Sep 4 • 4M

Making A Difference Made Simple

Weekly Round Up 9/4/2022

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This podcast features strategies and advice from today’s leaders and experts in emergency management. Its purpose is to empower and enrich current and future leaders.
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We are four days into National Preparedness Month, and I am challenging all of you to make a difference in our profession. It sounds hard. However, it can be simple. Improving yourself and becoming a better you will make a better profession. Lead by example, and others will follow. This brings me to the person we all can follow as an example.

Last week I wrote a piece on design thinking and emergency management. It was inspired by a conversation that I had with Brian Barnier. Just after the post went live,  I received an email from Desi Matel-Anderson, and for those who know Desi, it is for the work she has been doing. And the message was simple, hey Todd, remember that this is what I have been doing over the last ten years. The best part of her reaching out to me was that Brian and I talked about her great work over lunch.

This is true; Desi has been a driving force in moving emergency managers toward design thinking and action. She is the founder of the Field Innovation Team. FIT has the goal and purpose to “empower humans to create cutting-edge disaster solutions.”

I had the opportunity to interview Desi on a few subjects, including her excellent book Future Survivor. She states on the Future Survivor website. 

“Each personal roadblock I have faced in my life and every emergency I have been involved with since discovering the 3 Step Prep I have intentionally solved using this 3-step planning and preparation process. Defining each stage in that process in my mind and then applying the steps to my own crises has helped me not only discover my life’s purpose but myself. When these steps guide my day-to-day life decisions, beautiful things happen — that’s why I want to share the framework of this preparation process more broadly. It’s the reason for this book. From love lost and then found to being true to oneself, this book’s menagerie of stories is based on my life and loosely on the lives of others who have inspired me. Bringing you wanderlust, adventure, and 3 steps for optimal decision-making, Future Survivor is intended to help you, my dear reader, discover ways to creatively and successfully solve challenges in your life’s emergencies, large and small.” 

Desi has truly dedicated her life’s work toward making emergency managers better at thinking outside the box. She conducts “Do Tanks” and forces people to use unique solutions to complex and hairball problems. She tells stories about times she challenged group thinking by giving unnecessary wild solutions to problems. One thought was placing trampolines around a landslide so rescue workers could move freely and not get stuck. Would that have worked? She was not sure, but that thought process broke the mode of groupthink to find a solution that would.  

We need more of the work that Desi is doing, not less. We must break out of the traditional thinking model and be extreme in our process. Have fun with the process during blue sky days so that we have workable solutions, whether we are facing gray skies or black swan events.

Reach out to Desi and work with her. And also, buy her book at It would make an excellent gift for national preparedness month! 

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