Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

The Hyatt Regency Walkway

My mind turned to the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse this morning. I studied it in college as part of an engineering ethics unit, along with the Challenger disaster. Part of our reading at the time included a defense by Jack D. Gillum of the decisions his firm made. While the parties involved were different, it’s interesting how “a lack of communication” is where the blame was placed, as in the Challenger disaster. It almost sounds like no-fault car insurance, which might be gaining popularity among Toyota owners.

Given that the interfaces between two different groups are where communication problems are notorious, what structures or steps can be added to make communicating easier? I think part of the answer comes from having both sides recognize what the intrinsic strengths and weaknesses of all parties concerned are. I suspect many communication and decision-making fissures could be avoided if awareness of these states were globally available.

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