Thursday, October 23, 2014


Risk Management 
Post 106   by Gautam Shah ➔

A great deal is expected from every human endeavour. Entities, events or organizations are set up with expense of resources, effort and time. Planning and Operative care, are imperative for their en-action. Yet these human endeavours fail to perform for the conceived functions or the functions for which the entities were conceived may not remain relevant. In the first case the endeavour fails to perform for a set of functions. The fault may be that it was not adequately conceived or the functions were not exactly defined. In the second case the problems arise, because it is not feasible to conceive entities that can function at all times and in all conditions. Human endeavours fail to take off, perform adequately, or satisfy its stack-holders.

Risk is any set of such conditions that adversely affect an entity, event or an organization. One can avoid, manage or accommodate, risks to a limited extent, but beyond these, the effects of risks have to be compensated, replaced or transformed in such a way, that there is a sense of equilibrium. One may not be able to re-establish the lost entity, re-enact the missed event or resurrect the dead organization, but one may, indemnify against such losses.

Risks are broadly categorized as Natural or Circumstantial and Man-made or Intentional.

Natural or Circumstantial failures originate from outside the system due to the context or changes in the environment. This could be perceived as an advantage in that such systems can be isolated with a barrier. Some interactive systems have to be participating with the environment to flourish, and so cannot be isolated. Circumstantial failures are accidental, i.e. unpredictable in scale (size) and time of occurrence. The circumstances, within which an endeavour takes place is continuously variable and unpredictable, so is perceived as a natural failure.

Man-made failures are defined as intentional because of the Human involvement with them. These occur because the conception, observance or operations of the system are faulty. These can set right by foresight, flexibility of approach (such as adopting ‘open system or open-ended architecture’), provisions of additional capacities, and by including escape or safety procedures.

Some of the man-made failures occur, because: 1. System is not designed or adequately equipped (technically) to serve the nominally expected functions. 2. System is required to serve functions for which it is not designed and there no processes to regulate the overuse, misuse or under or nonuse. 3. System has a rigid design, structure or setup regimen which prevents corrections or improvisations. 4. System is so liberal that a coordinated emergency action plan can be enforced.

Low turn out of spectators

When endeavours fail to perform then a fresh effort is required. Risk management deals with such eventualities. It determines the chances of an occurrence, de-intensify the affectations, and create means to mitigate the losses. 

Risk management is a process of

  • Identifying the risks
  • Assessing (scale of affectation)
  • Prioritizing (sequencing of risks in terms of their severity of consequences and chances of occurrence)
  • Mitigating the risks (by way of monitoring and controlling the probability and by way of absorption and diversion of consequences).

Risk Management has been recognised as a generic standard under series ISO 31000. Risk management processes are applied to project management, security, engineering, industrial processes, financial portfolios, actuarial assessments, and public health and safety.

‘Risk is any factor that affects an activity or object that denotes a likely negative impact from some present process or future event’. Contrary to this some believe risks often have an advantage, like a lottery that may provide unusually large gain for a very small loss. Risk if negative is valued against the scale of loss and frequency of occurrence.

Purchasing a lottery ticket is a risky investment with a high chance of no return and a small chance of a very high return. But since the amount lost is small and the gain very large, lots of people go for it. In contrast investing money in a company involves a large investment, so we take care to find out the identity of the company. A government bond though provides a small interest is considered less risky. In finance the greater the risk, higher is the potential return.

Risks in personal health are reduced by preventive actions, like avoiding illness causing situations. Secondary prevention can come by early diagnosis and perhaps preventive regimen and treatment. Third level of action is directed in terminating negative effects of an already established disease by restoring function and reducing disease-related complications.


       Determinable Risks are predictable. Certain factors trigger such risks, so observance and reportage mechanisms for such conditions can help avoid it.

       Probable Risks are predictable but within limits of probability, but the trigger factors are not easily definable. Historical experiences show us what the scale of affectation and pattern of occurrence will be. Affectation can be spatially isolated and temporally limited, by design of the joints, connections, and by spacing and distancing. The occurrence schedules may be matched with a timed action or even planned dormancy. Additional capacities (factor of safety, safe margins), are provided for such contingencies.

       Indeterminable Risks have very low probability, or the twin aspects such as scale of affectation and pattern of occurrence are indeterminable. The damage and suffering cannot be predicted. Its mitigation is left to the concerned age and society.

● Follow up to this article will show How Risks are managed 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HUMAN BEHAVIOUR -Design Considerations

HUMAN BEHAVIOUR -Design Considerations
Post 105   by Gautam Shah ➔

Designers understand human behaviour in terms of Space and its Environment, The human behaviour is reflected through the human Body and the interpersonal relationships.

The human behaviour takes many forms. It is seen as conspicuous actions of body-limb movements or postures, discreet expressions of body related gestures, and also as overt expressions in modes like speaking, writings, painting, etc. Some forms of human behaviour are less obvious because they are only occasional and occur in small measures. Other forms of human behaviour represented in communications are often not easily discerned. Human behaviour causing biological changes may take generations to be comprehensible.

