Catastrophe & Systemic Change

In May 2021, after 18 monhts of writing’ Catastrophe and Systemic Change’ was published by the the London Publishing Partnership (LPP). RRP £18.99. It is available directly from LPP, or from most retailers including Amazon. (in both hardback and kindle versions).

Alongside the book, former BBC journalist Matthew Price (who I met the day of the Grenfell Tower Fire) and I present a six episode pocast series bringing the key themes to life with amazing guests from former astronauts to front line workers to dancers. Details can be found here.

Catastrophe & Systemic Change: The Book

The Grenfell Tower tragedy was the worst residential fire in London since World War II. It killed seventy-two people in the richest borough of one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Like other catastrophic events before it and since, it has the power to bring about lasting change. But will it? The historical evidence is weighed against ‘lessons being learned’ in a meaningful or enduring way.

In an attempt to understand why, despite enormous efforts, we persistently fail to learn from catastrophic events, this book uses the details of the Grenfell fire as a case study to consider two questions.

• Why don’t we learn?
• What would it take to enable real systemic change?

The book explores the myths, the key challenges and the conditions that inhibit learning, and it identifies opportunities to positively disrupt the status quo. It offers an accessible model for systemic change, not as a definitive solution but rather as a framework to evoke reflection, enquiry and proper debate.

Catastrophe and Systemic Change is a must-read book for a wide range of readers including those interested in change management, leadership, policy-making, law, housing, construction and public safety.


Selected Reviews

Prof. Diane Coyle: Enlightment Economics and Editor of Catastrophe and Systemic change

Matthew Hogan, Resilience and Ramen

Alistair McIntosh, Housing Quality Network (HQN)

Gill Kernick starts off by saying “this is the book I wish I’d never had to write”. She loved living in Grenfell Tower from 2011 to 2014. So much so she bought a flat in nearby Trellick Tower to continue to enjoy the high rise life.

On the dreadful night of the fire, she watched her old home burn down and her friends and neighbours lose their lives. I can’t begin to imagine what that does to you.

Gill doesn’t want to see that happen again, hence the book. In her day job Gill is a consultant on safety in high risk industries like oil and gas. So this book is a fusion of the personal and professional, and all the better for it. It really is a labour of love.


Amazon Reviews


Talking to Alistair McIntosh of HQN about the book

Ian Hart, Safety and Health Practitioner

James Moore, IFSEC

Readers views

Reviews and Articles

Prof. Colin Talbot

In conversation with Prof. Colin Talbot. Colin is Emeritus Prof The University of Manchester and a visiting Fellow Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.


Gill Kernick is an internationally experienced strategic consultant specializing in safety, culture and leadership. She lived on the twenty first floor of Grenfell Tower from 2011 to 2014.

Contact Gill for speaking engagements or if you’d like to commission an article.