Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing's Role in Disaster Management

  • September 11, 2014
  • Brittany Corners
  • 3 minutes

According to Tech Republic, the White House convened a forum in August 2014 to demonstrate data-driven technology that could be used to offer assistance during times of disaster. One of the topics during the program was crowdsourcing solutions for times of disaster, and the discussions ranged from technical solutions that would work when nothing else did to getting needed supplies and help to areas in distress.

Data’s role in your disaster plan

One of the lessons businesses can take away from the discussions on shared economies and crowdsourcing during disaster response is that data is essential to almost every endeavor today. During a natural disaster, response agencies and governments must understand who is in need, where they are, what is needed and which agencies can supply the demand. Some of the biggest disaster gaffes of the last two decades have come from a lack of organization and information management; one of the biggest mistakes a business can make with regard to disaster planning is to ignore the importance of data management.

Disaster plans of any type should include immediate action for securing, accessing and working with data. When creating a disaster plan, work with your team to develop a list of data that is essential immediately following a disaster. Information may include contact names and numbers for critical employees as well as protocols for a disaster response. The next level of information necessary to recovery might be customer contact and basic account information, which allows your company to communicate with consumers and man a basic operations center. After you identify the data that is required during or after a crisis, you can create complete disaster plans for getting to and using the information for operational recovery.

Two reasons crowdsourcing works during crisis

One solution businesses might consider including in disaster plans is crowdsourcing, which works during a crisis because the individuals handling the work aren’t part of the disaster. In a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, employees at a business location are likely dealing with their own crises. Expanding operations to workers around the world — especially for repetitive or easy functions such as data categorization — helps speed up recovery efforts.

Postrecovery efforts for companies may include detailed inventories of assets, compiling lists of consumer, employee or company needs, or catch-up work on standard data tasks. Crowdsourcing lets you handle complex data tasks by breaking them into smaller parts that can be completed by hundreds – or even thousands – of workers. Bringing in the crowd reduces post-recovery stress on your employees at a time when stress levels are inordinately high.

Help with data management when you’re in need

You don’t have to wait for a crisis to get help with your data management needs. OneSpace offers expert data-management assistance, including categorization, tagging, SEO and data cleansing.

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