Netcentric Crisis Governance, NWO

This NWO-funded project addressed the need for novel governance approaches for crisis and humanitarian responses. Such response efforts are often dominated by top-down, protocol-driven control and command approaches by formal authorities. However, participatory, bottom-up and citizen-led efforts are increasingly prevalent, providing insight into local needs and opportunities, and informal support where authorities run aground. In this project we proposed a smart approach that is able to integrate command and control approaches with bottom-up efforts. By combining field studies with social network analysis, we were able to further develop ‘netcentric’ disaster and emergency management approaches.

Netcentric work is a form of networked organizing, supported (but not determined) by technologies and organizational procedures, focusing on sharing information and informing about decisions both laterally and hierarchically. In this project, we combined an array of data, studies and tools that proposed improved response methods, both form a command and control and a participatory perspective. We brought together private, public and non-profit partners to identify pressing problems and to develop new solutions. We conducted desk studies, field interviews, and convened agenda setting workshops with various academic and non-academic partners, including NGOs (Oxfam-Novib, Cordaid, the Red Cross), Safety Regions and the Institute for Safety. Ultimately, we developed a ‘3C’-model of continuation, coordination and cooperation in disaster and humanitarian response, that is participatory yet controlled, and builds on emerging insights into the challenges of netcentric organizing. The project resulted in many articles, policy reports and spin-off projects.

PI: Kees Boersma, team members: Julie Ferguson, Peter Groenwegen, Scott Poole, Bartel van de Walle, Jeroen Wolbers.