Design for Excellence or for Cost?

The speed of innovation in information technology and information systems is very rapid and results in so many promising solutions. This means that crisis response organizations today have more and better possibilities to find useful tools to improve information access, analysis, and information sharing than ever before. But….

The problem is that much of the very exciting innovation takes place in organizations typically delivering solutions for military purposes. Such solutions is associated with a price tag completely out of range for small community response organizations. The system vendors seems to design for excellence. This is a head on conflict with the user community where design for cost ( and typically low-cost) is of more importance.

When the system vendors continue to design for excellence and boldly ignores the cost side, user organizations will be forced to look for other alternatives. In the next few years we will probably see very advance emergency and disaster response solutions that is completely designed by the use of social software services based on components and interfaces from Facebook, Google Maps, Flickr and Youtube. Open source initiatives such as Sahana and organizations such as INSTEDD are clear indicators of this trend.

Very few organizations can afford proprietary and expensive systems to provide common operating picture, temporal information sharing, and mobile incident support. However, they might just might be interested in using similar applications when the cost is vastly reduced and availability on a global scale.

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