An evaluation and improvement of innovative strategies used in models for disaster management |T802 Research Proposal

  1. Proposed title for the research
  1. An evaluation and improvement of innovative strategies used in models for disaster management
  2. Background to the problem/issue
The subject of designing models for disaster management is an academic discipline that continues to receive much attention from scholars over the last five years. Media reports suggest that severe weather occurrences are on the increase. Indeed within the first two months of 2019, several weather-related records have been broken causing loss of life, damage to infrastructure and disruption to the lives of millions of people in every continent. Disasters hazards are a threat to any populated area and could range from Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons, to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis. To floods, droughts, landslides or avalanches. Some hazards are seasonal and can anticipated such as the annual hurricane or monsoon season. Hazards are costly to the economic progress of countries across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a natural disaster as a catastrophic act of nature that significantly disrupts the day-to-day pattern of their lives. WHO says that natural disasters also render victims ‘helpless and suffering’ and in need of humanitarian assistance to provide basic necessities: food, clothing and shelter and medical supplies, and in need of ‘protection from unfavourable factors and conditions (World Health Organisation 2019) Within the last few years, the study of disaster management and the recovery from disasters has continued to intensify. According to a recent UNISDR report, cited in (World Meteorological Organization. 2018), between 1998-2017, “the greatest economic losses from disasters have been the USA, US$ 944.8 billion; China, US$492.2 billion; Japan, US$376.3 billion; India, US$ 79.5 billion; and Puerto Rico, US$ 71.7 billion” (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction 2019) However, the cost of disasters to low income countries, such as the Caribbean, according to (International Monetary Fund 2019) the impact of weather-related disasters “…estimated disaster damage as a ratio to GDP was 4.5 times greater for small states than for larger ones, but six times higher for countries in the Caribbean.”  Therefore it goes without question that all nations should be endeavouring to achieve the 7 targets and the 4 Priorities for action of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.  ”The Sendai Framework is a 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk” (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction 2019)
  1. Justification for the research Therefore, if better innovative strategies are not devised, disaster refugees and loss of livelihoods are inevitable. An improvement of the understanding behind the use of models and the deployment of innovative methods to create greater efficiencies will lead to an increased awareness of areas that can be improved. This dissertation will evaluate of the strengths and weakness, successes and failures, of disaster management systems written on by researchers in the past 5 years, and bring new insights into how these disaster management models can be synthesised to create an innovative strategy to enhance the success rate of managing disasters.
    Moreover, this dissertation will add value to the on-going discussion among academics on the best methodologies to deploy at the various phases of disaster management and response with the view of saving lives and livelihoods, and lead to the protection of world economies.

  2. Aim and objectives (or equivalent)

Research aim: To evaluate and improve disaster management modelling

Objective 1. To identify and evaluate existing models used in disaster management

Objective 2: To select 2 or 3 of the existing models to improve through enhancement with current strategic thinking’

Objective 3: To compare and evaluate 2 or 3 of the selected models to produce an innovative, new model based based on the synthesis of those models and new findings in current research to propose an enhanced model.

Objective 4: To formulate a candidate model.

Objective 4: ‘to seek expert evaluation of the validity and potential value of the proposed model.

Objective 5: To update/optimise the model based on expert evaluation.

  1. Initial review of the literature

My literature review

The resources in this literature review were selected to inform the primary research the proposed topic for research. They are drawn from the major works written on innovation strategy, business modelling and disaster management, as well as the current thinking on the application of systems frameworks and constructs to managing complex situations.

These works, and others to be reviewed over the course of this module, are important to this research into what are the most important benchmarks that any fledgling disaster management organisation should consider in order to ensure that it is sustainable over time, and that it has the type of business model to meet the challenges for which it has been created.

The review of these resources, therefore are listed in order of importance regardless of the date of publication.

