which the Gods emerged. When we use entropy, meaning disorder we arrive automatically at the expression to describe our world as being in chaos which we all can watch in the daily news. Author James Gleick, who wrote a mind altering book named Chaos, the third scientific revolution,  described Chaos Theory as a way to understand that our world is not as predictable nor as controllable as mechanistic, empirical, so called linear sciences, determine. In fact, it is the opposite of linearity which is non-linearity which I wanted to mention in this column. Our businesses, industries or organisations are often created as linear systems based on linear cause and effect expectations only. They are built along mathematical and modelling or Newtonian laws of physics. When something happens, we actually believe that when we just write more regulations, our system can be controllable again. But this is a false idea. We do have to realise that non-linearity could be causing unexpected and non-controllable effects. Now, to understand this, wed have to understand that so-called dynamic living systems, such as our organisations, can always be affected by tiny fluctuations which can lead to enormous consequences. Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect? When a butterfly flaps its wings in China, a thunderstorm in America can be the result. When Edward Lorenz, a mathematician by learning and a meteorologist by passion tried to use deterministic computer modelling to predict the weather in a linear fashion, he was surprised that the outcomes of his research looked very different then what his computer had attempted to compute. Predictions according to universal laws of physics gave very different results, namely that tiny errors in calculations led to enormous errors. The experiment proved that any cause, direct or indirect, would interfere with reality. The assumption that small influences could be ignored ended. Systems Theory confirmed that everything is related with everything else.
Now, apply this insight to your organisation or company. When you see a truck driver park in the wrong manner to load a cargo, or you watch an operator doing the wrong thing, or understand that you did not sleep too much or that the food in the cafeteria is inedible or that the heating coils of shore tank number 3 are not working properly, but that you are pumping it out anyway because a customer demands it. You will now have to think about the Butterfly Effect and accept that it is real and that ignoring it could lead to entropy and chaos.  You may now ask: But how can we control it then? Well, you cant. But what you can do is to use Cybernetics, with which you can build maximum resilience and variety into your system. Stephen Hawkins was trying all his life to create a Theory of Everything. He understood why.                             

maandag 11 juni 2018

HSEQ Success comes from Within

HSEQ SUCCESS COMES FROM WITHIN In a new column, Arend van Campen, manager at Tank Terminal Training, examines the current focus on HSEQ and compliance

