Crisis management (CM) organisations often face difficulties in assessing the potential impact of a change in their sociotechnical setup for several reasons, for instance the lack of adequate methodological know-how to assess innovative solutions. Investments in new, but inappropriate sociotechnical solutions, not only produce significant costs, but also have negative impacts for the operational performance of response organisations. Changes may be brought about by different types of solutions, such as new software or new training or workflow processes, each adopted with the aim to improve certain functions or activities. For example, the use of an app for managing volunteers (compared to legacy systems and procedures) can be assessed in a trial on the basis of key performance indicators.
Assessing the impact of any kind of change is not a trivial task, as it points to both capability development and to the identification of innovation. This is why we need trials. Trials are of interest for people dealing with research and innovation who would like to test some new solutions, for practitioners in the field who have identified a problem in daily operations and are motivated to initiate the process of assessing solutions, for experts working in coordination centres who consider to participate in trial-like activities, and allows solution providers to collect user feedback in order to improve their solutions.
The trial guidance
Why a methodology?
A trial has an objective and needs to be structured. It also implies a co-creative approach and an open mind. Workshops and tools are essential, as several iterations (especially for preparation) are usually needed. Trials are evolving processes: they grow “in the making”, like a handcrafted artefact. Time should be devoted to adjust the design. Key decisions must be taken in agreement with di4erent stakeholders that need to be identified. The success of a trial then clearly depends on its design: a robust design will lead you to find appropriate answers to your needs. This trial guidance methodology provides step-by-step guidelines, a list of roles and responsibilities, tools and methods to perform a trial through a clear, structured and co-creative approach.
A methodology is one thing. A good practical guide under your arm anytime to quickly find any clue of this methodology is another! This handbook shall guide you during the whole journey of the trial experience. You don’t have to memorize it. Instead, having it next to you when working on the trial allows you to find specific answers to your current questions. It can be considered as a “cookbook” helping you step by step to execute a specific recipe by telling you the ingredients you need and how to use them. Enjoy!