When confronted with a vexing challenge in the office or at home, one of my first reactions is to reach out to a trusted co-worker or friend to help problem-solve or generate new ideas. At 100RC we strive to create an environment where our Chief Resilience Officers (CROs) can do the same on a global scale, while leading resilience-building efforts in cities from Melbourne to Melaka to Mexico City.
One critical problem that 100RC helps cities overcome is the difficulty of sharing information about more and less successful initiatives and practice, which prevents existing resilience solutions from scaling. At the world’s first-ever CRO Summit in New Orleans in November 2014, we launched the 100RC Chief Resilience Officer Network to help break down barriers to sharing solutions and creative problem solving. This incredible event provided the first cohort of CROs the opportunity to come together for four intensive days to learn from one another and the living laboratory of New Orleans. It generated the personal and professional connections that are the bedrock of any strong peer-to-peer network.
Since then, we’ve hosted a global summit and regional summits so that city leaders, resilience teams, and partners can interact and further collaborate.
For a peer-to-peer network to be strong, its members must trust each other, and the network has to be grounded in the needs, priorities and voices of its members. In New Orleans, CROs told us what they need from the Network: a trusted peer venue of confidence and information sharing where they can be honest about successes and challenges; a force for collective resilience advocacy, leadership, and mobilization across 100RC member cities. We have been working to build on the foundation of personal and professional relationships built at the summit to establish channels for knowledge sharing that will foster the learning and solutions-bridging environment that our member cities want.
Our CROs are working in 80+ cities around the world, making technology a critical tool to keep them connected across time and geographies so they can continuously share their insights. We’ve established an online community to complement our regular convenings to make this collaboration possible.
But since the core of the Network is about people—not tools—we are also creating means for CROs to can share deep, rich experiences and contextualize their learning with one another in meaningful ways. This spring we launched a CRO Network Exchange Program through which member cities have the opportunity to co-create immersive learning experiences around common resilience challenges they face—like Durban, Melbourne, and New Orleans coming together to explore the intersection of biodiversity protection, water security, and climate change in their cities. Network exchanges will be a powerful means to strengthen connections among CROs—and perhaps just as importantly, between CROs’ resilience teams—and begin building a collective, global resilience-building knowledge base.
Beyond these formal 100RC Network channels, CROs are reaching out to one another regularly to share insights on their work, celebrate successes, and support each other. It’s amazing to witness the energy of these pioneering urban resilience leaders as they deepen their connections and make this Network their own. As we look ahead to future summits and convenings, we continue to seek out new ways to marshal the incredible enthusiasm, experience, and intellect of our CROs into the Network they want to create: a powerful, peer-led catalyst for resilience building across the world.