Today I would like to provide an overview of the Strategic Foresight Initiative (SFI) by discussing the following:Share what SFI is; Explain how we got where we are today; Share what we’ve learned to date; and Answer your questions and facilitate an open discussion at the end of the presentation as time permits
To begin learning more about driving forces of change that could shape our future, we launched the Strategic Foresight Initiative in 2010.This initiative is attempting to: Help us understand who or what will shape the future over the next 20 years so that the EM community can get ahead of those changes and plan accordingly for them Develop a shared sense of direction and for the EM community to be prepared for what comes our way Collectively prepare for the future Plan for and take action to meet evolving needsThere are a number of benefits to our emergency management community as a result of SFI: Avoid strategic surprises Promotes information sharing across disciplines and organizations Explores latest EM research Understand what changes could affect emergency management More comprehensive information to make more proactive decisions Increased communication among interconnected EM stakeholders Opportunity for more effective EM resource allocation Opportunity for strategy alignment and operational collaboration across organizations Space for dialogue and discovery about future issues, threats, implications, trends, and solutions Access to existing communities of practice and subject matter experts Active community discussing strategy and operations Opportunity for integrated planning for the future environmentWe have been focusing on what could shape the future and what impacts they might present. Shifting US demographics and technological innovation will challenge how we plan and communicate Spending constraints will affect what we can do and whom we need to partner with More frequent and intense storms will present operational challenges Aging infrastructure will impact our ability to respond and recover These changes will significantly alter how our profession operates in the future and will require us to think more creatively and collaborativelySystemic Observations: The good news is that some of what we’ve discussed to date actually validates current discussions going on throughout the emergency management community, so we’re on the right track. However, we have also learned that we need to take a deeper dive into these topics because they will most certainly have more significance in the future.
I want to share a bit about how we got where we are today. The SFI process has been an inclusive experience - all those with equities in emergency and disaster management have been a part of the initiative We use the term “emergency management community” to define the broad-based community of practice engaged in emergency and disaster management This community, as SFI defines it, involves: Federal, state, local, and tribal emergency managers (i.e. planners, practitioners, etc.) First responders at all gov’t levels Our private sector and non-profit partners who play a critical role in response and recovery Other federal agencies that have responsibilities under the emergency support functions And academics conducting research in areas important to emergency and disaster management To date we have engaged over 800 emergency management community stakeholders in the processWe have researched specific “drivers of change” that will shape the future, and we have invited EM community members to help us in that researchWe have held conference calls and webinars on the conducted research We have both hosted and attended workshops and conferences to share the research, seek feedback on our findings, and expand the community And we have engaged online with folks to get their thoughts on what we’ve learned and how to move it forward
To implement SFI, we have focused on 3 phases, as outlined in this graphic – Environmental Scanning, Scenario Planning, and Advancing and Sustaining Foresight In the environmental scanning phase we drove toward defining and researching who or what would shape the future and engaging a broad audience to help understand these topics. We used the outputs from the research and dialogue to expand our thinking and understanding of emerging threats and opportunities, and to develop scenarios that would lead us to what our community would need to successfully operate in the future. We are now transitioning from Scenario Planning into the Advancing and Sustaining Foresight as we work to expand and share our research, help align strategies with the SFI findings and further engage our stakeholders with the SFI process.
Throughout the process, SFI has explored forces of change (i.e. drivers), plausible future operating conditions, challenges, and opportunities, and was designed to identify what the emergency management community would need to be successful regardless of what the future holds. As a result of the research and engagement we have conducted, we have made some broad observations and have begun understanding what our future landscape will present us. These observations, or insights, are a set of recurring themes that offer a sense of conditions we should consider as we build actions to meet our future needs. They are not intended as predictions of how the future will unfold; rather, they are intended to serve as a lens through which to view our future landscape and the actions we as a community will need to take to be successful. There is a full list of these insights in the report; this is a list of selected insights: The emergency management community will face increasing complexity and decreasing predictability in our operating environment, in the form of more incidents, new and unfamiliar threats, more information to analyze (but with less time to process), new players and participants, sophisticated technologies, and exceedingly high public expectations. Pressure to perform in this shifting landscape will be extraordinary. Future resource constraints are seemingly unavoidable.Whether induced by an increased need for services, a reduced capability or capacity to deliver services, or both, we will be faced with increasingly limited resources. This is an enormous challenge. Individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, and the private sector will likely play an increasingly active role in meeting emergency management needs. The public’s ability and desire to self-organize will grow as the role of the individual, access to information, and technology evolve. Concurrently, the government will face fiscal pressures and other resource constraints. This confluence will challenge traditional emergency and disaster management roles. Trust – between the public and government – must be strengthened. Public trust is shifting from large institutions to social networks. This shift poses real challenges to emergency and disaster managers, especially in the face of changing political expectations and greater public awareness of government limitations. Since trust is so essential to successful outcomes in disasters and emergencies, we must ask ourselves how trust can be built and strengthened. The idea is that these themes, along with other findings we’ve made, will help inform and guide our collective planning efforts moving ahead.