Human behaviour is also conveyed through art, and spoken or written language. The fear, pain, love, affection, joy, wonderment, admiration, hatred, etc., are intense emotions, that are expressed through art or language. Perhaps physiological tools (body-limb movements and other body language expressions) are too slow, inadequate for the purpose, useless for the need, or unavailable (due to physical disability, age, sex limitations, etc.). Expression on media is much longer lasting, and so unlikely to be misinterpreted.

Human behaviour originates from the genetic make up and is further conditioned by the experiences. Experiences enrich one with productive efficiency. Appropriate behaviour allows a being to survive and proliferate, whereas inappropriate behaviour gradually makes a being extinct.

Human behaviour is evident in responses related to Four elements: Body, Environment, Space and the Occupants. A response is defined as: reflex action-reaction, rebound, consequence, outcome or acknowledgement. Responses, whether automatic or voluntary, instinctive or intentional, and conscious or subconscious, show up in some form of change: the behaviour.


Behavioural responses can be broadly categorized as:

1 BODY related responses

Responses of the body can be categorised as:

  • Responses of the Functional systems such as a metabolism, neural transmission, etc.,
  • Responses resulting from Cognitive capacities that determine what we perceive and so respond.
  • Responses due to the ‘Reach’ abilities of the limbs, these determine what we can change in the immediate environment. Such responses are personal or individual, but because of the common genetic make-up there are some common features.

Body related responses are in the form of gestures and postures and how one positions the body. Gestures are micro responses that may not be apparent unless very keenly observed. Gestures are very economic and effective means of expression. Gestures also constitute supplementary vocabulary for communication. Postures are macro responses of the body. These postures are chiefly tasks related, so are intentional. Though some of the involuntary reflexes resulting from the body systems such as mental processes, metabolism, equilibrium maintenance, body temperature and fluid controls, etc. are both gestures and postures (macro and micro). Postures often need the supplement like amenities and facilities for sustenance. Productive efficiency is the key factor for posturing, and for that reason we accomplish diverse tasks within a posture or conduct same tasks in different postures.

Positioning is used to place and orient appropriately own-self in a space. It is often in anticipation of an event to develop, so the response seems impulsive, but is calculative. There is an acknowledgement what that event would mean personally. It is also defensive, offensive, declarative or confirming.

Positioning is micro, when body is re-postured, reoriented, or the ‘reach’ in space is modified. However, at Macro level positioning, one becomes dynamic and shifts the location. Repositioning is also achieved by changing the means of expression and communication. Positioning makes use of space, environmental and other occupants to establish paradigm behaviour. The positioning behaviour is for occupation, possession, survival and proliferation.


2 ENVIRONMENT associated responses

Environment is the supportive system that moulds our perception and commands the responses. Environment and cognition are coincident, and one cannot be realized without the other. We handle the environment by interpretation, evaluation, operation, and response. Environment is not realized as one incident effect, but as it poses accumulated and ever evolving repertory of responses. Environmental responses form a process of becoming aware of a space. Environment formats a life style that passes on from one generation to another as ethnicity or custom. Environment also includes real presence of other occupants.

The environment is the surroundings or condition in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates, and experience objects. Some aspects of environment have predictable periodicity (light, seasons, etc.) whereas other are unpredictable (wind, rain, etc.). Environment is ever evolving and the occupant or the users respond with different levels or receptivity.

The environment is conditioned at many different levels. The first conditioning of the environment is at a local level. Human body adopts itself to the environment. Then clothing provides the cover. The natural entities like trees, caves, valleys, gorges, etc. also provide the containment. Built-spaces and the installed facilities regulate the environment. At another level beliefs, feelings and experiences help overcome the apprehensions, and thereby master the environment.


3 SPACE responses

Space is the setting where environment and cognition actualize concurrently. Environment is continually variable, and so a space experience is ever expounding. Space experience is one major factor that governs the nature of cognition. As cognition is individual, it endows environment subjective significance. The space has a unique relevance to the occupant. It continues to reveal differently in spite of its scale or spatial features remaining static. Some environmental conditions and spatial features often occur in concert. And so we expect the presence of one to trigger the other. Space is the setting where human behaviour responses show both consistency and change. The space is the setting or realm of conditions in which a particular activity is carried on.

Environment permeates into a space depending on the spatial characteristics, such as the size, shape, sequencing, quality of barriers, etc. The changes in environment affect the space as much as its inhabitants. An individual perceives the environment and the characteristics of the space, collectively, as a singular happening. This perception is further coloured by beliefs, metaphors, and group behaviour dynamics. The accommodation of environmental changes makes the process of inhabitation tougher, but always equips one with better skills and greater efficiencies.


4 OCCUPANTS reactions

Occupants of a space are real, and sometimes through the metaphoric presence. Behaviour responses occur due to both types of occupants. In this sense co-occupants are part of the environment with whom we react and are affected by their ‘presence’. A social acquaintanceship with anyone is not a necessary condition to respond. Behaviour responses occur due to the biological needs and also for cultural reasons or social norms. Our responses with other beings and social interactions regulate what we share and empathise. Responses with other occupants depend on the awareness about sex, age, stature, need, social position, degree of familiarity, distance and recognition (through cognition). Metaphoric presence of others is reinforced primally by the historical context (what we have been told or learnt) and associations. Metaphoric presence is also enhanced by space and objects, as well as by other occupants confirmative or even rejective (empathetic, sympathetic or apathetic) behaviour.



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