Training for Operational Resilience (TORC) is a training-by-gaming approach based on a board-game setup. The TORC approach was developed between 2014 and 2016 under the Saf€ra (ERA-NET) project, coordinated by SINTEF.
TORC is designed to facilitate organizations and teams that seek to reveal, understand, articulate, demonstrate and/or develop their inherent repertoire of resilient performance in face of unexpected deviations, disturbances and shocks. The training outcomes and experiences are captured in a way that prepares them to be used as raw material of technological, human, organizational and managerial priorities and resources that are needed to transform the experience from the training exercise into effective resilience capabilities under a more formal managerial supervision. This approach enables water utilities to develop their human skills while enjoying the benefits of a gaming approach and utilizing competitiveness between the trainees. The foresaid will contribute to the significance of the training.
The TORC game setup is available for free and comprises a paper-based game board, and generic supporting material regarding intake and preparation for TORC training. The joint results and resources from the Saf€ra project are available at https://www.sintef.no/en/projects/torc-training-for-operational-resilience-capabilit/
A TORC game session is suitable for training groups of 5 to 6 people. A substantial improvement can be achieved for autonomous training of a single trainee group with a common challenge and joint field of practice. However, individual training groups and results can be combined interactively across organizational levels and domains and dispersed in time to facilitate a broader strategic objective of resilience training and development beyond the confines of the individual training group. Moreover, TORC training groups may be composed homogeneously or heterogeneously depending on the overall (resilience) objective and needs of the trainees’ organization or training sponsor.
The simplicity of the TORC approach and gaming material per se is somewhat counterweighed by the need to prepare detailed training material for specific training contexts, e.g., specifications of the operational situations subject to potential disturbance, and the specific disturbances that emulates the “surprise” for trainees. The development and coordination of an overall strategic objective for several individual training activities may also seem overwhelming at first glance. However, if an incremental rather than a “grand design” approach is chosen, the efforts as well as the rewards may instead develop more organically over time.
Hence, a substantial benefit may also be derived from such a process of preparation, e.g., a clearer understanding of operational vulnerabilities as well as of mitigation options that may constitute the grounds for effective policies, strategies and objectives for resilience development, training objectives included.
It is therefore highly beneficial that the trainee organization invests in internal competence building to establish an internal coaching capacity for TORC training. The resources from the Saf€ra project (link above) are primed to facilitate a “train-the-trainer” process, supervised by an external (R&D partner), e.g. from the TORC Consortium.
Digital TORC was first developed in the STOP-IT project as a way to play TORC when it was not possible to meet physically due to the COVID situation. The organized workshops were a success and proved that the concept of the tool was good; not only because it allows to play digitally, but also because it collects training data in a systematic manner. Digital TORC was further developed for a workshop with the European Commission in June 2021, which led to great interest in the platform among the participants. Some of the participants wanted to use the tool to lead discussions at country level.
A second version of the platform, more generic (i.e., not only for the water domain), including the option to choose between a risk mitigation and operational resilience orientation, and enhanced with a game management application, was developed and ready in fall 2021.