Harnessing the Power of Failure: Using Storytelling and Systems Engineering to Enhance Organizational Learning

John Steven Newman
Consultant, USA

Stephen M. Wander
Consultant, USA

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Product Details
13 Sep 2018
Emerald Publishing Limited
248 pages - 152 x 229mm
Failure informs more generously and reliably than success. Failure is the best indicator of what’s working and what’s not in any complex system or enterprise. All failures will inevitably reveal latent defects and/or failure modes that are invariably buried within the people, processes, materials, design, manufacturing, and management that comprise the complex system. In this new framework from former NASA aerospace professionals, Newman and Wander employ a unique system failure case study (SFCS) paradigm, originally developed to stimulate systems thinking and lessons learning at NASA, that combines storytelling and systems engineering designed to enhance organizational learning. 

The authors employ the SFCS approach to explore a vast array of failure events in multiple sectors of transportation, industry, aerospace, construction, and critical infrastructure. They provide an Integrated Analysis seeking trends, patterns, and universally applicable insights that readers can use to recognize areas of potential vulnerability within their own activities. The authors then identify specific actions within the span of control of enterprise leaders, project managers, process owners and operators which can be implemented to manage risk in high consequence, high risk activities.
Chapter 1. Introduction and Overview 
Chapter 2. Complex System Failure Case Studies
Chapter 3. Recurrent Themes – Integrated Analysis 
Chapter 4. Harnessing the Power . . . . or Not 
Chapter 5. Roadmap to Harnessing the Power 
Chapter 6. Actively Applying the Power of Failure
Bibliography and References
JOHN STEVEN NEWMAN had a distinguished 42-year career with NASA, the FAA, and as an aerospace consultant. His experience base spans the Concorde SST, the Titan IV launch vehicle, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. Dr. Newman served in diverse leadership roles spanning project management, flight test, safety, quality, risk management, environmental management, and accident and failure analysis. 

 STEPHEN M. WANDER has over 45 years of research and development experience in aerospace science and engineering, safety and mission assurance, energy, and environmental management. He has worked with NASA and the Energy Research and Development Administration (now the U.S. Department of Energy) and has served in the United States Air Force.

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