One of the greatest problems we face in disaster management is understanding the type and breadth of decisions that we make during a disaster.
So much goes into decision making that we need to devote significant research and effort to putting this skill in a better perspective so that better tools and approaches can be developed. Long gone should be the days of making decision "off the cuff." Decisions, despite their impending urgency and seriousness, should be as purposeful, collaborative, and as science-based as possible.
Andrej Verity, a disaster responder and Information Management Officer for UN-OCHA just released a report from a workshop on Field-Based Decision Makers' Information Needs. Here is a link to the full report. The main authors included leading researchers Erica Gralla (GWU), Jarrod Goentzel (MIT), and Bartel Van De Walle (Tilburg). Check out Andrej's great introductory post on Demystifying decisions makers' needs in sudden onset disasters.
The report focuses heavily on the decision-makers' perspective. It asked what decisions are typically made and then separately, what are the information needs in sudden onset disasters? Ultimately, the decisions and information needs will be linked in future research.
One goal of this workshop was to help Volunteer and Technical Communities (VTC) to understand the information field decision-‐makers require to make the best possible decisions. These results lay a foundation for this understanding, by providing (1) a framework and set of information required by field-‐based decision-‐makers, (2) categories and types of decisions made by decision-‐makers, and (3) a large set of brainstormed decisions from workshop participants. VTCs and others seeking to support humanitarian action by providing and organizing information can utilize these results to (a) prioritize their efforts toward important information, and (b) organize their information in a manner intuitive and useful to humanitarian decision-‐makers
Check out pages 7-8 for great pictorials of the following findings regarding decisions and information requirements:
Decision dimensions and categories are broken down by timeframe, scope, locus/authority of decision-making, criticality, frequency/duration of decision, information gap (confidence), and function.
Information requirements are broken down by context and scope, humanitarian needs, responder requirements, meta information, capacity and response planning, operational situation, coordination and institutional structures, and looking forward.
Does this resonate with your work? Why or why not?