Re-imagining Disaster Relief

John O’Leary, long-time Tom Peters Company associate, submitted this blog post.

What has transpired in New Orleans is a national tragedy. The public’s response to the government’s response has been one of outrage. Understandably. Who’s to blame? is, of course, the question of the week. But is it the most valuable question in the long run—one that will yield answers that lead to innovative solutions and substantive change that can prevent such devastation in the future? (I’m not denying that local and national leaders need to be held accountable. I’m more concerned with what happens AFTER the plank-walking and head-rolling.) Here are a couple of alternative questions. “How do we create the right forum (and I don’t mean a congressional investigation) to re-imagine disaster prevention, preparedness, and relief?” “What private-public partnerships/alliances can be created that don’t depend so heavily on federal assistance?”

What questions would YOU offer? Suggestion: a question that gives you a sense of smug superiority or self-righteous satisfaction is probably NOT the most useful one if it perpetuates the blame spiral that handicaps creative thinking and collective action.

John OLeary posted this on September 6, 2005, in News.
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