LONGRISK strengthens the far-sighted management of complex environmental disruptions in Finnish cities with the help of strategic situation room exercises. The exercises help the cities to improve their long-term strategic planning capabilities in a situation where exceptionally large and complex environmental crises occur annually.
The cooperation partners of LONGRISK are the cities of Helsinki, Tampere and Kotka. Two strategic situation room exercises were organized in each city in 2022. The first exercise was directed at the officials and experts of the city. The second one was with the mayors, party leaders and some of the experts who had participated in the first exercise. In both exercises the participants were requested to imagine being in a real situation room, where the starting point is an imaginary situation in 2025: exceptionally large and complex environmental crises have been recurring for several years, which has persuaded the city leaders to immediately reassess their strategic plans for facing future environmental crises.
In 2020-2021, LONGRISK focused on detailed planning of the situation room exercises and the audiovisual dashboards used in them. In 2022, six situation rooms were organized. In 2023, LONGRISK focuses on developing a detailed protocol for Finnish cities to manage the build-up of complex long-term risks.
Initial results indicate that organizing the exercises in two stages – first with the city experts alone, then with the experts and the politicians together – has its benefits. In the first exercise with the experts, the city participants developed alternative solutions to alleviate the strategic threats LONGRISK researchers had identified. To engage the participants cognitively, the participants were asked to familiarize themselves with the strategic threats and prioritize them before the exercise. To engage them affectively, the exercise began with a 10-minute dashboard consisting of a mock-up TV climate news program, a weather report with map-based animations of a storm and flooding event in the city center (developed by FMI), and a 3-D drone view animation of the flood in the city. In the second exercise with the experts and the politicians, the participants were asked to choose and refine the best strategic alternatives to alleviate the strategic threats that the experts had identified in the first exercise.