I have given particular attention to the proposed mitigation framework. PPD-8 gives mitigation much more priority than previous presidential policies.
The mitigation framework is well-conceived, well-written, and helpfully describes the role of mitigation and its relationship with other core capabilities. I don’t know who authored the current draft, but s/he has done a good job.
I also finished each reading a bit more depressed. I stopped after my third review.
The following, taken from pages 17-18, specifies how community resilience is cultivated as a context for effective mitigation. This contributed to my dark mood:
Objectives and Key Actions:
- Inspire and empower accountable action. Individuals and private organizations engage with government at all levels to make resilience happen.
- Foster social, environmental, and economic resilience in every community to increase the capacity of the community to thrive through all kinds of change.
- Know how your community works and how to build partnerships and affect change.
- Understand the full gamut of risks facing a community, including physical, social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities to all hazards.
- Foster sustained communication, civic engagement, and the development and implementation of long-term risk reduction actions in the whole community.
- Convince communities of the value of mitigation for reducing the impact of disasters and the scale of response and recovery efforts.
- Identify and promote incentives, not just regulatory compliance. Reward sound choices and identify bad ones.
- Recognize the interdependent nature of a community’s domains. Community resilience is expressed through a holistic approach to risk reduction, and the success of one element relies upon the resilience capacity of other elements. For example, when a large business facility is retrofitted to account for wind and flood hazards, the community also strengthens area schools, employee housing, and transportation infrastructure to ensure that workers will be able to quickly rebound from an event and return to work.
- Acknowledge that the skill sets and leadership structures for different hazards and communities of practice (law enforcement, local businesses) may change, but the need for leadership, collaboration, and partnership is the same.
- Build relationships before disasters or incidents occur.
- Learn from the past and from what is working in the present.
- Educate the next generation of community leaders and resilience professionals.
- Acknowledge and seek out naturally occurring relationships within communities.
I don’t disagree. In most instances I strongly agree. But taken together… wowzer, that’s quite an incline. And that’s just stage-setting for actual mitigation work.
The mitigation framework is packed with several more lists of ambitious objectives and key actions. But there is a missing link, a crucial missing link.
Peter Drucker argued there are only two sources of value: innovation and sales. Everything else is a cost.
In the PPD-8 process we can recognize innovation. But where is the sales plan? Who are the sales people? Only with effective sales will the potential value of the innovation be realized.
Resilience, whole-community, mitigation have their enthusiasts. Each and all have their visionaries. So do many innovations that fail to achieve broad market appeal. Most innovations fail.
But a few fabulously succeed. In 1991 Geoff Moore characterized what separates winners and losers as consisting of three chasms:
1. Crossing the chasm from visionaries to pragmatic early adopters will only happen if the innovation is recognized as generating some form of comparative advantage for the user. (Does the mitigation framework make this case? I don’t think so — not yet, but it probably could.)
2. Crossing the chasm from pragmatists to conservatives can fail if too much effort is required to use the product/service. (The current description, as above, sounds hard. In my experience it is difficult. What can be done to authentically simplify or, at least, chunk and sequence the work to avoid discouraging adoption? There is still time to do this.)
3. Crossing the chasm from conservatives to skeptics is especially tough, but this tends to characterize truly transformational products. There can be a big pay-off from creatively listening to the Eeyore’s.
The biggest, baddest chasm is coming up soon for PPD-8. What is the compelling comparative advantage for adopting the policy and its frameworks? Will enough pragmatists be persuaded to pull resilience, whole-community, mitigation and more across the chasm from the early market into the mainstream market?
Can an innovative public policy be sold? Should it be marketed? It probably depends on your definition of selling. I define selling as knowing the needs of the customer and honestly, positively, persuasively demonstrating how a product fulfills those needs. Co-development of the product with the customer is golden.
Where are the demonstration projects? Where are the exploratory pilots? Where are the shared opportunities for private-public discovery-learning? Where is the inter-governmental professional development and research? Where is the interdisciplinary action research? These are all strategic, substantive means of selling.
Drucker once wrote, “You need four things. You need a plan. You need marketing. You need people. And you need money.”
With the frameworks finalized the PPD-8 innovations will have a plan. There will be money — both administrative and grants — to execute the plan. There will also be people, especially public sector people, to execute the plan and spend the money.
But Drucker’s second source of value — marketing (and people to do the marketing) — is not yet on the scene. This is the bridge across the widest chasm. This is the link to communities, civic organizations, and the private sector. There is no bridge. There is not even a marketing rope thrown across the gap. Right now we have Steve Wozniak‘s innovations without Steve Job’s marketing.