Leading through times of change: building a resilient organisation

Leading through times of change: building a resilient organisation

ResOrgs is exploring a partnership with Keogh Consulting in Australia to develop a leadership programme to support leaders navigate the new normal. Here are some strategies leaders can use to lead effectively through times of change.

 

Visionweek NZ 2020 – day four

Visionweek NZ 2020 - day four

Visionweek - Some of the best and brightest minds from across NZ and the globe envision what the new New Zealand could look like.

Quality Living

One core theme to emerge from today’s discussion was the importance of community and the need to put people at the centre of all our infrastructure decisions, whether it be housing, transportation systems or electricity networks.

The idea of the 20-minute city, already being tested in Sydney and Paris, promotes the design of communities where education, healthcare, shopping and work are all within a 20-minute walk or bike.  Could this be the future blueprint for decentralised cities?

A number of the speakers spoke about housing and urban design and the importance of creating safe places for people to gather and connect and develop a sense of community. Sir Peter Gluckman noted the need to reduce the depth of control of bureaucracies on vulnerable people and enable communities to support themselves.

The importance of achieving quality living sustainably was also noted. Kate Boylan encouraged us to work with what we have instead of always focussing on building new.  Kirsti Luke and Tamati Kruger spoke of new design that exists in harmony with the environment: net zero water, energy, waste.

The newly established infrastructure Commission has been tasked with the job of developing a 30-year infrastructure strategy for New Zealand.  Community and wellbeing is at the centre of their thinking.  Their challenge – to balance the need for bold changes with strategies that are achievable and affordable.

Jon Grayson (CEO, InfraCom) noted the need to develop an infrastructure strategy that builds agility into our infrastructure systems.  Agility and infrastructure are traditionally quite juxtaposed.  So how can this be achieved?  We’ve been working with the critical infrastructure community since we began in 2004.  Over that time we’ve seen a gradual shift from infrastructure as an asset to infrastructure as a community service.  NZTA now see their role as ‘connecting people’ rather than building and managing roads.  Auckland Transport are focussed on ‘easy journeys’.  We need to take the next step and, working with community, design the next generation of infrastructure.

When we think about the resilience, adaptability, and agility of our built infrastructure we need to radically shift our thinking.  Are our centralised infrastructure systems suitable for the high change world we live in?  Do we invest in upgrading old systems or invest in new decentralised systems (grid electricity to household generation)?  How can we design houses that are adaptable to the changing needs of our communities?  Can we build transport systems that meet today’s transportation preferences with tomorrow in mind?

We need to be testing our decisions against multiple futures to ensure they are robust in the face of uncertainty.  We need to involve diverse stakeholders to get creative and relevant ideas.  We need to create an enabling regulatory environment that empowers new ideas and allows us to rapidly respond to disruptions and take advantage of opportunities that emerge through new technologies or crises.  And of course, community and wellbeing must be at the heart.

Visit #visionweekNZ for details of the speakers and to listen to webinar.

Visionweek NZ 2020 – day three

Visionweek NZ 2020 - day three

Sustaining NZ

The COVID-19 response demonstrated New Zealand’s leadership. Our leaders looked at the science and took early and decisive action to address the threat. We need to extend this approach to address other sustainability threats and opportunities that we face. That was the overarching message that we took from Wednesday’s Vision Week webinar entitled “Sustaining NZ”.

The initial COVID-19 recovery investment needed to be quick and relatively coarse – there simply wasn’t time to do otherwise. Subsequent waves of investment can and need to be more considered and nuanced. By applying a sustainability lens to our COVID-19 recovery actions we can ensure the very substantial investment being made is truly no regrets, maximises the benefits for future generations (from whom we are borrowing) and avoid locking us into costly or unsustainable pathways.

The speakers highlighted that while climate change is less dire in the short term, the long-term consequences are severe. Like COVID-19, the science is sufficiently clear, and the benefits sufficiently obvious, that early action is warranted. We need to address both emissions and adaptation to the effects, such as rising sea levels, more severe weather events (floods, droughts, wind) and bio-security threats. Failure to act will only increase the long term economic, social and environmental costs.

