New Futurismic Column: Awareness Windows
My new column at Futurismic is up. "Opening the Awareness Window" uses the overlap of the Katrina and 9/11 anniversaries as a jumping off point for considering how best to respond to surprising disasters.
In many ways, disasters pose the classic foresight problem: they're predictable in general form, but surprising in their specifics of time and location; they force us to balance costs of preparation against costs of recovery; and they tend to be big enough to change our ways of thinking, at least in the short term. Disaster management specialists refer to the period in which we are open to changed behavior and plans as the "awareness window." This window, typically lasting a few years, gives us a chance to implement improved systems and designs, but can have the drawback of an overly-narrow focus -- we rarely use the window to see how our new ideas might play out in other, seemingly unrelated, areas. But the big picture matters. The more wisely we take advantage of this awareness window, the better-off we'll be when the next disaster strikes.
This column has more links to outside material than did my first one. I'm always a bit uncertain about how to approach links to my stuff on WorldChanging, though. I co-founded the thing, and was the primary writer from late 2004 through early 2006, but the site has continued to evolve in the months since I left. I don't want to look like I'm trying to take credit for great new efforts and ideas there, but neither do I want to disassociate myself (or be disassociated) from the site. I'm proud of my work there, and for my role in helping shape the site. Should I make a point of including a "...where I used to write..." disclaimer before links there? Or assume that anybody who's reading me now probably came here because of the WC connection?