The embedded social dimension can contribute great strength, or be the weakest link to the resilience of complex adaptive systems. Formative resilience assessments can be used to stimulate the development of social resilience in both social-ecological and socio-technical systems. Formative assessments consist of a systematic and ongoing process for conducting critical conversations among key actors. Together they seek and interpret evidence to make sense of current levels of resilience, garner agreement on where to improve attainment of resilience outcomes and decide on collective social action towards agreed upon resilience goals. Such an ongoing process promotes resilience thinking and adaptively stimulates the emergence of resilience in the system.