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Delivering a remote crisis simulation exercise in the midst of a pandemic
What started as a distributed simulation exercise to be carried out on site in Brussels ended up being delivered completely remotely through our Exonaut software from our ´Exercise Delivery Hubs’ in London and Stockholm. The 4C team worked together with the Client and 10 participating institutions from the financial sector to re-design the exercise in this new exercise delivery format, while still meeting all exercise outcomes and objectives.
Why conduct an exercise in the midst of a pandemic?
The risk landscape has changed during COVID-19, but is still multifaceted and non COVID-related incidents will continue to happen. It is more important than ever to ensure that your organisation continues to remain resilient to future incidents. The benefits of running an exercise during this period are:
Your organisation will learn how to respond to an incident whilst working remotely,
Your organisation will gain the ability to manage the response to multiple incidents at once,
It creates an opportunity for teams to come together and participate in a stimulating exercise,
By conducting an exercise, you will identify areas of improvements that might affect your organisation during and after the pandemic and hence you can approach these areas in a proactive manner.
Three key challenges in delivering exercises during COVID-19
4C Strategies has years of experience delivering exercises remotely, well before it became the “new normal” due to COVID restrictions. We have developed our software Exonaut to support us in all aspects of a remote exercise. For this particular exercise, we have catered our solution around the top three challenges that we identified with the Client.
Managing multiple stakeholders in different locations
We had over 150 participants playing from 11 different global banks and financial services. We used Exonaut and other supporting software to design, develop, deliver and evaluate the exercise. This was easily done online, enabling participants to be part of the journey from start to end, no matter where they were based.
Engaging teams that are already experiencing crisis management fatigue after a long period of the COVID-19 response
We have a lot of experience making exercises that both challenge teams and create an exciting atmosphere. We also use various interactive software elements to make the sessions stimulating and engaging. The key is always to ensure that the participants feel that they benefit from the experience and learn something. We conduct debrief sessions immediately after the exercise to ensure that we capture all the lessons that have been identified. This is later consolidated and distributed to all participants.
Funding an exercise in the current climate
Not having all the stakeholders in the same room and travelling to or from the exercise can save resources both in time and funding. In addition, being proactive and exercising, even during challenging times, is a long-term investment that will benefit the organisation. In this particular, case we managed to get even more organisations on board as the Exonaut Exercise Portal allowed for more flexibility in accommodating additional participation.
Would you like to find out more about how we conducted this exercise?
Don’t hesitate to get in contact with our Team Leads on the project, Mathilda Jansson and Ben White.
Mathilda is a consultant at 4C Strategies International based in London. The past four years Mathilda has worked with clients in both the public and the private sector all over the world, focusing on Business Continuity. Previous to working for 4C Strategies Mathilda studied at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm as well as worked for SOS Alarm, human rights NGOs in South East Asia and more.
Ben is a Senior Consultant at 4C Strategies focused on delivering effective solutions in order to build organisational resilience including Business Continuity Crisis Management and Risk Management. His particular focus has been on training, exercises and delivering capability development and readiness programmes across the public, private and military sector. Previous to working for 4C Strategies Ben worked in the London Resilience team and the London Fire Brigade, working across a whole range of resilience capabilities including pandemic planning.