1. The innovators dilemma

The first of these works is drawn from an international author who is regarded as an authority on the subject of technological innovation, provides the historic context for deploying technological solutions to management problems in general.(Christensen 2016 pp 161- 166) in his discussion of how to appraise an organisation’s capabilities and disabilities, that apart from matching the task to the ability of the employee, he proposes the theory that managers should build their organisation with three cornerstones in mind, namely:

  1. Resources- (Christensen 2016) cites resources such as staff, machinery, cash, technology and product design, as well as its networks with suppliers and distributors. These assets he says may be “hired and fired, bought and sold, depreciated and enhanced.” He adds that such resources are transferable across the boundaries of an organisation and that access to 2high-quality resources enhances an organisation’s chances of coping with change.
  2. Processes – Of processes he says,they are” the pattern of interaction, coordination, communication and decision-making through which they accomplish transformation.”The author adds that these processes could be divided between being formal clearly defined and documented, and informal, habits that have evolved of the life of the organisation and have become the working culture of the business.
  3. Values – The third class of factors the author identifies that defines a technologically-driven organisation are the criteria by which decisions about priorities are made.” (Christensen 2016) identifies corporate values as being ethical in nature ie. – the standard by which decisions are made. According to the author, these value systems should permeate throughout the organisation. Yes, this looks useful as background and to help you get some direction.

His work are beneficial to my research because it explores the concepts that distinguishes a technologically-innovative business model a business model in the usual enterprise sense.

  1. Oslo Manual

Meanwhile, the second publication in this literature review, (OECD 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.

The manual was launched in 1991 in the City of Oslo, Norway, and signalled the inaugural formal agreement reached by technologists, policy makers and practitioners in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators which was became the internationally agreed standard and guidelines used by European countries to measure business innovation. The manual now in its fourth edition, takes into consideration what it says are “major trends, such as the pervasive role of global value chains, the emergence of new information technologies and how they influence new business models” (OECD 2018).

The potential for use of this manual in conducting primary research for my project is its wide breath of information regarding methods and procedures to analyse the measure of business innovation in an organisation. Part 3 of the manual, more specifically, deals with Methods for collecting, analysing and reporting statistics on business innovation of which I will find invaluable to inform how I craft the questionnaire and surveys I intend to circulate as part of my primary research.

  1. Systems Approaches to Managing Change

Thirdly, the reader, Systems Approaches to Managing Change: A practical guide edited by Martin Reynolds and Sue Holwell , is a compendium of works written by experts in the field of systems thinking and practice. Moreover, the book gives an overview of 5 systems approaches to managing change and describes how these methods are deployed and gives suggestions on which approach is suited for a particular scenario, depending on the outcome desired.

It is my opinion, that systems thinking approaches, such as The viable systems model and Soft systems Methodology are particular relevant to research question because of the acute nature of the host country, Dominica. Not only because of the annual hurricane season, but also because of the underlying threat of volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, drought and other man-made disasters. Such a volatile situation calls for a wide-angled view of building back resiliently, and being prepared for the next disaster.

The utilization of Systems thinking in disaster management will greatly enhance the execution of its operations through nurturing a deeper understanding of complex problems.

The validation of the frameworks introduced by (Reynolds and Holwel 2010) have proven successful in many scenarios as introduced in the text.

  1. A placed-based model

The 4th resource that I have reviewed at this stage of module, is the 2008 paper written by (Cutter et al 2008) entitled A place-based model for understanding community resilience to natural disasters.

Bearing in mind that the paper was written a decade ago before the destructive, natural disasters of 2017 and 2018 the authors have devised a a model that they have named, The Disaster Resilience of Place (DROP). According to the authors this acts as a “mechanism to improve the comparative assessments of disaster resilience at the local or community level”

The authors are of the view that governments have evolved in their attitudes to managing natural disasters. First from being reactive to proactive, and secondly, a desire to define ‘the standards and metrics’ by which resilience is measured.

According to (Cutter et al 2008), DROP model is a new approach to understanding the connected nature of vulnerability and resilience though a model that takes into consideration the ‘antecedent conditions’ against the ‘hazard-event characteristics’.

This paper is significant to my aims to create a new or enhancedinnovation strategy model for disaster management.

5. Disaster Management system as an element of Risk Management for Natural Disaster systems using PESTLE Framework

(Sarwan D et al 2016) have developed, what they call a ‘global model for disaster recovery planning and management based on a model used in the information technology sector to recovery from a breakdown due to man-made emergencies and involving data recovery and incident- response. PESTLE, which is an acronym that stands fro an awareness of the Political, environmental, social, technological and economical aspects of an organisation.

Their approach, to adapt the principles of disaster management in PESTLE are similar to the approach that I am proposing: to overlay systems thinking with innovative strategy. The authors of this project regard PESTLE as ‘powerful technique’ to make choices about an organisations environment, and to build resilience to risks identified in PESTLE.