This article is published in the June 2018 edition of Tank Storage Magazine
When I started my career in the storage and tanker transport world
40 years ago, I worked on a tanker barge in the Netherlands and
sailed the Rhine all the way to Basel, Switzerland.
We were transporting carcinogen cargoes such as benzene, but also
heavy fuel oil or petrol. I remember that in the summer, we worked on
deck in just our shorts and walked on flip-flops. I also recall that our chief
mate used toluene to clean our fuel oil stained coveralls with a broom, laid
out flat on deck.
After they were cleaned, we wore them again without any awareness
or information that the toxic fumes could harm us. As a 16-year-old boy,
I was given a bucket and a paint brush and told to open one of the tank
hatches and fill the bucket with benzene directly from the cargo tank.
After that, the mate ordered me to degrease the bollards with this hazardous
chemical because it worked wonders as a solvent. Once, a barge
captain threw a burning cigarette stub into an open cargo tank filled with
fuel oil during bunkering operations of a sea-going vessel. He laughed and
said to me: ‘Look Arend, nothing can happen, it won’t ignite.’ Those were
the days!
Today, I observe that health, safety and environment (HSE) have
become top priorities but why? Thousands of studies, articles, video’s,
training modules, conferences, safety fairs, or PPE’s have been produced
to protect people, assets and the environment. From virtually non-existence
or non-awareness of HSE we now observe that the tank storage and
tank transport industries are flooded by a myriad of rules and regulations
that are enforced through corporate and governmental compliance.
In 2013, I wrote a book on HSE & CSR called: ‘Safety of Ethics’ in
which I ask a simple question: ‘What is the true intention of HSE?’ I
wrote this conclusion on the back cover: ‘Enforcement of HSE rules when
not based on true and right intentions (to protect life and the environment),
but with the ulterior motivation of saving money by protecting
vested interests, is counterproductive. The true intent of HSE should be
to protect life: human and non-human.’ I tried to answer these three
questions based on several incident case studies:
1. Are HSE and CSR policies first priority? Answer found; no.
2. Are companies prioritising liability limitation by extreme HSE standards?
Answer found; yes.
3. Do companies sometimes mistake doing business legally with doing
business ethically? Answer found; yes
Research shows and confirms that what currently seems to be the way
to control and prevent ‘risks’ in HSE is being enforced from the ‘outside’.
The tendency to focus on compliance through standardisation, rules and
regulations, which are becoming stricter each day, is almost suffocating
normal practical and logical ‘human’ achievement. This is known as
‘impairing functionality’, meaning ‘losing strength’. Immanuel Kant wrote
about this in 1788, which was written long before I started sailing:
‘Rules and regulations would simply result in hypocrisy, and that
the law (re: rules or regulations) would be hated or at least despised.
The law would only be followed for the sake of one’s own advantage.
Legality would be found in the letter of actions, but not in the spirit of
minds, without troubling oneself with motives for doing it.’
What to do with the many books and papers on HSE, guidelines,
regulations, which only seem to increase complexity? Who has read the
thousands of publications, possibly contradicting each other, now filling
a HSE and compliance manager’s office? Who has the time?
To prove the validity of two principles: ‘the right intention and morality
before legality’ we researched and use ‘new’ so called ‘non-linear’ sciences
which are adding value to the limited empirical or reductionist way of scientific
analysis on which our current HSE/CSR regulations are based.
They are listed here:
Noetic science confirms to man that the human mind is a powerful tool
to steer reality, because he is a part of it. The power of intention, choice
and motivation is real. Awareness that this reality exists, would assist
decision makers to make them cautiously. This would mean that business
leaders or corporations should be careful of what their real intentions
are. Ulterior motivation can be understood as an impure intention.
The power of pure intention has to be considered as one of the factors
upon which a sustainable decision should be made. (Dean Radin)
Systems science: confirms Noetic Science – everything is connected,
interrelated and interdependent (the observer effect = consciousness).
Impact on objective reality by subjective (your) thoughts and actions.
We are not ‘outsiders’ looking in. Sustained life or living systems are
emergent properties or in other words the resulting qualitative improvement
of a combined interdependence and cooperation of all information
carriers. (Fritjof Capra, Pier Luigi Luisi, Arend van Campen)
Deontology: The science of duty or obligation. The knowledge what
is right and proper. Current HSE risk management systems are often
based on the opposite of deontology which is consequentialism. HSE is
a moral obligation first. Rules become guidelines.
Relativity theory: Eliminated the Newtonian Illusion of absolutes. (Albert
Quantum mechanics: Eliminated the dream of a controllable measurement
process. Mechanistic or deterministic thought had been playing tricks to the human mind. It gave people the illusion that they were
objective and in control (looking in from the outside), but subjectivity
(the observer effect) is confirmed by quantum mechanics and quantum
consciousness. (John Hagelin, Amit Goswami)
Chaos theory: Eliminates the fantasy of deterministic predictability, but
found that order from chaos is a natural phenomenon. (James Gleick)
Butterfly effect: Had to be included in science to understand chaos
and complexity theory as unpredictability (non-linear effects). (Edward
Theory of cognition: Life is autopoietic, which means that it creates,
maintains and sustains itself through communication (cognition) with
the environment. (Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela)
Cybernetics: Science of effective organisation. Learning and information
enables control and steering of energy and matter of organisations
(viable systems modelling) by the human mind and his actions. (Norbert
Wiener, Stafford Beer)
Law of requisite variety: ‘The variety of a regulator has to match the
variety generated by the system which has to be regulated.’ Variety is
about the capabilities of a system to regulate itself (by as much information,
knowledge, tools, and capabilities as possible).’ Organisations
that apply this law can build an adaptive HSE system, which is based
on maximum information – all of it – and is able to learn and adapt
constantly. Current HSE publications such as ISGOTT or PGS 29 are
non-adaptive HSE systems because they usually are updated after a
certain time has passed and/or new risks are experienced, which may
be years later. An effective HSE system needs to be able to absorb
changes (variety). (Ross Ashby)
When we understand organisations, such as storage terminals and refineries,
as autopoietic (self -maintaining), living, social systems of communication,
we intuitively understand that incidents and accidents can be
prevented by learning; sharing positive – and negative feedback (all information).
HSE risks can be ‘governed’ by information. (Niklas Luhmann)
This goes way beyond compliance and regulations from the outside,
which are usually too late and are often implemented only after something
bad has happened.
Tank Terminal Training works with information feedback loops to
create syntheses (observing and measurement of all interdependent
relationships – all stakeholders) and use the results to draw maps.
These so-called feedback loops maps directly show and predict HSE or
CSR risks before they could become incidents or accidents.
Rather than enforced compliance demanded from the outside in mechanistic
(outdated) fashion, we found scientific proof and created tools to
build enough variety and HSE resilience within organisations by using
information as energy to influence matter (assets, relationships and
people: human factors). No matter how many rules or regulations are
enforced from the outside, they will never produce morality of character
(Immanuel Kant). HSE has to come from within us, by the right intention.
It is an innate feature which allows us to survive.
HSE risks are controllable and governable by Information but need to
be managed within boundaries of functionality. (‘Realimiteit’ or within
limits of reality). This steering or control capacity needs to come from
within us, people, and cannot succeed by regulations alone.
We train organisations to understand the science behind this method
and how to use the tool as an alarm system.
This is done in two phases:
1. Operational observation, understanding and drawing all ‘feedback
2. Building ‘requisite variety’ in a HSE/CSR system.

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.