The first step in environmental scanning was to define what driving forces of change, or Drivers, were most important to the emergency and disaster management field. To understand these Drivers, we began engaging the broad emergency management community to get a cross-section of perspectives and to begin dialogue throughout the community At a workshop conducted in March 2010, 30 individuals representing all levels of government, non-profit and business partners, and academia, came together to define the driving forces that will shape emergency and disaster management These drivers became the focus of follow-on SFI work including research papers, Webinars, conference calls, workshops, and eventually scenarios, which I will talk about a little later. Any one of these issues alone would challenge some emergency management policies and procedures. In combination, these and other forces could dramatically test the future readiness of the emergency management system as it exists today
The drivers we researched and discussed raised a number of implications that the emergency management community will have to consider moving forward. Among those implications are: Aging infrastructure will challenge response and recovery Global interdependencies raise questions about the EM Community’s role in international events and pose risks to our economic solvency Advances in technology (e.g. smartphones, tablets) allow access to information and promote a sharing rather than hierarchical information environment Finally, shifts in US demographics, including a larger and older population, one that is more diverse and is becoming more and more concentrated, poses challenges to response and recovery efforts, among others. Some of the interactions, challenges, and opportunities are some of the same things we discussed during the environmental scanning phase. We discovered complex interactions and interdependencies that needed further examination, so we turned to scenario planning as an approach to learn more about these interactions.
Scenario planning is a method to build successful strategies and plans by rigorously exploring a broad – but plausible – range of alternative operating environments (or scenarios). If you look at the top of this slide, too often when we only consider the future we try to predict, we think of a “most likely” future and develop a plan to meet that future’s challenges.The problem with this is that it’s only one potential future. And if there’s one thing we know about even the best future forecast of a complex situation, it is that its going to be very wrong in one or more important aspects. So it’s very risky to plan on the basis of a single “most likely” future. So, in SFI we followed the bottom picture - considering multiple futures and understanding what the emergency management community would need to be successful in each alternative future. The idea is then to identify those common needs that cut across all the future scenario worlds. These form the basis upon which we should be developing our strategies and plans around, because they promise to be enduring and reliable guides for investment and action NO MATTER HOW THE FUTURE ACTUALLY TURNS OUT. Members of the emergency management community customized scenarios we borrowed from USCG to make them applicable to emergency and disaster management. We hosted a scenario workshop with nearly 60 participants to discuss the alternative futures and to identify challenges, opportunities, and what the community would NEED to do their jobs in these worlds. Next, we arrived at a set of “strategic needs,” those issues or areas the EM community should address to position itself to meet future challenges and take advantage of future opportunities.
The workshop participants developed a list of 15 distinct strategic needs that applied across all the alternative future worlds. These needs are still in development; represent the main considerations for future planning; The 15 strategic needs fit into three main themes, as shown in the table 1. We will need to build and in some cases enhance our capabilities as a community Demographic shifts will require new approaches to response and recovery We will have to practice omni-directional communication, not just one or two way The public will need training and education to support a more proactive role Tight budgets and more frequent emergencies will tax resources and personnel, so we will have to leverage a volunteer capability to assist And we should embrace forward thinking as a tool to help us be more proactive, as we are doing here2. We also will need innovative models and tools to effectively serve the public Because of resource constraints, we will have to explore alternative surge models to meet demand We will need new risk management tools and processes to effectively manage risk Influencing technology to advance our capabilities will be key We will need flexible frameworks to optimize our inter-operability across borders and boundaries Fiscal and budgetary constraints will force new collaboration models around shared interests and interdependencies Unanticipated vulnerabilities in supplies and natural resources will require remediation 3. The EM community will need dynamic relationships and partnerships to meet our mission Individuals and communities must be empowered to play a greater role throughout all EM phases We will have to proactively engage the business community more and more frequently There will be an international component to further collaborate with our bordering neighbors We may need to increase collaboration with the military to augment our capacity I also made some of my own observations during the scenario workshop: Leadership can come from any place in the EM community Apply behavioral sciences to EM - what drives people's behaviors and the dynamics How we think of trust on individual, organizational, and transactional levels must be further established Organizations and individuals and putting more trust in their "networks.” Social networks act as sentinels, validators and platforms for action. There has been a shift from broken silos to transcendent disciplines; this supports flexible frameworks
The identified strategic needs also raise a number of implications that the emergency management community must consider as we begin to implement actions to meet these strategic needs: Sharing knowledge omni-directionally; meaning beyond “traditional” one-way or two-way knowledge sharing. In increasingly complex communication environments, emergency and disaster managers must communicate and share knowledge with the public AND partner with the public to learn from them Involve the entire public (including those traditionally underrepresented) in all phases of emergency and disaster management, especially as population and demographic shifts occur. This is a shift in thinking and engagement for government. Current surge models may not support future needs, and resource pressures challenge emergency management community capabilities. We will have to think creatively about how to meet our mission and employ alternative models to address gaps. Enabling flexible frameworks will require new legal and regulatory frameworks at all levels of government so that emergency and disaster managers can work across sectors We have identified some implications as a result of the workshop findings: The future resource environment will necessitate asset sharing (people and equipment) at the regional and sub-regional level The emergency management community and the public will be partners in information sharing and gathering Awareness around infrastructure vulnerabilities and remediation tactics will be critical Inclusion of traditionally underrepresented and elusive (off the grid) populations in our planning processes will be increasingly important We will have to update legal and regulatory policy to modernize frameworks and engage the public and private sectors in different ways As I mentioned earlier, the good news is that some of what we’ve discussed to date actually validates current discussions going on throughout the emergency management community, so we’re on the right track, but in order to get where we need to be in 20-30 years, we need to change our pace – it has to be faster and better. Systemic Observations: What we have learned provides us an opportunity to broaden the discussion further and to ask ourselves “Is what we are doing now sufficient to meet future needs?”, and “How might we change our approaches and mindsets to allow for a SFI-integrated planning?.” Additionally, the process has highlighted the need to expand this discussion throughout the emergency management community, beyond disciplines across sectors to enable effective collaboration that enables effective emergency and disaster management outcomes.
