As you progressed in your early education from the basics like learning your alphabet and simple arithmetic, and onwards with subjects like history, geography, maths and the sciences, you may well have been told to read around your subject. Good teachers know that “the map is not the territory” and that if you really want to get the most out of a subject, reading a variety of different texts and articles on that subject is a step forward in expanding your understanding. It lets you gain insights and make connections that might otherwise have eluded you. At disaster recovery plan level however, there’s a further recommended step.

“Reading around” is good for consolidating your disaster recovery plan knowledge, but in today’s world of organisations it may simply not be sufficient. “Thinking around” is the next stage and the one that moves from the passivity of absorbing information to the activity of applying it. That in itself makes it a more complex undertaking, and more difficult to integrate into any course or training method. However, just like research and development departments in organisations need to explore, test and filter out the star ideas from the dogs, so do DR/BC practitioners.

Disaster recovery plan courses that set up practical application of knowledge within the “safety barriers” of expert instructors are therefore the ones that can do most to help participants improve DR back in their own enterprises. Beyond the cookbook approach of science classes, oriented towards a specific, pre-planned result, the approach is in fact one where no particular result is guaranteed or expected. The value for course attendees is in learning how to set about looking for the results that are right for them, not in trying to attain a result declared arbitrarily to be right by a course designer – in other words, in learning how to think around in DR, rather than being told what to think.