robert koch

Robert Koch

Robert helps organisations manage uncertainty, change, and surprise – using practice grounded in resilience thinking, risk management, and complexity theory.

Robert is an engineer, artist, writer, researcher, risk and resilience practitioner, and a senior manager in the energy sector. His practice ranges from coordinating real-time responses to major incidents, to applying resilience and complexity thinking in shaping long-term futures. He has made contributions to the energy transition and has coordinated national responses to several major power system disaster incidents. Robert has also led a variety of international working groups and is the recipient of several national and international awards. He has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. In 2015 he was listed by ESI Magazine as one of the “most influential figures in African power.

As an artist and musician, he releases work under the title The Red Propeller Expedition Society. Examples of his work

Tankwa Art Residency:

The Red Propeller Expedition Society


I am curious about how the lens of complexity helps us act more intentionally in the places of uncertainty that we find ourselves in, in (almost) anything we do – from art, science, engineering, and innovation … to leadership, strategy, risk management, and how we respond in crisis.

I care deeply how we relate as human beings in shaping the world we live in; how we collectively nurture the health of the entangled human, ecological, technical, and economic systems that affect it.

Particularly when we “don’t know”.

Much of our education has touted knowledge as the antidote for uncertainty. In a sense we are all on a journey to unlearn some of what this has closed off to us – including the ability to be in the messy and fragmented places that are our real lives, and to “know” we can go forward with a little less anxiety and a little more compassion for ourselves and others.

“Leave the door open for the unknown;
to acknowledge the unknown
is a part of knowledge”

(Rebecca Solnit)

For this reason I see communal, practice-based learning as a way of life – and why it is so intriguing to be a part of this this initiative. We are here not to “impart knowledge” but to learn to explore the the notion of being in uncertainty together.

robert’s contributions