Crisis Resilience Academy

The Crisis Resilience Academy focuses on learning to better understand, and where possible to augment, the interactions and cooperation between formal authorities, responding organizations and other involved communities during crisis situations. Though the world has always had its share of disturbances and crises, new problems like accelerated urbanization, climate change and globalization create a sense of urgency to adjust the current crisis management systems. The current types of crises are characterized by having multiple causes, by the ambiguity of their effects and different resolutions as well as the shared conviction that solutions should be taken collectively. Formal authorities who are under pressure to ‘restore order’, struggle to govern cooperating reactive networks and local communities in order to manage potential conflicting interests and actions. Traditional top-down command and control solutions therefore often come up short. What is needed, are new perspectives that create partnerships and promote resilience.

Innovative solutions

With action-research into crisis resilience this ISR Academy contributes to professional/civic communities to develop their capacities to prepare for disruptions (risk reduction), to recover from shocks and stress, and to adapt and grow from the disruptive experience. Those are not easy tasks, as the various stakeholders involved in the response might make different sense of the crisis. The challenge is to develop solutions that give directions and embrace collaboration and interaction of planned and unplanned responses at the same time.

In this Academy we don’t see resilience as purely reactive. It is precisely the disruptive events or crises that make new collaborations, contacts, consortia and networks between citizens, communities, private and public organizations possible. Action-research into these dynamic networks contributes to determine the success (and failure) of crisis management by the government, organizations, groups and citizens. Our assumption is that if the social networks are well utilized, society can ultimately deal with crisis in a resilient manner. We study new technologies, methods and organizational forms, such as netcentric operations, big data analytics, early warning systems, forecast-based financing, and the use of social media platforms as promising directions. At the same time, we address the intended and unintended consequences (including for example information overload in relation to decision making, surveillance practices, and forms of inclusion and exclusion) of the solutions that are used to mobilize people and organizations, share information between them, and coordinate and steer their (inter)actions.