On Standby Doesn’t Mean Always-On: An Update on the SBTF

We’re continuing to learn a lot at the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF), and yes, that’s an understatement. While we only launched this initiative less than a year and a half ago, we’ve been involved in some 20 deployments since. The combined learning from all of these deployments has been tremendous and we’ve done our very best to both publicly document these lessons learned and to internalize them in our workflows and standard operating procedures. As this global volunteer network continues to evolve in exciting ways, however, the need to pace ourselves is as important as ever.

It’s very easy to get caught up with back-to-back deployments and side deployments. But being a standby network doesn’t mean that we should be always-on. We’re looking for quality rather than quantity. Standby simply means that we should be prepared to deploy should an activating organization require support. The quiet time in-between is important for a volunteer network; not only to collectively catch our breaths but equally importantly to innovate. Yes, innovation does emerge during times of crisis, but this type of innovation while at times brilliant is necessarily reactive and ad hoc at best. The quiet times allow for more in-depth reflection, critical thinking, thoughtful deliberation and scenario planning. These standby moments  allow us to improve workflows, try out new tools and reconsider certa

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  1. Posted March 29 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    That sounds all good :)

  2. Posted March 29 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you Patrick! All excellent points. Lulls like this are ideal times to work on all the things you’ve mentioned so the next time SBTF is called on, we will be better prepared. (It’s also good in that it means people are figuring out ways to handle their own crises!) As for me I hope it lasts a bit longer so I can get through my first year PhD assessment and then have some time to work on training materials and maybe even give a presentation here at Cambridge!

    Carol Jean Gallo
    Report Team Coordinator

  3. Posted March 29 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks Carol!