My Dissertation Research Diary: Proposal synopsis

Introduction

Perhaps one of the most fundamental stages of working towards the MSc  Technology  Management is deciding on a subject area for investigation. At every stage of my academic career with the Open University, I have been exposed to many facets of the behind-the-scenes-working of the  computing and  IT sector, as well as the frontline services and technologies that are familiar at the user end of the production. 

Whether it is, for example, the behind-the-scenes-working of standards agencies that  govern the worldwide web, such as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA)  or the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) which are both international bodies responsible for assigning the protocols that  govern internet address and other protocols such as developing the architecture that makes the whole internet run as smoothly as it does crossing many international boundaries and various operating systems.  Or learning the intricacies networking as taught in Cisco’s CCNA  or delving into the depths in intellectual property and privacy.

In my postgraduate studies, I continued to increase in my understanding of the management of  technology innovation, and systems thinking, which are specialised areas of management, ideally suited to better able to survive in the evolving technological environment that businesses and governments alike have to deal with.  An example of how this can affect an online enterprise would be the introduction of  the new data laws under the General Data Protection  Regulation  (GDPR)enforced by the European  Union (EU) which at times prevents me from accessing some Caribbean websites. 

Nevertheless, I am excited to have reached as far as I have, and in this diary entry,  I will be looking at the context of the working title for my proposal synopsis.  So read on. 

Area of Practice (AOP)

One of the postures that I picked up from my study of  TU811- Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change, is to identify what is your chosen area of practice. This could mean, in what category is your profession, or what area of practice interests you. I see myself as as consultant with particular interest in disaster management and recovery. Like so many world leaders and humanitarian and research organisations have caught the vision of  the commonwealth of Dominica’s Prime Minister,  Hon  Dr Roosevelt  Skerrit, to rebuild his country after the ravages of Hurricane Maria last year, as the world’s first climate resilient nation. Dr Skerrit, has received two honorary doctorates for his advocacy against the effects of climate change, and persistently calls on the developed world to pay their dues towards small island states who stand to suffer the most as the world’s ocean warm and the hurricanes become more frequent and ferocious. 

As a hurricane survivor myself, as a youth, I experienced hurricane  David on August 29th, 1979, I am woefully cognisant what my fellow  Dominicans have had to endure this past year, as the country continues to rebuild, and rehabilitate. The quest is to build back better, and the government has created the Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica  (CREAD) to spearhead this effort.  

I am of the opinion that based on my current studies, that I can lend some useful insights towards this effort. Consequently,  my working title, of which I am awaiting feedback when my supervisor is appointed early next year is;

DIMINISHING UNCERTAINTY TO ACCELERATE THE EXECUTION OF CLIMATE-CHANGE ADAPTATION TECHNOLOGIES THROUGH A SYSTEMIC INTERVENTION TO STRENGTHEN THE INNOVATION STRATEGY, OF THE CLIMATE RESILIENCE EXECUTION AGENCY OF DOMINICA (CREAD).

Setting the pace; Setting the goal

As you are already aware, this  Dissertation Research Diary, is analogous to workshop where I can pound the raw data and rough ideas into shape before submitting them officially as part of any assignment due on the course.  In a sense, this is an opportunity to give my initially thoughts flesh and breath into them a life of their own as blogs in their own right.

(Fig 1) A spray diagram depicting some potential subject areas that may make it into the T802 Research  Project 

In figure 1 above,  I begun the process of identifying subject areas from the postgraduate modules studies. This gives me a good idea of some the ground  I will cover as seek to explore my chosen topic.

This dissertation will research the history of climate change adaptation in the  Caribbean region, with emphasis on Dominica, and how CREAD will effect the technology transfer of the technologies and processes that will transform Dominica’s infrastructure and landscape to achieve sustainability, and also give the island the resources to withstand severe natural disasters, which are common in this region, and to rebound quickly from their effects.

The methodology I propose to use to gather data for this project, will comprise of primary research utilizing telephone interviews, email and social media questionnaires in conjunction with secondary research which will comprise of collecting books, published academic papers and other dissertations on key words searches such as ‘Dominica and climate change’ and  Caribbean and  climate change adaptation.’  

