The Australian response to the current Coronavirus Pandemic has highlighted the need for us, as a nation, to become more resilient. As we step out of damage control and into the future, now is the time to bring perspective and insight, and reframe the discussion.

Evidenced-based decision making across the whole of society will be important in addressing future crises to ensure that these decisions appropriately balance what might be competing or contradictory actions. The gathering and presentation of all the factors, their relationships, and an understanding of the various impacts on different parts of society will be critical in optimising future responses.

From the current situation, two things are certain.

The responses made on this occasion will provide the template for future responses

To this end we need to closely consider both the actions and the reactions, assess the various inputs and outputs, and hence gauge the linkages and relationships of the response as a system, within the broader system of Australian society.

There is always room for improvement

That is, the template created from the current situation can be improved to potentially provide a more targeted, more nuanced, more effective response to the next crisis.

Assessing this is no easy task. We need to identify and understand the conceptual structures and principles for integrating the economic, social, ecological, legal and institutional dimensions of these decisions. By doing so, we reframe the discussion into one of national, strategic resilience.

‘Reframing’ is a technique that we all use to understand a point of view or different perspective. Reframing a situation can change the way we think, feel, or behave. In systems thinking and systems engineering, we design and apply frameworks to support decision making. Decision frameworks are diverse and vary in their application, but here they can, and should, be applied to influence and improve the way in which we think about our future response options to one of national, strategic resilience.

In our forthcoming series of articles, Shoal’s Chief Engineer and Head of Strategy will look into ‘Reframing our future’. We will contrast and explore frameworks that enable information-based decision making in challenging and dynamic contexts. We will look at patterns and interrelationships, across industry, and the strategic implications for us, as a nation.

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