Scenario Development for Collaboration Exercises

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Marie BARTELS, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, Germany
During disasters which affect or are caused by supply infrastuctures, system operators and public authorities have to cooperate closely in order to minimize damage, help those affected, and control the situation. This collaboration is regularly hampered a lack of communicative routines, different expert languages, incompatible organisational and professional cultures, and a lack of knowledge about each other’s mode of operations, resources, and constraints (Kapucu et al. 2010; Crowther 2014; Ansell et al. 2010).

Scenario-based training is commonly used to conduct exercises which address the abovementioned problems under conditions that are characterized by (a) an overflow of uncertain information, (b) difficult to assess risks of escalation, and (c) distributed responsibility and expertise for the evaluation of the situation across organisational borders. Due to the increasing functional interconnectedness between infrastructures, especially (c) becomes a major challenge for disaster managers (Pescaroli/Alexander 2016).

Little attention has been paid to methods to develop scenarios that exercises are based on. As the storylines are supposed to be realistic, transboundary in nature, and beyond what has been experienced yet in order to confront the trainees with the unknown, different organisations have to participate in the scenario creation. This is barely ever reflected upon scientifically which is even more surprising as while the value of collaboration exercises has shown to be limited (Moats et al. 2008; Berlin/Carlström 2015) most practitioners who have participated in the preparation of exercises have emphasized the learning effects during this phase.

This presentation will introduce research conducted in Berlin, Germany with ten organisations from different sectors that would be involved in case of crisis or disaster. Over three years different approaches to building scenarios have been tested and evaluated. Measure centred scenario building has proven to be more revealing to the participants than approaches based on incidents, hazards, coping resources, or working along timelines.