Happy new year everyone
If you are a regular reader of my blog you would know that my current theme is, my dissertation research diary. A public project log, so-to-speak, that is used as a writer’s studio where I can gather ideas; expand on concepts and even receive feedback on matters of interest to me in my preparation of my dissertation in pursuit of a MSc Technology Management from The Open University by 2020.
2018 has come and gone, and within the last year, indeed, within the last first days of 2019, in my chosen Area of Practice (AoP), Disaster Management, a lot of environmental events, that have a direct impact on my research have left in their wake new data to add to a growing body of scientific research into climate change and the need to raise the awareness of governments and populations of climate adaptability.
Area of Practice
The critical use of my blog to address matters of disaster management and risk reduction really gained new traction with my introduction of systems thinking in 2017 (See fig 1 above). The Open University’s, TU812 – Managing systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction and TU811 – Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change, were the perfect postgraduate diploma choices, to complement my earlier studies of: T849- Strategic capabilities for technological innovation and T848- Managing Technological Innovation.
Now here we are at the start of 2019, T802- The Research Project, officially begins in February, but the website was opened in November last year, although with limited functionality, for the preparatory submission of a synopsis of my intended research proposal. After which a supervisor will be allocated and the full resources of the T802 website will be available.
You may recall, that the working title for my synopsis for my research proposal 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).
Legislation providing the legal framework for the operation of the Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica (CREAD) in Dominica was passed in parliament on December 12th. Compliments Dominica’s Tourism Minister, Senator Robert Tonge, I was able to locate a copy of the bill on the Government of Dominica’s web portal. By having the actual text of the CREAD legislation made quite a difference in having the ability to follow the arguments by the various members of the House of Assembly.
An innovative approach
My contribution to the public discussion of the CREAD, however, is to produce a synthesis of guideless for measuring innovation and to provide a platform for future discourse of the innovative approach by the Government of Dominica under the leadership of Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit to establish the CREAD. I will seek to evaluate these approaches against the best practices that have evolved over the last two decades in regards to innovation as a specialised academic discipline.
In addition, I will define what types of innovation are evident in the proposed business model of the CREAD and suggest ways in which the technological underpinnings can be further enhanced using these specialized concepts and frameworks. To do this I will be drawing from a number of sources, including public premopuncments from the main actors of the CREAD, the recent emergency Telecoms forum held in Dominica in December, as well as draw from the Oslo Manual 2018 which is in its fourth edition.
Finally, I will complete my piece by suggesting how systemic approaches may further enhance the technological outlook of the organisation as a whole , and how having a systemic understanding can bridge the gap between Dominica and the wider world, and the many interrelated organisations and treaties and agreements within which Dominica must compete, collaborate and become a leader in climate change advocacy.
Defining the hazard vulnerability landscape
As far as one knows, the concept of CREAD was a as a direct response to the devastation caused first by Tropical Storm Erica in 2015, and further exacerbated by the devastation wrought on the island by Hurricane Maria two years later on September 18, 2017. Meanwhile, while the CREAD does acknowledge that Dominica is vulnerable to other natural hazards, besides climatic. In recent times, the phrase climate change has been been widely discussed and debated. Scientist have warned governments that as the earth’s atmosphere warms, hurricanes and typhoons will be more frequent and ferocious.
To some extent, there is a six -month warning period between one hurricane season and another. The Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 3, however there are other natural hazards that have a much shorter warning period , and can be equally devastating.
The threat of a volcanic crisis, however, is ever-present in the Caribbean, and the consequences of such an event can be sudden and catastrophic. That is why a similar organisation to the CREAD could be establish to manage for the preparation of an eventual eruption in Dominica, and the post-consequences.
The Caribbean islands are geologically at the center of a very active and seismic region. Evidence of this seismicity in recent times are evident throughout the island chain. The eruption of the Soufriere Hills volcano in Montserrat in 1995, to the underwater volcano- Kick em Jenny off the coast of Grenada
Dominica itself is replete with manifestations of volcanic activity. These events have become our tourist attractions–The Valley of Desolation, the Boiling Lake, as well as numerous sulphur springs and underwater fumaroles. Indeed, Dominica is said to be host to 9 of the 16 active/dormant volcanoes in the Caribbean region. Another hazard is the matter of tsunamis that may be triggered from geologic activity both within the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Mitigation and disaster reduction
From a technological point of view, preparation and early warning systems might be one of the means of saving lives. Equally so, is the dissemination of information. As well as the listening to multiple opinions. The Roosevelt Skerrit has introduced an innovative approach to including the views of multiple stakeholders through sharing updates and receiving feedbacks from its many open consultations.
A major challenge
“in cities like Roseau, Castries and Port-of-Spain etc etc, were really built in vulnerable locations.”
Lloyd Lynch, UWI Seismic Research Centre
You don’t have to be disaster management expert to realise that mandate of CREAD is a humongous. I suggest that the main areas that need urgent attention are: warnings systems, robust infrastructure, quick recovery, and preservation of life.
The clue to the mandate of the CREAD is in the name: Climate Resilience execution Agency of Dominica. I suggest that a similar organisation with a mandate to oversee the main areas I identified above: warnings systems, robust infrastructure, quick recovery, and preservation of life. be established to monitor and provide leadership in regard to volcanic events, tsunamis. It is very easy to forget the ever-present threat of a volcanic eruption or a major earthquake. Which unlike the hurricane season has a marked calendar period when severe storms can be expected, seismic events can happen at any time, with little or no warning.
This brings to mind the need for an investment in technological solutions to not only be prepared for climatic hazards, but also geologic disasters as well.
At the recently-held, Multi-stakeholder Forum on the Role of Telecommunication/ICTs for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction for the Caribbean Islands in Dominica, from 4th – 6th December, 2018, Research fellow, Lloyd Lynch of the UWI Seismic Research Centre in St Augustine in Trinidad, said that his organisation has been in operation for the past six decades and noted that geophysical monitoring has not received the attention it deserves compared to meteorological and hydrological hazards. He said many of the Caribbean islands’ capitals were built in highly, vulnerable zones.
“in cities like Roseau, Castries and Port-of-Spain etc etc, were really built in vulnerable locations. Roseau for example,” he said, “is on a pyroclastic flow/fan, It’s on a river delta. Port-of-Spain, is on the edge of sedimentary basin,” he said adding that town and country planning until recently were not drafted with disaster mitigation in mind.
The Oslo Manual 2018 defines innovation as any new or improved product or process, or combination of both, that differs significantly from the previous product or process deployed by or within a specified setting or organisation.
To be continued…