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How Improv Principles and Startup Culture Reshape Crisis Communications

Back in May RallyEngine’s Marketing Director Steve Hardy and MCSC Executive Director Amanda Pick co-presented Herding Cats, Finding Kids, and Rallying Dispersed Teams in a Crisis to a lovely audience at CPRS’s annual Ascend Summit in beautiful Banff, Alberta. Steve’s part riffed on insights gleaned from this Ipsos study of the Calgary Flood in which the importance of emergent and ad hoc teams …

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The Rise of the Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST)

The acronym VOST stands for Virtual Operations Support Team. VOST members are becoming increasingly critical to the successful management of emergencies and disasters. Their efforts help facilitate the recovery from these disruptions through modern communication technologies, especially social media like Twitter, Facebook and other messaging services. They provide support through internet connected devices to workers at emergency and disaster scenes, …

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Black Swans: Unpredictable, Game-changing, and Foreseeable (in Hindsight)

While most people have heard of the term “black swan”, few understand what it means. The phrase stems from the previously held belief that all swans were white in color, as this was the only color of swan that human beings had observed. In 1697, Willem de Vlamingh discovered black colored swans in Australia. This was the first recognized black …

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Internal Communications and the Impacts on Disaster Management

Disasters present the ultimate challenge to emergency response capability. Time is of the essence, the usual communication pathways are generally disrupted, and the speedy mobilization of emergency equipment and responders may mean the difference between life and death. Even when the stakes are a lot less dramatic, an organization’s lack of effective crisis communication can have long-term negative impacts particularly …

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Nenshi vs Ford: A tale of two cities’ disaster response

Comparisons between Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi and Toronto’s Rob Ford started years ago when each was elected mayor. Now, with 2013’s record breaking floods in their respective cities, they again are under public scrutiny for their handling of the disaster responses. Toronto’s July 8th flash flood swamped commuters and knocked out power for almost 500,000 people, while Alberta’s June river flood …