The opportunities for improving sustainability apply across the board, including infrastructure (three waters, transport, energy) as well as natural based systems such as agriculture and tourism were all spoken about. The point was made that businesses that embrace sustainability tend to be more profitable, in part because they are more forward looking and better prepared to take up opportunities.

A strategic approach is needed. Some investment decisions are easy and obvious – such as home insulation that delivers multiple benefits to the nation as well as home occupants. In some cases, wise investment may mean delaying large long-term investment decisions to ensure we are not locking ourselves into short-term fixes that we have worse outcomes in the longer term (Dr Carr gave the replacement on the Cook Straight ferries as an example).

Several speakers highlighted that changes are already starting and the need to stay ahead of the pack. Kirsti Luke and Tāmiti Kruger gave an example of looking at overseas technology and applying it locally. Similarly, Ian Proudfoot and Alan Sutherland emphasised the need to learn from others. NZ is blessed with resources and opportunities. We need to get creative, use local knowledge and innovation but also draw from overseas experiences and expertise to inspire and stretch our imagination and creativity. This cannot be left to Government, businesses are critical to this.

Much of the discussion was related to managing risk. This includes ensuring our investments are ‘no regret’ options.  It also means addressing issues such as the vulnerability of our supply chains highlighted during COVID-19, as mentioned by Alison Andrews. Being prepared for, and resilient to, low probability but high consequence events, such as pandemics, are part of being sustainable.

Leadership, consensus and a long-term approach is needed. The role of iwi in providing a long-term perspective was noted, as was the need to avoid the short-termism of the three year election cycle. Our sustainable future can be built on the shared values and vision that allowed us to lead the world in our COVID-19 response.

For us the speakers highlighted the tight coupling between resilience and sustainability.  To be sustainable and meet the challenges of climate change we need to be resilient to disruption, as well as be adaptable to a changing world.  We need to be inclusive, innovative, open to opportunity, flexible, and we need to move together towards a clear and common goal.

Go to #visionweekNZ to see details of the speakers and to listen to webinar.

Latest research

Latest research update

The Australian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies (AJDTS) has published a special issue focusing on "Pathways to Earthquake Resilience" - The case study of Wellington, New Zealand, featuring two papers from the ResOrgs team.

The paper, Business recovery from disaster: A research update for practitioners focuses on ResOrgs' six-year research interviewing and surveying over 1000 organisations to learn more about the effect of the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes on organisations across their shaken region. This broad and rich dataset of insights can now help other organisations facing disruptions in the future, with the paper identifying the top ten lessons for managing through crisis, being agile and adaptive in the face of change, and finding opportunities in disruption.

The other paper, From physical disruption to community impact: Modelling a Wellington Fault earthquake focuses on the work of Charlotte Brown and researchers from Market Economics and GNS Science using the MERIT model to model the economic impact of an earthquake event to support decision-making for investment options to improve disaster preparedness.

DIVE Platform – the key to New Zealand’s exciting resilience innovations

DIVE Platform – the key to New Zealand’s exciting resilience innovations

ResOrgs researchers, Dr Joanne Stevenson and Ellie Kay have been busy working with a team of researchers creating a new platform that will help researchers make better use of New Zealand’s Disaster Risk Reduction and resilience data.

The collaborative team of researchers, funded by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Kia manawaroa – Ngā Ākina o Te Ao Tūroa and QuakeCoRE – New Zealand Centre for Earthquake Resilience, developed the platform after identifying a gap in the industry. “Across the country there are datasets from extensive, ongoing research on disaster risk reduction and resilience, but no integrated way to share and search that information” said Dr Joanne Stevenson, team lead for the project.

After running a series of workshops to find out what stakeholders and researchers needed, the team developed the Data Integration and Visualisation En Masse (DIVE) Platform. The NZ Resilience DIVE Platform website gives users the ability to catalogue, discover, share, and use datasets and other information relevant to Disaster Risk Reduction and resilience in New Zealand. “DIVE provides, for the first time in New Zealand, a place where researchers can let others know about the data, publications, and ongoing research relevant to DRR and resilience” Dr Stevenson notes.

The platform can also host unique datasets, as well as being a place where those interested in DRR and resilience in New Zealand can connect and collaborate, forming virtual organisations for sharing information. DIVE also provides access to data literacy tools for those wanting to know more about metadata and spatial data, and why these things are important for a more resilient New Zealand.

