A classic opinion piece from the Brookings Institution discusses the reaction to the famous Minneapolis bridge collapse. As always, many sought an instant response to inspect other bridges and enact emergency appropriations. The real problem, however, may be systemic.
As a reminder, the tragedy in Minneapolis in 2007 was a combination of business process failures. Experts did not inspect the bridge appropriately, they did not manage the load on the bridge and they did not track the changing weight of the bridge through repeated resurfacing. The result is something everyone remembers:
So what does the think tank have to say? To quote their paper:
Once funds are allocated the states can distribute them among projects as they see fit. Oversight is limited only to ensuring that they comply with federal guidelines and accepted design standards….A state that prioritized spending so none of its bridges were structurally deficient would not be rewarded in any way, nor would a state that allowed its infrastructure to slip further into disrepair be penalized.
The story of this collapse Minnesota is the same one which occurs under less dire circumstances at any organization at any level. An unexpected and dramatic event usually inspires immediate and swift reaction even though the real need is to understand the larger environment that which allowed the event to occur in the first place.
Well-built, regularly inspected bridges can serve a community without incident for generations. Likewise, all stakeholders can benefit from procedures and processes which have been designed using the best available engineering resources, but only if they are maintained and managed for the life of the organization. If your company or non-profit entity is facing a crisis, resolve the issue and then contact business consultants like the team at AccelaWork. We help businesses understand why anomalies happen, and how they should update policy and workflow accordingly.