From contesting to conversing about resilience: kickstarting measurement in complex research environments

Vivienne Ivory & Joanne Stevenson, Nat Hazards (2019).


Findings ways to benchmark and monitor is critical to making progress towards greater resilience to natural hazards. The cross-sector and often heavily contested nature of the resilience endeavour pose many practical and theoretical challenges when attempting to operationalize resilience into tangible indicators. Those invested in the measurement challenge must negotiate what is meant by resilience as well as make practical decisions where often there is no clear way forward. Heuristics, or short cuts to decision-making, are one way of negotiating situations with complex and/or incomplete information. This paper reports on the development and use of a heuristic device to support decisions and conversations about the measurement of resilience. The Kickstart 2 Measurement (K2M) tool provides resilience researchers and stakeholders with a structured process to work through six measurement questions on the following: the purpose of measurement; the data availability and quality; the focus of the indicator (who, what, where); the spatial and temporal scales; the disaster risk reduction phase; and the nature of disruption. The application of the tool to real-world examples showed the K2M tool (1) helped facilitate a pragmatic yet theoretically robust approach (2) helps provide transparency around compromises and prioritization, (3) brings multiple perspectives to the fore, and (4) prompts innovation to address high-priority gaps. The K2M tool can act as a bridge between theory, data, and practice to prompt pragmatic robust measurement solutions to and foster greater collaboration and cohesion across the resilience sector.

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