My preliminary findings suggest that there is a gap in academic research on  Dominica’s vulnerability and climate change adaptation efforts in the past, and more recently after Tropical Storm Erica did so much damage to the Eastern part of the island in 2015, that whole villages had to be evacuated and relocated. Some of the rehabilitation work on the rebuilding of homes survived Hurricane Maria, but 90% of other structures did not.  

I will seek to explain how technology management and systems thinking can work together to inform the work of the CREAD to assess and implement measures to protect sectors, that are vulnerable to shock and or failure from natural and man-made disasters, such as Housing, Agriculture, tourism, education, health, transportation, telecommunications, air and seaport and utilities.

As part of my Primary research,  I will not only target the key players in  Dominica and the region in regard to disaster management and recovery, but also of the key organizations here in the UK and Europe, as well as Canada and elsewhere that have played a major part  in Dominica’s ongoing recovery, and pledged support of making CREAD a success.



T802 research idea synopsis
Working title


DIMINISHING UNCERTAINITY TO ACCELERATE THE EXECUTION OF CLIMATE-CHANGE ADAPTATION TECHNOLOGIES THROUGH A SYSTEMIC INTERVENTION TO STRENGTHEN THE INNOVATION STRATEGY, OF THE CLIMATE RESILIENCE EXECUTION AGENCY OF DOMINICA (CREAD).

Origins of this idea

This idea is built on a staff proposed topic, ‘Managing uncertainty’ I chose this theme because it is able to integrate with my Area of Practice: Disaster Management.

As hinted in my research idea’s, working title, Dominica’s quest to use innovative concepts, processes and technologies to adapt to climate change, is in an effort to increase the country’s chances of being able to withstand severe weather events, like category 5 hurricanes. On September 18, 2017, Dominica was one of several Caribbean islands that suffered direct hits from either Hurricanes Irma or Maria.

Although I was born in the UK, I lived in the Caribbean, Dominica, from 1972 to 2004. On August 29th, 1979, Hurricane David devastated the island. I was 16 years old. Consequently, as a Hurricane David survivor, my stake in this project is as much  personal as it is academic.

General description 

This research idea proposal will produce a set of recommendations, based on current best practices in technology management as described in T848 and T849. In addition, it will recommend systemic approaches as taught in TU912 and TU811. It will seek to ascertain the present business model of the CREAD.

CREAD was launched in Dominica earlier this year to be the agency to oversee the recovery of Dominica following the devastation of caused by Hurricane Maria, September 18, 2017.

On September 23rd, 2017, Dominica’s Prime Minister, Hon Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit delivered a seminal, address to the 72 General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, USA in which he reminded the assembly of the catastrophic consequences of climate change on small island states. He announced that   Dominica would build back better and vowed to rebuild Dominica as the first climate resilient country in the world.

This dissertation will research the history of climate change adaptation in the  Caribbean region, with emphasis on Dominica, and how CREAD will effect the technology transfer of the technologies and processes that will transform Dominica’s infrastructure and landscape to achieve sustainability, and also give the island the resources to withstand severe natural disasters, which are common in this region, and to rebound quickly from their effects.

The methodology I propose to use to gather data for this project, will comprise of primary research utilizing telephone interviews, email and social media questionnaires in conjunction with secondary research which will comprise of collecting books, published academic papers and other dissertations on key words searches such as ‘Dominica and climate change’ and  Caribbean and  climate change adaptation.’  

My preliminary findings suggest that there is a gap in academic research on  Dominica’s vulnerability and climate change adaptation efforts in the past, and more recently after Tropical Storm Erica did so much damage to the Eastern part of the island in 2015, that whole villages had to be evacuated and relocated. Some of the rehabilitation work on the rebuilding of homes survived Hurricane Maria, but 90% of other structures did not.  

I will seek to explain how technology management and systems thinking can work together to inform the work of the CREAD to assess and implement measures to protect sectors, that are vulnerable to shock and or failure from natural and man-made disasters, such as Housing, Agriculture, tourism, education, health, transportation, telecommunications, air and seaport and utilities.

