More information on “Unravelling the Secrets of Crisis Detection and Decisive Action”

In recent years, several crises have caught national authorities by surprise. Critical cries of Why did they not see it coming? Why did they not act earlier? have echoed across political arenas and media venues. In hindsight, it often appears that there were clear ‘signals’ of impending doom. The problem facing research and practice is two-fold: crisis signals are not always clear and authorities do not always act. This project investigates the sources of this two-fold problem and identifies an effective way of organizing to detect and act on emerging threats. It aims to develop an evidence-based method of detection that is more likely to prompt an intervention that can mitigate the effects of a crisis or halt its development. Our project will help Sweden and its international partners detect and deal with emerging threats in an effective and legitimate way. This is a crucial mission for societies facing increasingly complex threats that originate in far-away domains. This project gathers what is known about effective threat detection and intervention methods. It will analyze a set of Swedish detection/intervention systems related to high-priority threats, comparing them against the best practices found in High Reliability Theory research. It looks at human, organizational and technical arrangements for threat detection in nine (9) sectors. The findings will be disseminated to practitioners in the form of actionable guidelines and to scholars in the form of leading journal articles. The project team will organize frequent meetings with officials and disseminate our findings in newspaper editorials, public workshops and scholarly conferences.

Related reading in Swedish:
Tolv miljoner till forskning om hur förmågan att agera på smygande kriser kan stärkas.