Readying While Recovering: Atlantic Hurricane Season 2018
The unprecedented hurricane response by state, local, and Federal agencies in 2017 is only months in the rearview mirror. Ready or not, June 1st marked the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season.
Disaster recovery often continues as the next threat approaches. How can agencies best prepare for the next disaster when communities are still reeling with the aftereffects of a previous event? To achieve simultaneous preparedness and recovery, solutions must be citizen-focused and flexible while including innovative pathways to mitigation.
The key is to not only focus on recovering from a disaster but also preparing for the next one. This requires simultaneously balancing the need to return life to normal quickly with the imperative to rebuild better, smarter, and more resilient. Recovering quickly without sacrificing resilience in the face of an approaching hurricane season (or other potential disasters) requires prior planning: communities that have recovery and mitigation plans developed and pre-approved by FEMA before disaster strikes can recover faster, more easily implement community-focused solutions, and jump-start preparedness.
How can the Federal Government encourage this kind of pre-planning for disaster recovery and mitigation when authoring proposals can be time-consuming and expensive? FEMA has already put strategies in place to encourage pre-planning and include mitigation projects in recovery funds. Innovation is not always intuitive, but it is required to prevent repetitive disaster losses: in 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded over $1 billion to states, cities, and counties, encouraging applicants to get creative through the National Disaster Resiliency Competition.
Can agency strategies encourage innovation by grant applicants by themselves getting creative and thinking outside the box? At Arc Aspicio, we think so. We bring leading edge ideas from academia, private, and public sectors together with expertise in Design Thinking at the Strategy Innovation Lab (SILab). The SILab allows Arc Aspicio to look ahead and anticipate future challenges and opportunities. Stakeholder analysis using personas to explore the perspectives of different key stakeholders, data mining for the less obvious lessons learned, and a focus on mission-critical functions are all components of envisioning the needs of the future disaster victims and survivors.
For the agencies that partner with communities to face down every fire, hurricane, and tornado season, along with unpredictable threats, preparedness and recovery are an overlapping, never-ending cycle. With flexible, community-centric grant strategies, they have already recognized this cyclic nature. Identifying processes where innovation can be injected can only improve the nation’s resilience further.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. Focused on innovation, Arc Aspicio provides services in strategy, design, human capital, operations, analytics and visualization, technology, and information sharing. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude, provides leadership opportunities, and explores the future. Our teams use a human-centered approach to working with clients and are flexible and responsive within dynamic Government client environments that often have new priorities and evolving missions. We thrive on these situations and promote continuous improvement and new ideas. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.