Launched in May 2014, DRIVER+ (Driving Innovation in Crisis Management for European Resilience) is a project funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, whose main aim is to cope with current and future challenges due to increasingly severe consequences of natural disasters and terrorist threats, by the development and uptake of innovative solutions that are addressing the operational needs of practitioners dealing with Crisis Management.
The project starts from the experience that neither successful R&D, nor strong end-user demand, always lead to innovation in the Crisis Management domain. This is a problem since as societies become more complex, increasing scope and unpredictability of potential crises and faster dynamics of major incidents put increasingly stringent demands on Crisis Management.
DRIVER+ is not about wholesale redesign of CM capabilities. Instead it is about the simultaneous launch of an ability to adapt European Crisis Management to future demands as they emerge. Therefore, DRIVER+ focuses on augmenting rather than replacing existing capabilities.
The scale and pace of crises pose enormous challenges for the Crisis Management sector, with new threats emerging all the time. An already complex field must also strive to integrate new technologies and methods, cope with a rapidly changing infrastructure, understand evolving risks, be effective across cultural, administrative and national boundaries and engage with populations to enhance their resilience.
Innovation is therefore critical, but will only be successful if it is relevant and accessible to practitioners and operators. Many crises involve interfacing diverse Crisis Management systems and solutions. Major crises can also frequently involve more than one country or region, which may have differing Crisis Management infrastructures and cultures. It is also highly likely that this will necessitate interfacing different systems and combining different solutions.
Crisis Management innovation must therefore be capable of meeting these multifaceted challenges and delivering solutions that are modular, flexible and adaptable.
These solutions must be tested and validated in realistic environments; they must be evaluated to assess their true benefits and for their overall suitability, before being adopted by end-users. Failure to meet these needs could result in less than perfect solutions being introduced or in the increased costs of Crisis Management capability development, due to the imperfect management of ever more complex crises.