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.

Building a better understanding of metadata and geospatial data

Building a better understanding of metadata and geospatial data

We've uploaded a series of short videos to YouTube to help system users build a better understanding of metdata and how it can build better research practices.

The New Zealand government has committed funding over the next decade to researching our country’s most pressing problems.  The National Science Challenges are cross-disciplinary, mission-led programmes.  The success of these research programmes requires a new knowledge development ethos. Meaningful collaboration across institutions and disciplines requires effective information management. This means supporting processes where data can be captured, safely shared, and managed to ensure quality, appropriate use, and ongoing development.

Together researchers from the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges and the Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challenges initiated this data literacy programme to provide an easy introduction to the fundamental processes that underpin best-practice collaborative data management.

Please read through our short booklet and watch our videos as you progress your collaborative data management journey!  We would love feedback on the resources, ideas for future videos and guides, and suggested contributions.  Please email [email protected].

Incentivising organisational resilience

Incentivising organisational resilience

Businesses need to believe they are going to be impacted, that they can reduce this impact through their own actions, and that it is an essential part of business to do so.  Those who believe these things invest in resilience.  However, it is not enough to rely on the ‘enlightenment’ of businesses to act in their own self-interest.   Businesses must be actively nudged and supported.

In June 2017, the National Emergency Management Conference was held in Wellington, with presentations addressing the future of emergency management in New Zealand.  Bryce Davies, the General Manager Corporate Relations at IAG (Insurance Australia Group Ltd.), spoke about resilience as a national issue, where public, private, and civil society organisations must be able to thrive in times of crisis.  But how do we incentivise organisations to be more resilient?

In his presentation, Davies begins by outlining the benefits and limitations of insurance products to support organisational resilience.  Insurance plays a part in building resilience in organisations, yet only 20-30% of businesses have business interruption insurance.  Resilience requires a broad consideration of risks and impacts and how they are managed.  Ultimately, insurance can provide a backstop for organisations in the form of financial assistance, but cannot stop things from going wrong.

What is needed, Davies says, is belief.

Businesses need to believe they are going to be impacted, that they can reduce this impact through their own actions, and that it is an essential part of business to do so.  Those who believe these things invest in resilience.  However, it is not enough to rely on the ‘enlightenment’ of businesses to act in their own self-interest.

Davies provides three suggestions to get organisations to react, and invest in building resilience.

    Resilience needs led by organisations like MBIE, Business NZ, Resilient Organisations, and local government.  By promoting resilience and providing supporting information, resilience becomes a normal part of business and everyday conversation.
    Incentivise organisational resilience is through positive pressure.  A range of public and private sector mechanisms already exist, but they're not used for this purpose.  Regulators and industry groups need to think about how to use the levers at their disposal to drive resilience.
    The final suggestion is seeding action.  Here the example given was Government could require the development of sector-wide plans to ensure that services are still provided in times of crisis.  The alignment this would require across agencies and between public and private organisations would draw businesses in and move people away from a traditional focus on response.

The key takeaway from the presentation is that we cannot rely on enlightened businesses to act on resilience.  Businesses must be actively nudged and supported.

Watch full presentation

Attending QuakeCoRE Annual Meeting as a new Post-Doc

Attending QuakeCoRE Annual Meeting as a new Post-Doc

“Half of us today attended the QuakeCoRE meeting last year, the other half are here for the first time – many crossed continents to join us,” announced Professor Brendon Bradley, QuakeCoRE Deputy Director, before dinner on the first day of the 3-days meeting in Taupo, September 2017.

Our new Postdoctoral Researcher Saree Lawler was part of the latter group, although her claim of travelling only gets as exciting as only a Christchurch-Auckland-Taupo route could offer.

Nevertheless, Saree had a positive experience and would describe the Taupo gathering as a wonderful meeting of minds. The overall atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, the chats were thought-provoking and insightful, the posters were high-quality,  offering a glimpse into the social/economic side of seismic resilience research, and catering was excellent (as voted as well by several colleagues from the U.S. - think 6-hour slow-cooked beef with steamed greens and pearl couscous, finished with scrumptious pav, among others).

But Saree of course also focused on the more serious issues at hand throughout the three days. Some other highlights were:

  • A most distinguished lecture from Emeritus Professor Masayoshi Nakashima of Kyoto University on a Japanese way of establishing resilient cities.
  • An insightful keynote presentation on earthquake resilience in the Maori community from Tā Mark Solomon (Kaiwhakahaere, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu).
  • A workshop on different financial tools for earthquake resilience from different sectors (treasury, academia, insurance and independent research groups), chaired by Ken Elwood, QuakeCoRE Director. It was an all-day workshop, but it was so well worth it that the room remained overfull to the close at 4 pm.
  • Five excellent plenary sessions on key subjects including earthquake preparedness planning and post-event decision making, risk mitigation and transfer, future policy, research and practice, and interdepencies in raising seismic resilience. Erica Seville, ResOrgs Director, gave a talk in the last plenary session about modelling the long-term ‘unquantifiable and uncertain’ future, arguing for a shift from models that fixate on discrete, time-bound outcomes to ones that incorporate fluid decision dynamics.
  • An opportunity to ask for feedback on the prototype of the Resilience Menu project as part of the ResOrgs poster presentation at the meeting.

All in all, a most productive trip to the beautiful Taupo where Huka Falls mesmerise, Lake Taupo wows, and the thermal pools beckon. Saree would love to go back next year, and be able to say ‘I was here last year and loving it’ like many attendees did.

Raising the bar – getting our keystone organisations better engaged and prepared

Raising the bar - getting our keystone organisations better engaged and prepared

Following on from their National Emergency Management Conference in early June, the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) have uploaded videos of some of the conference presentations, including Erica Seville's presentation on better preparing organisations' for crisis.


Erica Seville shortlisted for a Continuity and Resilience Consultant 2017 Award at the BCI Australasian Awards

Erica Seville shortlisted for a Continuity and Resilience Consultant 2017 Award at the BCI Australasian Awards

ResOrgs Managing Director, Erica Seville has been shortlisted for a Continuity and Resilience Consultant 2017 Award at the BCI Australasian Awards.

This is a well deserved recognition of Erica's continuing work leading and mentoring a group of researchers and consultants working to make public and private sector organisations more resilient.  Alongside this, in 2016, Erica published a book; Resilient Organisations: How to Survive, Thrive and Create Opportunities Through Crisis and Change.

The BCI Australian Awards are an annual celebration of the best, brightest and most innovative in the continuity and resilience industry across the region. The BCI note that they are designed to recognise the individuals and organizations who have excelled in the field of business continuity and resilience throughout the year. The Awards are one of seven regional awards hosted by the BCI each year, which culminate in the annual Global Awards, held in November during the Institute’s annual conference in London, England.

The winners of the awards will be announced at a Gala Dinner and Ceremony to be held in Sydney on the 31st August 2017.