Will the Real Solution Please Stand Up 2009-01-3106
This technical paper and presentation addresses the need for more refined, pervasive and highly engaged technical leadership in the system safety discipline. Systems engineering disciplines have been led to believe that by following a single industry standard, generic plans, inflexible processes, proven methods and techniques a system with low safety risk will evolve with little rework. The truth is there is no prescriptive one size fits all approach, or a convention that will anticipate and cover all needs. In several domain areas, especially modern military and commercial airborne systems, diverse technology and functionality have been evolving with such high complexity and criticality that collective processes will not work unless seasoned leaders allow creativity and innovation to be part of the safety culture. Leaders must have intuitive engineering and operations judgment to determine how to best allocate effective resources to meet system safety goals and objectives. This means allowing the safety culture to evolve to the point where system safety engineers are empowered to seek performance based and functional solutions and inclusion of the human systems integration domain in error reductions, rather than following outdated hazard based models designed for federated systems before automation, high complexity and safety criticality was controlled by software and collaborative and highly integrated systems.