By Carol Haig, CPT, and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD

Welcome to the fourth in our series of featured 2011 ISPI conference keynote speakers. Joseph Fiksel, PhD, is Executive Director of the Center for Resilience The at Ohio State University, and Principal and Co-founder of Eco-Nomics LLC. Joseph,, a professor of integrated systems engineering, explores the interrelationships of risk, resilience, and sustainability in complex systems. He collaborates with companies and research organizations to develop new methods and tools, and is currently working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to introduce sustainability practices and systems thinking.

We talked with Joseph about how organizations can simultaneously create value for their shareholders and for society while being protective of environmental resources. He graciously contributes his Triple Value Model to the TrendSpotters Open Toolkit (TOT) to explain.

Genesis of the Triple Value Model
The Triple Value model is a conceptual model that Joseph created to help TrendSpotters readers grasp the concepts of sustainability and resilience as they apply to organizations and to society. As performance improvement specialists, we are accustomed to crafting solutions that are successfully implemented and can be sustained over time. The Triple Value model takes a broader view:

  • “Sustainability is the continued assurance of human well being, economic prosperity, and environmental resource protection.”
  • Resilience is the capacity to survive, adapt, and flourish in the face of unexpected challenges or disruptions.

Sustainability and resilience are closely related from a business perspective. Sustainability takes a long-term view, while resilience provides the real-time ability to cope with the unforeseen. Joseph tells us that savvy companies are designing both sustainability and resilience into their products, services, and supply chains.

The very recent earthquake in Japan is an example of a series of challenges: earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear accident. Extensive disaster recovery plans were in place for each event, but the three were not anticipated as a single occurrence. Now, resilience has become a critical competency as the Japanese government, businesses, and citizens struggle to recover.

Description of the Model
The Triple Value model is similar to our familiar system model. It shows how the business components of an organization can produce value for society and shareholders while protecting environmental resources:

  • Shareholders derive value from both Economic Value Drivers and Intangible Value Drivers, which result from Sustainability Best Practices
  • These same Best Practices also generate Value to Society and provide Environmental Resource Protection
  • This fulfills the expectations of external stakeholders and further enhances Intangible Value Drivers, thus increasing Competitive Advantage

Triple Value Model

How to Use the Triple Value Model
Here at TrendSpotters Central we particularly like the Triple Value model because it captures critical considerations at the Workplace/Organization level. We can use the model at this level to assess an organization’s implementation of sustainability and resilience practices, and their contribution to the creation of shareholder value.

The table below comes from the SD Plannerª, a software product that Joseph helped develop for the Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI). Use it to understand how your performance improvement work can support the principles of sustainable development.

Category Element Definition
Social 1. Employee 


Protecting and preserving the fundamental rights of employees, promoting positive employee treatment, and contributing to employee health, safety, dignity, and satisfaction.
2. Quality of 


Working with public and private institutions to improve educational, cultural, and socio-economic well being in the communities in which the company operates and in society at large.
3. Business 


Supporting the protection of human rights with the company’s sphere of influence, and promoting honesty, integrity and fairness in all aspects of doing business.
Economic 4. Shareholder Value Creation Securing a competitive return on investment, protecting the company’s assets, and enhancing the company’s reputation and brand image through integration of sustainable development thinking into business practices.
5. Economic Development Building capacity for economic development in the communities, regions, and countries in which the company operates or would like to operate.
Environ-mental 6. Environmental Impact Reduction Minimizing and striving to eliminate the adverse environmental impacts associated with operations, products, and services.
7. Natural Resource Protection Promoting the sustainable use of renewable natural resources and conservation and sustainable use of non-renewable natural resources, including ecosystem services.

Principles of Sustainable Development (Source: GEMI SD Plannerª)

Success Story
The Dow Chemical Company, a member of GEMI, is a leader in sustainability practices but a relative newcomer to resilience engineering. Currently in a two-year partnership with Joseph’s Center for Resilience at OSU, Dow’s goals are to better measure and manage their global supply chain resilience to minimize the business impacts of all types of disruptions. This will allow the company to adapt to unexpected changes and design more sustainable supply chains to support their global businesses.

Dow is using the Center for Resilience’s Supply Chain Resilience Assessment and Management (SCRAM) tool to assess their supply chain vulnerabilities, such as resource bottlenecks, and to help them learn what they can do to improve resilience, such as increasing flexibility in procurement processes. In a pilot with one of Dow’s divisions, SCRAM provided valuable information about restructuring the supply chain to maintain profitability and retain sales. Read more about this project at .

Advice to Users
Regardless of the extent to which your organization has embraced resilience, a key factor is the extent to which employees can demonstrate resilience in the face of a range of business challenges. To what extent is the agility of individual and collective response part of the organization’s culture? It is common, for example, that organizations have a disaster recovery plan in place. But it is the ability of employees to execute the plan effectively that enables a resilient response. To be sustainable, a company must also be resilient, as illustrated by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Links to the Performance Technology Landscape
The Triple Value model supports these principles of Performance Technology:

R Focus on Results—The goal is to create value in three areas: Shareholder, Society, Environmental Resources
S Take a System view—The model illustrates a systemic approach to creating sustainability
V Add Value—The goals add value for critical stakeholders
P Establish Partnerships—Collaboration is critical to achieve competitive advantage

Application Exercise
Use the Triple Value model to assess your organization or that of a client for sustainability and resilience. Use the GEMI table above to help determine the components of your assessment. Develop a sustainability and resilience plan for your area of responsibility.

How Can Performance Improvement Specialists Improve Clients’ Results?
Discover which elements of the Triple Value model are in place and how your projects can add support, strength, and awareness to those elements.

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at

Contact Carol Haig at or at Contact Roger Addison at