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OECD Strategic Crisis Management Workshop, presentation by Prof. Edward P. BORODZICZ


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This keynote presentation by Prof. Edward P. Borodzicz, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, was made at the 2014 OECD/Swiss Federal Chancellery Strategic Crisis Management Workshop (12-13 June, Geneva).

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OECD Strategic Crisis Management Workshop, presentation by Prof. Edward P. BORODZICZ

  1. 1. Why Simulation Exercises are Fundamental to Developing Crisis Capabilities Edward P. Borodzicz Portsmouth University
  2. 2. We live in interesting times • Black swans • Systemic failure • Population growth • Human Irrationality • Complexity • Lean systems • Changing ways of life • Expectations
  3. 3. Problems with understanding Risk and Failure • Low frequency high impact (black swans!) • Ethical issues • Complexity • You can never step in the same river twice
  4. 4. Problems with learning from failure • Most plans too specific • Simulation designer learns more than the learning target • Tests never engage the informal system • Conditioned behaviour in a crisis is dangerous • The plan may be the problem!
  5. 5. What we know we need? • Food • Water • Shelter • Medicine
  6. 6. We forget we need • Media (educating/informing the public) • Socio-Political co-operation • Ownership and control • Scenario mapping • Endurance
  7. 7. Aristotle “the one thing we can expect is the unexpected”
  8. 8. Fidelity • Structural • Psychological • High and low level Fidelity • Theoretical Underpinning • Surprise
  9. 9. Evaluation • Difficult to establish • Post exercise modelling • Learning from reflective practise • Who is the learning target? • Debriefing
  10. 10. Evaluation • Apparent validity • Positive and Negative learning • Learn from success not failure • Exercising culture
  11. 11. The Crisis Training Dilemma • Simulations offer the only practical means of training • Difficult to evaluate in the same way as other training simulations • The fact that you can not measure it is indicative that you are really simulating crisis • Both outcomes and management teams will need to vary
  12. 12. The Crisis Training Dilemma • Crisis should be viewed differently to contingencies (emergencies) and disaster • Structured militaristic models are often inappropriate • Managing crisis can often mean changing the very team appointed to manage it! • Crisis is both a threat and opportunity! • While it may be possible to compare good and bad decisions with hindsight it is more difficult to gauge these in terms of right or wrong.
  13. 13. Effective Crisis Simulations • Need to recreate the experience of crisis • External simplicity causes internal complexity • Debrief is likely to be difficult if not painful. • This may cause a sales/ethics dilemma for consultants! • Clients may not like the product
  14. 14. Some tips for good simulation practice • First, simulations should display an external simplicity which masks their internal complexity. • Second, games should have some theoretical underpinning. Simulations should be designed with some clear purpose. • Third, games should contain 'an element of surprise'. • Fourth, the social structure of the group of players may conflict too strongly with the desired power structure in the game.
  15. 15. Some tips for good simulation practice • Fifth, in management training, 'verisimilitude' is valued more highly than realism. • Seventh, games are culture sensitive. • Eighth, all simulation games will display an emotional impact.