Surprise is inevitable: How do we train and prepare to make our critical infrastructure more resilient?

David L. Alderson, Rudolph P. Darken, Daniel A. Eisenberg, Thomas P. Seager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


While current practices for infrastructure currently follow principles of reliability and risk, these are—by necessity—based on knowledge of past events. They are not suited to adapt infrastructure to dramatic change and/or future surprises. In this paper, we propose a research agenda for the development of novel training exercises that complement current approaches by drawing upon a theory of resilience that emphasizes adaptive response to surprise. We argue that experience with surprise in ‘realistic, yet fictitious’ infrastructure systems simulations can improve the capacity of infrastructure managers to sense, anticipate, adapt to, and learn from surprise in virtual crises gaming scenarios when trainees successfully integrate their experiences from simpler to more complex stages of expertise. Virtual platforms that are shareable and extensible to classroom and operational settings might speed this process of integration of experience, and improve success rates among infrastructure managers confronted with surprise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102800
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Critical infrastructure
  • Exercises
  • Modeling
  • Resilience
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Surprise is inevitable: How do we train and prepare to make our critical infrastructure more resilient?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this