MSc qualification being studied taught modules you have completed

MSc in Technology Management (F36)

  • T848-Managing technological innovation   Passed
  • T849- Strategic capabilities for technological innovation       Passed
  • TU812- Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction  Merit    
  • TU811-Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change   Pending   

Modules T848 and T849 are the principle modules for my research, however, TU812 and TU811 will inform my research in regards to managing the technological intervention in a systemic manner.

Equipment, skills or resources needed.

Equipment

  • Home/ office space
  • Computers, laptops, tablets
  • Internet access(broadband)
  • Telephone (landline)
  • Smartphone
  • Storage devices (electronic)
  • Vehicle

Skills

  • Academic writing and referencing
  • Time management
  • Speed-reading
  • Diagramming
  • Listening
  • Note-taking
  • Comprehension
  • typing

Resources

Academic papers

Mercer, J., Kelman, I., Alfthan, B. and Kurvits, T. (2012). Ecosystem-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Caribbean Small Island Developing States: Integrating Local and External Knowledge. Sustainability, 4(8), pp.1908-1932.

Eakin H ,Wightman P. M, HsuD, Gil V. R Ramón,Fuentes-Contreras E, Cox m. et al(2014).Information and communication technologies and climate change adaptation in Latin America and the Caribbean: a framework for action [online] Available at: https://www-tandfonline-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/doi/full/10.1080/17565529.2014.951021?scroll=top&needAccess=true [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

Cambewr G (2009). Caribbean beach changes and climate change adaptation[online] Available at: https://www-tandfonline-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/doi/full/10.1080/14634980902907987?scroll=top&needAccess=true [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

Dulal, H., Shah, K. and Ahmad, N. (2009). Social Equity Considerations in the Implementation of Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation Policies. Sustainability, 1(3), pp.363-383.

Publications.iadb.org. (2003). Adaptation to Climate Change and Managing Disaster Risk in the Caribbean and South-East Asia. [online] Available at: https://publications.iadb.org/handle/11319/4445?locale-attribute=en [Accessed 14 Nov. 2018].

Ismail, N. (2017). How technology is driving innovation for disaster operations management. [online] Information Age. Available at:https://www.information-age.com/technology-driving-innovation-disaster-operations-management-123468135/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2018].

Ismail, N. (2016). Disaster recovery — a best practice approach – Information Age. [online] Information Age. Available at: https://www.information-age.com/disaster-recovery-best-practice-approach-123462492/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2018].

Jean Luc Poncele (1997) Disaster Management in the Caribbean Available at,

https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/doi/epdf/10.1111/1467-7717.00061 (Accessed November 11, 2018)

S3.amazonaws.com. (2018). [online] Available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/34805207/strategy-under-certain.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1542608543&Signature=e1O5LF1qgSZ3xH7JWxhYUZ5piKA%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DStrategy_Under_Uncertain [Accessed 19 Nov. 2018].

 

Gfdrr.org. (2018). Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Hurricane Maria September 18, 2017

[online] Available at: https://www.gfdrr.org/sites/default/files/publication/Dominica_mp_012418_web.pdf [Accessed 26 Nov. 2018].

Amazon.co.uk. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Innovators-Dilemma-Technologies-Management-Innovation/dp/1633691780/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543232512&sr=8-1&keywords=innovation+dilemma [Accessed 26 Nov. 2018].

Amazon.co.uk. (2018). [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Measurement-Scientific-Technological-Activities-Manual/dp/9264013083/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543232607&sr=1-1&keywords=oslo+manual [Accessed 26 Nov. 2018].

UNDP. (2018). Post-hurricane needs assessment kicks off in Dominica | UNDP. [online] Available at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/announcements/2017/post-hurricane-needs-assessment-kicks-off-in-dominica.html [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018].

UNDP. (2018). Dominica: Striving Towards Climate Resilience | UNDP. [online] Available at: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/Dominica_Striving_Towards_Climate_Resilience.html [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018].

Other resources

  • News articles
  • Government proceedings
  • Social media posting
  • Individuals (Government ministers, journalists, historians)
  • Humanitarian organisations (Smart Response, UNDP)
  • Regional organisations (CEDEMA)
  • World bodies (World Bank, DIFID)
  • Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec, pp. 67–79 entitled ‘Strategy under uncertainty
  • Books
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