Hybridize Your Processes

Written By: Lance Piatt

I guess the question at hand is do we really understand our systems and what they are truly capable of?  And with all the talk about catastrophic failures… what exactly is a catastrophic failure anyway?  Under manufacturer’s specs,  it isn’t the rope (good ropes don’t snap).  When was the last time you saw a knot explode?  The hardware doesn’t break.  So is it human error?  And while a catastrophic event is horrific, something tells me that upscaling our “design thinking” is a better approach than overbuilding.

Hybridization is about “breakthrough design(In chemistryhybridisation (or hybridization) is the concept of mixing atomic orbitals into new hybrid orbitals (with different energies, shapes, etc., than the component atomic orbitals) suitable for the pairing of electrons to form chemical bonds in valence bond theory).  While the concept and term is most notably attributed to science, the real notation is about collaborative efforts that lead to innovation and solving real world problems.  See, hybridization and design thinking are interlocked; Reorganizing and rethinking systems and teams within the existing structure.  The goal is to build uniquely different, a system whose efficiency and efficacy is multiplied, and uses less of everything. For this to work, we have 3 aspects of design thinking…

  • Inspiration – mentally and emotionally stimulating
  • Ideation – the formation of ideas or concepts
  • Implementation – the process of putting a decision or plan into effect

Example… Is a two person load in rescue a real world problem?  No… It can be solved through building single person load systems.  What?  We can do that?  Of course we can… and should!  It changes everything. The crazy thing with this thought is that climbers, rope access technicians, arborist, slackliners, entertainment riggers ect… all use single person loads.  Can the fire service do the same?  Of course.  However, I will wholeheartedly admit, this is not a stone easily moved.  The best, quickest and surest way to move any “stone” is to learn applied concepts from other fields.  No one who is serious about this stuff ever wants to take shortcuts right?  In music, jazz is a prime example of “fusing” and creativity within a matrix.  They even change the rules!

Our hero (Chad) is on a journey.  He wants to make a difference. Everything he reads, the people he talks with and the classes he attends all have the same look, feel and end result.  The classes are good, but he is not sure he can expand past where he is.  The people he sees stepping outside the norm get ridiculed; a danger to the system.  He struggles inside… a clash between what he sees vs what he hopes for.  As a young up and comer, he knows philosophically, “we should be doing better” and this “ought not” be so complicated.  He is looking for someone to help him.

In comes his mentor (Luke) and he knows exactly what Chad is thinking and feeling.  Luke has been around the rigging world for a long time.  He isn’t perfect.  He has made his fair share of mistakes, but his mistakes have an interesting twist to them.  They seem toknot tying expand his vision, his understanding and his depth of field.  It is as if his mistakes actually catapult him into another sphere of understanding and his influence along with it.  Chad notices this and asks Luke why… “how is it your mistakes don’t seem to have the “costs” or pain points associated with normal mistakes?  Luke’s answer was simple and to the point.  And with a sobering stare he says… “I learn a great deal from others.  What they do.  How they do things.  What their mistakes have been and the solutions they used to move past their own mistakes.  I am a student of others and their own game”.

Luke suggests some advice to Chad…

  1. Think about what you need and then look around to see what others are doing about the same type of need. Always look outside of your own sphere as well as your own.
  2. Ask yourself…”will it make my life easier and the lives of others”?
  3. Lastly… “what do I need to do to make this change happen”?

I (Lance) want to encourage everyone to always seek solutions to challenges and problems from outside of what seems logical or normal.  We have an amazing world to explore and within our own world of rigging and rescue… solutions could come from mountains, oceans, caves, structures, and even trees.  It has been shown that the whole 6 degrees of separation is more like 4 now. Your “call to action” as it were, is to first find those low hanging gems and learn all you can from them.  Don’t get caught up with the differences, but glean the similarities and the strengths.  Cross pollination or hybridization is the best way to learn anything and most certainly, anything new.  With lower barriers of entry, other’s thoughts and strengths become yours… You will literally see things with more clarity and substance.  I can promise you this… being a student of another’s game as well as your own is the most efficient and cost effective way to multiply your own efforts.

Yes… 🙂  Rigging Lab Academy is a great place to start.


Peace on your days…


CEO and Founder of Rigging Lab Academy


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