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TORC – Training for Operational Resilience Capabilities

The TORC project develops an innovative and comprehensive training concept that enable organizations to appreciate, nurture and improve their inherent resilient and adaptive capacities, while being under the imperative of predominantly compliance-oriented safety regulations and standards. Hence, the founding TORC concept is "resilience in the context of compliance", in which "compliance" signifies a dominant preoccupation with the absence of the sources of error and failure and "resilience" signifies a complementary preoccupation with the conditions for presence of adaptive capabilities, drawing on resilience engineering principles.

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The TORC training approach addresses three distinct training arenas; operational training addresses the exploration of the necessary margin of maneuver in the "compliance vs resilience" space, managerial training addresses the assessment of a reasonable and accountable space of maneuver, while integrated training addresses the active reconciliation of margin and space of maneuver. This facilitates a continual process of updating of rules based on the enhanced knowledge about the professional competence and craftsmanship in the organization at hand.

The TORC approach is designed to be applicable in different contexts; in a normal operation context where pre-existing rules and procedures form the expectations of compliance, in an emergency context in which emergency plans form the presumptions of compliance, and in a "managing the unexpected" context in which the applicable set of rules and procedures must be collected and formed instantly and situation-dependently.

The TORC project has chosen gaming as the key foundation for innovative training aiming for the objectives and targets described above. A board game has been developed and piloted. The TORC board game has shown to be an excellent sensitization device that supports and fuels operational, managerial and integrated training activities in terms of revelation of existing adaptive practices, exploration of hypothetical situations with close as well as more distant proximity to known practice, and joint reflections and after-action reviews, comprising both homogeneous and heterogeneous training groups.

The practical experiences from piloting the TORC board game in different industrial contexts have, co-creatively, opened new horizons and prospects of safety-relevant organizational training and knowledge development beyond the traditional confines of safety training and management. The practical experiences also confirm the underlying TORC presumptions on

  1. the pragmatic value and recognition of the "resilience in context of compliance" premise
  2. the urge for management to explicitly mandate a "space" of maneuver that legitimates a

professional and craftsmanship-based adaptive capacity hallmarking resilience. That is, a "shifting competence envelope" for which also the management side is accountable, that otherwise will have to continue to exist tacitly behind a "rational facade" of compliance, without being credited for its achievements, and with the risk of penalty for non-compliance when adaptations fail.

As a side effect, the TORC approach is a powerful tool to visualize risky conditions related to deviation from planned or prescribed operation. 

Available documents

Reports and papers:

Information material:

Key Factors

Project duration

01/07/2014 - 30/06/2016