The DIVE Platform can be accessed at resiliencedata.org.nz.

Researchers who choose to host their data on the platform can rest assured that it won’t be lost too. Should it be decommissioned, DIVE can be transferred to another host, such as data.govt.nz, as it has been created using the CKAN software platform.

The NZ Resilience DIVE Platform is created and maintained by Resilient Organisations and, ultimately, by New Zealand’s research community. As a sharing platform, this collaborative site provides a tool for transformational research, allowing for innovative new discoveries through the recycling of data. It is also hoped that DIVE can act as a catalogue or repository for information produced in disaster response and recovery contexts and can aid decision making in the wake of natural disasters.

Erica Seville appointed to the board of the Earthquake Commission (EQC)

Erica Seville appointed to the Earthquake Commision (EQC) Board

Congratulations to Resilient Organisations' Director, Erica Seville on her appointment as a Commissioner to the Earthquake Commision (EQC).

Having spent many years leading and mentoring a group of researchers and consultants working to make public and private sector organisations more resilient, Erica will bring a wealth of knowledge, insight, and a fresh perspective to this role.

Read the EQC news item

Oamaru Heritage Precinct workshop : future thinking for a thriving community

Oamaru Heritage Precinct workshop: future thinking for a thriving community

In February this year, a workshop was held in Oamaru to bring together heritage tourism stakeholders to explore future options for the town and its heritage precinct. Attendees included tenants from the heritage precinct, and members of the Waitaki District Council and Whitestone Civic Trust.

Funded by QuakeCoRE, the participatory decision-support workshop was run by Dr Caroline Orchiston and post-graduate student Will Stovall, from the University of Otago, in conjunction with Tracy Hatton, from Resilient Organisations.

Participants were invited to put aside their own agendas and consider the ‘bigger picture’ issues for Oamaru, with the overarching goal of creating ‘a thriving community for all’.

They were presented with five hypothetical projects that could benefit Oamaru. The projects were: the pedestrianisation of Harbour Street; the extension of the railway line; the installation of a proposed zipline; gaining world heritage status for Oamaru; and earthquake strengthening of heritage buildings.

The projects were then tested against three hypothetical situations to help determine which would stand up best against the scenarios if they happened in the near future.  The scenarios discussed among stakeholders included the decline of tourism in Oamaru, what would happen to the projects if a devastating earthquake struck the town, and how the projects would run if the tourism market remained the same.  Results showed that stakeholders preferred the pedestrianisation of Harbour Street and Oamaru pushing for world heritage status.

Although the intent of the workshop was not to reach any actual decisions, the project scores that emerged from the workshop provide Oamaru decision-makers with potentially interesting insights into how this group of participants perceived the future opportunities for Oamaru. Feedback from participants suggests that the structured process was very useful in working towards achieving a consensus and helping them to understand how collective decision-making can be achieved and the rationale behind decisions.

ISCRAM Conference, Wellington, November 2018

The inaugural ISCRAM (International Association for Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management) Asia Pacific regional conference is being held in Wellington from the 4th to 7th November 2018, and Resilient Organisations is excited to be supporting the conference.

The theme for the conference is Innovating for Resilience, and the programme will cover all of the major topics in information systems for crisis response and management, ranging from the technical to the social and including data, applications, social media and alerting and monitoring systems.

Visit the ISCRAM Conference website for more information and to register online

Improving resilience to natural disasters: West Coast lifelines vulnerability and interdependency

Improving Resilience to Natural Disasters: West Coast Lifelines Vulnerability and Interdependency

David Elms, Ian McCahon and Rob Dewhirst have been taking a fresh approach to evaluating infrastructure resilience investment priorities for West Coast communities.

By looking at the West Coast’s infrastructure as a system, they identify vulnerabilities that prevent ‘flow’ through that system and the importance of each critical pipeline of flow to the West Coast economy and community. Investment priorities are ranked according to their contribution to community resilience; thus infrastructure resilience and community resilience both contribute to the final results.

It is a really interesting approach, which takes a systemic view of resilience investment priorities.

The report is available below, along with the 12 supplementary documents.