International Disaster Conference & Expo (IDCE) held from January 8th-10th in New Orleans

Interview with Editor Kenneth Strang: Speaker at IDCE 2013

By IGI Global on Mar 13, 2013
International Disaster Conference & Expo (IDCE)IGI Global contributor, Kenneth David Strang, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Risk and Contingency Management (IJRCM), recently had the opportunity to present at the 2013 International Disaster Conference & Expo (IDCE) in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 8th-10th. IDCE is an annual global symposium focused on sharing best-practices in emergency management, homeland security, business community, economic stability, and disaster preparation. This conference provides practitioners with opportunities to collect innovative knowledge and share their ideas in a credible forum. IGI Global had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Strang on his experience speaking at the conference.

Interview with Editor Kenneth Strang: Speaker at IDCE 2013IGI Global: How did the opportunity to present at IDCE come about?

Dr. Kenneth Strang: I submitted a paper which was peer-reviewed and accepted for presentation at the conference. Additionally, in 2012 I approached IDCE management (IMAGO Productions) and the City of New Orleans about having IJRCM collaborate at this conference. This proposal was accepted and we became an official “Media Partner” with IDCE.

Furthermore, a related scholarly manuscript was submitted to IJRCM for double-blind-peer review, and this was accepted for publication (with revisions) into IJRCM. This full-length article entitled "Risk Management Research Design Ideologies, Strategies, Methods and Techniques" will appear in a future issue of IJRCM. The intention of this article was to provide research method directions to emerging scholars and risk management practitioners, in order that IGI Global may stimulate more knowledge production that could be shared with audiences around the world.

How does the scope of this conference fit in with the research in IJRCM?

We cover the same keywords, being that IDCE keywords fit within a portion of what IJRCM targets, as listed below. IJRCM tries to attract scholarly studies from practitioner viewpoints, so we are positioned at a higher level than magazines that are currently associated with IDCE. Our studies are double-blind-reviewed using a rigorous process and criteria. IDCE and IJRCM both aim to improve society by helping practitioners share their knowledge, experience and best-practices for predicting, planning, and mitigating against man-made or natural disasters. IJRCM takes a more theoretical-intensive approach while IDCE attracts decision makers and suppliers of solutions (software, products, and services). Therefore IJRCM provides theoretical models and scholarly case studies of best-practices to deal with estimating uncertainty or managing risk, while IDCE provide a common physical and virtual space to bring risk management stakeholders together for information sharing.

What type of audience were you able to present to?

There were approximately 30 participants. Based on a straw poll taken at the conference, 60% were decision makers from the government sector (the remainder being from private or non-profits). Of the non-government, most (30% total) were from academic environments, such as professors or students in a doctoral degree program.

What were the most interesting concepts of the conference?

For my presentation at IDCE, I concentrated on giving information to help practitioners publish their ideas. I discussed research methods and reviewed the 'success stories' from 8 of my doctoral students.

At other IDCE events, most presentations were 'personal stories' of risk mitigation, in other words, how people managed their lives or companies to recover after a natural disaster struck. Examples included how people dealt with hurricanes Rita, Katrina, Gus, BP oil spill, and other disasters overseas (e.g., Japan tsunami). During the core three-day portion of the IDCE event, over 800 companies displayed their products and services in the exhibition center in the middle of the Ernest Memorial Conference Building, from 0800 until 1700, answering questions from anyone that stopped by. Occasionally there were special sessions, such as local food fairs, jazz players, and local cultural events.

The most interesting outcome, by far, were hearing the 'authentic experiences' from people that lived through these natural disasters, especially from both managerial and civilian participants - in other words how the government/national guard felt and how their clients felt about their experiences, along with what could be improved. There are no books which can describe the horrible tragedies that people suffered in the various natural disasters. Additionally, there were innovative examples of technological solutions demonstrated in the exhibits which can now be used to prepare for and mitigate against natural disasters. There was also an interesting stream of best-practices associated with national and corporate security (aimed at preventing and mitigating against man-made disasters).

What are the benefits that researchers can gain from the human focus of disaster experiences rather than a financial focus?

Well, for one, equipment and technology do not have 'feelings' and do not sue anyone for damages after a disaster, whereas people have strong emotions and need both sociological as well as economical assistance after disasters; people can also apply for financial assistance or sue for economic damages.

Presenters at IDCE provided ideas for how to estimate and manage risks. There was a lot of information available about using technology or systems to mitigate against natural or man-made disasters. However, there was very little if any information presented to address how to measure the human affect - emotional damage - and the recovery best-practices.

Future IDCE events should call for more interdisciplinary research, such as scholarly best-practice papers that leverage theories and models across the disciplines and industries, to present solutions to important societal problems - namely natural or man-made disasters.

Kenneth David Strang has a Doctorate in Project Management, an MBA, a BS, and a Business Technology diploma. He is a certified Project Management Professional® from Project Management Institute and is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute from the Life Office Management Association. His research interests include: leadership, multicultural e-learning, marketing new product development, knowledge management and risk/e-business project management. He teaches subjects in business, in class as well as online, and supervises doctorate students. He has authored numerous manuscripts and books since 1981, and is an Editor and Associate Editor at several journals.
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