Weak Link Analysis – What is it?

I should say a little more about the overall approach that defines making permaculture stronger as a project. I am calling it a weak-link analysis of permaculture in permaculture’s design system sense. It amounts to one way of approaching the way we design the way we practice permaculture design. It is very simple:

  1. Coordinate the identification of weak links in the sense of factors limiting or constraining permaculture as a design system. This is something like a scanning or auditing process.
  2. Assess, coordinate and if necessary initiate efforts to address those weak links

The inevitable result of following these two steps repeatedly is that permaculture gets stronger. I am becoming concerned with the amount of effort in permaculture that goes towards sharing what is already strong. This work is important, but when it takes up the entire stage, then the equally if not more important task of tuning into and strengthening what is not already strong (or was once strong but has become weak) gets neglected.

It is like a bodybuilder who in proudly building and sharing their magnificent biceps, abs, and calves neglects other muscles that are in very poor shape. The result is a funny looking figure that when push comes to shove, and they attempt useful work, they not only have serious deficiencies, they are very likely to injure themselves, and come out of the whole situation with a bruised body and a bruised ego. I fear that if we are honest with ourselves, permaculture in its design system sense is a currently funny looking figure. I get the feeling I’m not alone.

Weak-link analysis is a kind of quiet background capacity building effort that ultimately gives the set proclaiming permaculture’s strengths (myself included) more to share.

I think permaculture design has more than enough good stuff going on to maintain morale sufficiently for the odd excursion into the stuff that isn’t so good (where the whole point is trying to then make it good!).

1 Comment

  1. Dan,
    It is so bizarre to end up here where it began with regards this ‘project’ and see you referencing bodybuilding. I have been reading about permaculture whether it be under that label or not and watching videos on youtube on homesteading, composting, farming, organic farming etc etc etc for around a year and about a fortnight ago almost simultaneously stumble across your involvement in VEG and Wicking Beds from completely different angles. This past week I have been driving to and from work listening to your podcasts and thinking about you examination of permaculture and smiling at the huge number of parallels there are with sport science which like permaculture is quite a young ‘science’.
    Listening to your discussions made me think about all the new practitioners that come into the ‘science’ getting exposed to all these new processes, procedures, tools and wanting to use and experiment with them all. Wanting to race forward and put them ALL into practice immediately….and I know this because it is EXACTLY what I did when I started 🙂
    The thing is the more time that passes the fewer tools, the more basic and stripped back the process becomes. If you compared programs that I write for full time professional athletes operating at the highest level and compared them to the programs that newly qualified personal trainers write for beginner trainees I am sure that most people would think them reversed.
    I look forward to talking to you in the future as I see so many intersections and similarities in the relationships between permaculture and sports science and permaculture designers and coaches.

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