Furthermore, the PESTLE model is deployed with the Disaster Risk Management Process (DRMP) proposed by (Rehak R.H 1994) and cited in (Sarwan D et al 2016) of which the main interests are: (1) Risk location (2) Knowledge management (3) Political commitment (4) Taking active measures to reduce risks (5) Cautionary methods for disasters (6) Preparation for disasters and (7) Repairs and rebuilding.

The PESTLE system proposed by (Sarwan D et al 2016) also includes the Effective Disaster Recovery system Plan (DSP) and the Evaluation and Validation Model. The authors of this work, like all the other authors in this review provides me with a rich choice of approaches that I may utilize in my own research, and may even in some instances be incorporate in to my design for an innovative strategy for disaster management

6. Three-Domain Model for Disaster Management Framework

Meanwhile, (Ha K, 2017) proposes a three-domain model based on a study of flexible organisations. The author suggests that the three domains: (1) Disaster, (2) human behaviour and (3) disaster environment are combined to produce a ‘multi-purpose model. According to the author, the failure of a government to recognise the holistic nature of disaster management, it is likely to be unsuccessful in managing disasters.

According to (Ha K, 2017), the methodology used in his research was qualitative content analysis to ‘interpret disaster management frameworks appearing in peer-reviewed works, as well as technical reports and other documents. The author, in this work, then proceeded to describe his methodology for constructing his three-domain model using qualitative analysis. Which he says is inclusive of the main components are: management lifetime; prevention/mitigation; preparedness and response, and recovery according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA)

7. A Metamodel for Disaster Risk Models

In this 2015 written research in models used in disaster management (Nur H. W. et al 2015) have analysed a models deployed by the Indonesian government. For example, the “BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana) disaster risk model, the volcanic disaster risk model using SMART (Simple Multi Attribute Rating Technique) method, and the tidal flooding disaster risk model using fuzzy method” (Nur H. W. et al 2015)

According to the authors, they are proposing a generic model utilzes the parameters of three typical models used in Indonesia. The paper then goes into an analysis of the three models chosen.

Potential literature and other sources of information

​A list of potential literature and other resources, that due to time

​constraints to submit this draft for feedback, that I will look at as the

​module progresses are:

​ A Multi-objective MPEC Model for Disaster Management of Power System Restoration (Abassi et al 2017)

​The Resilience Activation Framework: a Conceptual Model of How Access to

​Social Resources Promotes Adaptation and Rapid Recovery in Post-

​disaster Settings. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research,

 Insights from a Simulation Model of Disaster Response: Generalizat(Abramson, D., et al. 2014).

ion and Action Points (Gonzalez J et al 2016).

 An integrated flood management system based on linking environmental models and disaster-related data (Qui L, et al 2017).

​  Constructing Knowledge Innovation Models of Communication Management in Research Organization (Yang U et al 2019).

 ICTs and Effective Communication Strategies: Specific Needs of Information before, during and after Disasters

​(Helena Z 2011).

​ Technology Strategy and Management Business Models for Strategy and Innovation (Sako M 2012).

  1. Proposed research methods and techniques

The proposed research method and techniques will be a combination of primary and secondary research. Primary research will comprise mainly in the form of doing conducting data-gathering exercises- surveys etc and analysing results

Preliminary, the research method proposed to use in this research is the ‘Qualitative method’ using a ‘Interpretivist’ paradigm’ This approach is useful making comparisons of existing disaster management systems and to design a methodology that can test my findings by using questionnaires asking scholars in the field to score against a selection of questions relating to decision making and accountability. More specifically, I will use delphi-styled surveys which may be asynchronous or anonymous, as well as structured interviews. Most likely, the most appropriate method will be the use of telephone and email interviews. There may also be opportunities to visit an expert at his/her workplace.

  1. Planning and scheduling

Chart identifying the main milestones and tasks associated with this dissertation

Feasibility of your intended research

At this point, I am confident that I can keep to the plan above, However, there may be some constraints in regard to the design of the surveys and questionnaires. I also anticipate some problems in identifying suitable experts and whether they would respond to my request for participation in my survey or questionnaire. In regard to my situation interest, although the target communality of this research may not realise, but from my systems thinking training, any model in existence used in disaster management and response can be improved by increasing the capabilities and changing the world view of all involved, any model can be greatly enhanced.

