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Disaster Resilience Strategy

The Tool for Systemic Change is being used to measure and monitor the portfolio of initiatives that are strategically aligned to the South Australian Disaster Resilience Strategy and which are funded through South Australia's Disaster Resilience Grants

Financing Transitions

Government of South Australia

About South Australia's Disaster Resilience Strategy

In 2016 the South Australia Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) embarked on developing the State’s first disaster resilience strategy applying a user centred design approach. This involved putting the users needs at the centre of the strategy, and engaging all stakeholders in its development. Over 500 people across the emergency management sector, NGOs, businesses and community members contributed their thoughts, ideas and solutions to the Strategy. 

This new Strategy, titled Stronger Together,  focussed on ‘community resilience’ and took a whole of systems approach to tackling disaster resilience in South Australia. The co-design process highlighted 4 focus areas of the Strategy:

  • Informed and connected neighbourhoods and communities

  • Children and young people 

  • Prepared and adaptable small businesses  

  • Strategic and connected networks

Measuring and monitoring South Australia's Disaster Resilience Strategy

With this whole of system approach identified, SAFECOM looked for tools to map, track and measure the implementation and impact of the Strategy across the multi-agency, multi-sector, multi-causal problem of disaster resilience. 

Wicked Lab's Tool for Systemic Change was identified as the tool to support the measuring and monitoring of the Strategy's impact, and the projects aligned to the Strategy's system transition. SAFECOM's Disaster Resilience team undertook the Complex Systems Leadership Program, which built the capacity of the team to take a complexity-informed approach to system change and to use the Tool for Systemic Change. 


Insights and Learnings

The Tool for Systemic Change is currently being used to measure and monitor the portfolio of initiatives that are strategically aligned to the Strategy and are funded through South Australia's Disaster Resilience Grants

A Transition Card was developed that mapped all the initiatives funded under the 2019-20 round. This showed how these initiatives were working together as a system, and where across Wicked Lab's nine focus areas for systemic change, there were opportunities to strengthen activities. These insights are being used to shape funding criteria for future rounds of grants funding. 

Key learnings and insights from using the Tool for Systemic Change are: 


  1. The need to take a systems approach - activities don’t happen in isolation and initiatives can have a positive and negative impact across the system

  2. Have a process to identify and monitor gaps - this provides visibility of where the gaps are in the system are and what is changing overtime

  3. Develop and test strategies to address these gaps - small innovations across the system can have a large impact

  4. Engage stakeholders across the system in the process - strengthen networks and collaboration across the system

  5. Build resilience into the system - this will enable us to respond to inevitable future shocks and disruptions faster and have the capacity to adapt and even take advantage of the opportunities that they bring


Next steps

SAFECOM is engaging with other agencies in the disaster resilience sector and demonstrating how the Tool for Systemic Change is being used to monitor and measure the strategy's impact.  Alongside this, the team are collecting strategic initiatives, actions and projects that other agencies are undertaking that are contributing to building disaster resilience in South Australia and adding these to the Transition Card to build a broader picture of the whole disaster resilience solution ecosystem. 

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