Finally, I’d like to discuss how we are moving the SFI forward As we move forward, we will work to advance and sustain foresight. In this phase we will: Refresh and expand our research to broaden our knowledge base and begin answering outstanding questions. Develop products such as the freshly released Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030 report, that the EM community can use as they develop their future plans Begin to shape and align strategies, and implement action plans to meet the identified needs Broaden and further engage our stakeholders with online and in-person discussions Although this is the last phase highlighted, the work does not end here The vision is that this is a continual learning process and that the community engages on a consistent basis about these issues as they evolve and shift
To get involved in SFI, let me or Tim Baden know before you leave today or send an email to FEMA-OPPA-SFI@fema.gov. This will get you access to updated newsletters and SFI events. You also will be informed about new blog postings and are invited to respond. Contact Adolfo “Sonny” Trevino, SFI Project Lead or Tim Baden, SP&A Director, for more information. Or visit our Web site to learn about SFI and read the driver papers.
Today’s Session• Overview of the Strategic Foresight Initiative (SFI)• Research and Stakeholder Engagements• Findings and Insights• Q&A Page 2
SFI Overview• Understand the factors driving change that will impact emergency and disaster management over a 20- year horizon• Develop a shared sense of direction and urgency in the emergency management community that enables us to drive to action• Collectively prepare for the future across multi-sectors• Plan for and take action to meet the evolving needs Page 3
Community Involvement Emergency Management Engaged in: Community• Federal, state, local, tribal • Research emergency managers • Conference calls and• First responders Webinars• Business partners • Workshops and• NGOs conferences• Other federal agencies • Online engagement• Academia Page 4
Our Future Landscape• We will face increasing complexity and decreasing predictability• Future resource constraints are seemingly unavoidable• Individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, and the private sector will likely play an increasingly active role in meeting emergency management needs• Trust – between the public and government – must be strengthened Page 6
SFI Drivers Changing Role of the Individual Climate Change Critical Infrastructure Evolving Terrorist Threat Global Interdependencies Government BudgetsTechnological Innovation and DependencyUniversal Access to and Use of Information US Demographic Shifts Page 7
Select Driver Implications• Aging infrastructure will challenge response and recovery• Global interdependencies raise questions about the emergency management community’s role in international events• Advances in technology (e.g. smartphones, tablets) empower individuals by broadening access to information and promoting a sharing rather than hierarchical information environment• US demographic shifts – i.e. larger, older, more diverse, and more geographically concentrated – pose challenges to communication, response and recovery efforts, among others Page 8
Scenario Workshop Findings Strategic Need Theme Strategic NeedsEssential Capabilities New response and recovery approaches Omni-directional communication Public training and education Leverage volunteer capabilities Futures thinking and planningInnovative Models and Tools Alternative surge models New risk management tools and processes Influence technology Flexible frameworks Plan and coordinate around shared interests Remediate vulnerabilities in critical suppliesDynamic Relationships and Empower individuals and communitiesPartnerships Engage business community International collaboration Collaboration with military Page 10
Understanding Strategic Needs• Omni-directional knowledge sharing• Full public/private involvement in all phases of emergency and disaster management• Alternative surge models• Enabling frameworks for cross-sector activity Page 11
Advancing and Sustaining Foresight Advancing & Sustaining Foresight Expand and Share Research Engage Align Strategies Stakeholders Page 12
Discussion• What are your key takeaways?• What resonates with you in the findings? and Why?• What do you see as the most significant challenge for the international emergency management community going forward? Page 13
Get Involved in SFISFI Mailbox:FEMA-OPPA-SFI@fema.govSFI Website:http://www.fema.gov/about/programs/oppa/str ategic_foresight_initiative.shtm Page 14