Resilience principles and guidelines could be useful to address the COVID-19 global crisis. Are we ready to adopt and to adapt them in practice?

How resilience management principles could help in addressing the COVID-19 crisis

Are we ready to adopt and to adapt resilience principles in practice? In the article below, our colleagues Luca Save and Daniele Ruscio relate resilience management guidelines to the COVID-19 crisis.

The knowledge they share builds on a pilot exercise from the EU funded project DARWIN. The exercise addressed the possibility of a novel disease outbreak during a flight expected to land at Rome Fiumicino Airport. Based on this experience, the article describes the translation of resilience management guidelines on different actions relevant for crisis management. These include promoting common ground among actors, noticing brittleness, and establishing strategies to communicate with the public.

Hints from the DARWIN H2020 project

Ended in 2018, the DARWIN project focused on improving responses to expected and unexpected crises affecting critical societal structures. The project developed Resilience Management Guidelines (DRMG) that were tested in different pilot exercises in Europe. One of them explored the possibility of a novel disease outbreak; therefore, it offered the opportunity to address issues related to the resilience of organizations that have many aspects in common with those experienced in the current worldwide COVID-19 crisis.
For example, the first issue addressed is the need to establish a common ground among the different organizations cooperating in the management of a crisis. Secondly, it addressed the importance of anticipating and managing trade-offs and conflicting goals that emerge during a crisis. Finally, it highlighted the importance of coordinating communication activities to foster the containment measures applied by the citizens.

Clearly, the severity and magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis has been incomparably greater than the emergency situations that DARWIN imagined. However, the results from the project show that decision makers and managers at different levels in first responder organizations can benefit from the adoption of the DRMG principles. In particular, translating them into policies or procedures for front line operators can be useful also to address the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Vera Ferraiuolo
vera.ferraiuolo@dblue.it

Senior Dissemination Consultant