Biography

Dr. Joseph Fiksel is Executive Director of the Center for Resilience at The Ohio State University, and a faculty member in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. He is a recognized authority on sustainability and resilience, with over 25 years of research and consulting experience for government, industry, and international consortia. As Special Assistant for Sustainability at the U.S. EPA, he is helping to incorporate systems thinking into their research programs. Previously, he was Director of Decision & Risk Management at Arthur D. Little and Vice President for Life Cycle Management at Battelle. He holds a bachelor’s degree from M.I.T., a doctorate in Operations Research from Stanford University, and an advanced degree from La Sorbonne in Paris.

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Guest Editor for the Resilience Issue While it is clear that the pace and pattern of global economic growth is unsustainable, we are slow in responding to this challenge. Sustainability advocates offer visions of a utopian future in which human needs are fulfilled and resource consumption is balanced with planetary capacity. But, in a …

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We live in a culture that values order and predictability. As a result, most of our artifacts and institutions are fragile—easily damaged by random forces. What if an object were antifragile, and actually thrived on chaos? This is the fascinating premise of the latest book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, best-selling author of The Black Swan, […]

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by Joseph Fiksel The annual Global Risks Report published by the World Economic Forum has changed significantly over the years. It seems that our understanding of global risks keeps evolving—they are complex, highly interdependent, and difficult to quantify. Since Swiss Re is involved in producing this report, can you explain more about these …

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Whenever a disaster strikes, such as the 2011 Fukushima meltdown or the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, our instinctive response is to overcome the shock, assist the victims, and return to normal as quickly as possible. But perhaps returning to normal is the wrong strategy. Perhaps, instead, we should try to understand the changing conditions …

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