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Heralding “Crisis Management 2.0” at CrisisCamp DC May Lead to Actual Crisis

According to ever accurate Wikipedia, Crisis Management is:

“…the process by which an organization deals with any major unpredictable event that threatens to harm the organization, its stakeholders, or the general public. Three elements are common to most definitions of crisis: (a) a threat to the organization, (b) the element of surprise, and (c) a short decision time.”

And if someone, or some people at CrisisCamp DC this weekend made a case for a new form of ‘Crisis Management 2.0,’ it may unleash A, B, C and much the rest of the alphabet. Particularly in four letter combinations.

CrisisCamp DC, which kicks off Friday night at the World Bank and extends through Sunday at George Washington University, is a barcamp-style event billed as ‘part of a global movement bringing together volunteers, academia, non-profits, companies and government officials to share best practices and lessons learned to advocate for further use of technology and telecommunications to assist citizens and communities during crisis.’

Having specialized a bit in crisis management, from which sprung what my friends know as the ‘hydrogen bomb story,’ I’ve been looking forward to this particular barcamp more than most.

What I must admit makes the thought of this weekend that much more desirable, however – on top of the impressive, experienced attendees who are certain to be both informative and engaging – is that this barcamp, along with the specialty of crisis management, is yet to be trivialized and pseudo-scienced to pot by the 2.0 fad that has trivialized and pseudo-scienced much of everything else around here.

Now few people get such a rise as I from the prospect of integrating new technologies with traditional mediums in order to improve them, so understand this is not the fad I speak of.

What gives me a dull nausea far too often is also unattributable to motion sickness from watching Tweetdeck feeds tick by – no, its the content of those Tweets. Its the blog posts, the boasts of exclusivity grown from those who somehow took a concept that is supposed to deliver greater participation from the community and warped it into a teddy bear’s picnic that creates an elite caste of outside ‘innovators’ in government, health care and whatever else they can slap a 2.0 on the end of and climb up another level on the steps along the prison yard.

Innovation doesn’t happen in numbers, its not rolled off the assembly line like a new IPhone or domestic automobile you don’t want to buy anyways – its fluid, evolutionary, and ever taking steps forward and backwards. The greatest feats can be overlooked for decades, the minor failures can gain celebrity just the same by claiming to have more Twitter followers.

2.0 has become shorthand for that innovation, however it oversimplifies this fluidity, it does no justice to the evolution – it’s innovation for dummies that explains a concept to those who don’t see the details yet, just as Santa Claus is a charming, nostalgic way to make youth special.

2.0 has become accepted shorthand none-the-less. This blog itself categorizes posts into Gov 2.0 and Health 2.0, as torn as I am about it, because quite frankly its become such the norm that a newcomer may not understand what ballpark I’m playing in without it. Some of my favorite social network organizers, bloggers and friends use these terms, most all aware to one extent or another that its superficial – but you chose your battles.

And the main admirers of these terms, these buzzwords, these conversations on Twitter promoting a pseudo-science think piece blog post about Twitter not really being a conversational platform – that all doesn’t sound very transparent to me.

Not CrisisCamp DC, however – not this barcamp, not this year.

You don’t need to convince me cheeseburgers are sizzling on the grill, because I can smell them. And you don’t need to basely categorize innovation to sell us that its occurring, for it is, then we can experience it.

While crisis communicating, monitoring and contingency planning will be made more effective through the integration of Web 2.0, the profession has fluidly adapted to innovation since the days of fire and brimstone. By their very nature, crisis managers must be cool headed and not given to flashes in the pan, and ever adapting to any situation given.

The person who drops the concept of crisis 2.0 may identify themselves as either a newbie or an opportunist, but given the barcamp-style it will be discussed respectfully, and thoughtfully. But to declare a new age of Crisis Management 2.0 would make superficial a level-headed profession far more than I think it would be willing to tolerate, and I’m not sure if anyone is prepared to handle the crisis of so many eyes rolling so often that an entire barcamp goes blind before Happy Hour.

We don’t need to assign a marketing term to demonstrate that innovation is occurring in Crisis Management – we know and expect it always is.

I’ll be recording much of CrisisCamp DC this weekend and broadcasting it on YouTube or Viddler, with links on this site – we will see.

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