I’ve written before about the issues that happen when the view from the top of an organisation doesn’t match the view from the bottom.
Yesterday, CrisisCommons spent some quality time with Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He was talking about how to integrate crowdsourcing into formal emergency responses in the US, which is something that’s been bothering me since Haiti.
It goes something like this. Most governments have plans for different types of emergencies. Those plans generally treat the population as something to be contained, controlled and moved from place to place. Yesterday was the first time that I heard an official describe that population as a resource rather than a herdable set of semi-helpless victims. Now granted in an emergency, people will be responding differently and some of them will be in shock and in need of direction, but other people will be in a position (e.g. carrying mobile phones) to feed into a crisis response. FEMA seem to have made an excellent start on this by including a twitter layer into their Common Operating Picture (the name here gives us a clue to how this picture has been created and organised up til now – it’s a military term).