  1. Ethical considerations

In conducting my research I will ensure that any data collected will be stored in a protected storage. In addition it will not be shared or distributed outside the confines of T802 faculty and examiners

Further, I will ensure that the reputation of The Open University is not brought into repute. The work presented in this research will also be my own work and any use beyond that will be be duly acknowledged using the Harvard style referencing.

My research will conform to the high standard expected of a professional member of the British Computer Society, as well as standards laid down by The Open University, the home Office, the National Health Service Central Office for Research Ethics Committees.

  1. Risk assessment – health and safety

At all phases of this module, I will ensure that I will take all necessary precautions to protect myself, and those who I may participate in my research from harm to themselves, property and reputation.

I will follow the Open University’s Ethical Principles for Research Involving Human Participants which promotes the adherence to 6 main principles. (1) Compliance with protocol (2)Informed consent (3) Openness and integrity (4) Protection from harm (5) Confidentiality and (6) Professional codes of practice and ethics (Research at The Open University 2017)

  1. List of relevant previous modules

T848-Managing technological innovation

T849- Strategic capabilities for technological innovation

TU812- Managing Systemic change: inquiry, action and interaction 

TU811-Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change

  1. Relevance of research to qualification

My research and the subsequent dissertation, in my opinion, meets the requirements of F36 – MSc Technology Management, because it is my objective to propose technological solutions to the problems of disaster management, through the sharing of best-practices advocated by experts in the industry.

  1. References

Abbasi, SaeedehBarati, MasoudLim, Gino.(2017). ’A Multi-objective MPEC Model for Disaster Management of Power System Restoration’ IIE Annual Conference. Proceedings; Norcross (2017)

​[Online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2019].

​Ben Westcott, C. (2019). ’Australia is sweltering through

​record-breaking heat. And the worst is yet to come.’ CNN [Online]

​Available at:

analysis-intl/index.html [Accessed 10 Mar. 2019].

​Costello T., Prohaska B. (2013) ‘Innovation’ IEEE Computer Society. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 31 March 2019].

​Christensen, C. M, (2016) The Innovator’s Dilemma The

Revolutionary book that will change the way you do business,

​New York, Harper Business.

Cutter, S., Barnes, L., Berry, M., Burton, C., Evans, E., Tate, E. and Webb, J. (2008). ‘A place-based model for understanding community resilience to natural disasters,’ Global Environmental Change, [Online]. Available at (Accessed March 17, 2019 )

Gonzalez J, Labaca L Roxanne S, Turoff M (2016). ’Insights from a Simulation Model of Disaster Response: Generalization and Action Points’ IEEE Conference Publication. [Online]. Available at [Accessed 17 Mar. 2019].

Ha, K. (2017). Three-Domain Model for Disaster Management

Framework. Global Journal of Flexible Systems Management,

18(4), pp.321-329. {Online] Available at (Accessed March 17)

Health Research Authority. (2019). Research Ethics Service and Research Ethics Committees. [online] Available at [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].

Helena Z (2011). ’ICTs and Effective Communication Strategies: Specific Needs of Information before, during and after Disasters’ 2011 Fifth International Conference on Innovative Mobile and Internet Services in Ubiquitous Computing [Online] Available at [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].

​International Monetary Fund (2019). Building Resilience in the Caribbean to Climate Change and Natural Disasters – IMF F&D Magazine. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Apr. 2019].

​Nur W. H., Azizah F. N., aAkabar S. (2015). ‘A metamodel

​for disaster risk models’ IEEE Conference Publication. [online]

​Available at [Accessed

​11 Mar. 2019].

OECD (2018) Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, 4th edn, Luxembourg, OECD/Statistical Office of the European Communities

Reynolds, M and Holwel, S (eds) (2010) Systems Approaches to Managing Change: A practical guide, London, Springer.

​Qui L, Du Z, Zhu Q and Fan Y., (2017). An integrated flood management system based on linking environmental models and disaster-related data. [Online] Available at[Accessed 17 Mar. 2019].

​The Open University (2017). Research Ethics. [online] Available at [Accessed 1 Apr. 2019].

​United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (2019). ’Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction’ UNISDR. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Apr. 2019].

​World Health Organisation (2019). WHO Natural events. [online] Available at [Accessed 6 Apr. 2019].

​Yang U et al (2019). Constructing Knowledge Innovation Models of Communication Management in Research Organization[online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2019].