Students at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) currently enrolled in various master’s degree programs joined forces to contribute their skills in research, communications, technology, supply chain management, and disaster risk and crisis management via a COVID-19 Situation Room.
Created right after Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine last March 16, the situation room functions as a listening post and communications center, where the students collect and curate news reports and intelligence from a wide range of sources, both primary (contacts and networks) and secondary (online sources).
The vetted reports and recommendations are then shared not just with AIM leadership and the rest of the AIM community, but also with responders and decision makers from local government units, inter-agency task forces, councils, and businesses. A virtuous circle is then created, as recipients send back pertinent information from the frontlines.
The situation room is two-pronged, processing both reactive (social media, on-the-ground info) and proactive (decisions, policies, and guidelines) information. In addition to specific recommendations, the students also prepare daily situational reports, both designed to help craft research papers and policies later on.
Apart from lending their skills – acquired from their respective fields and honed via their studies at AIM’s Executive Master in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management (EMDRCM), Master in Development Management (MDM), and Master in Business Administration (MBA) programs – the students demonstrate leadership and collaborative proficiencies. Despite their numerous commitments (including ongoing online classes and work with their respective organizations), these student leaders found the time to help decision makers break through the noise of conflicting reports and unverified news, providing actionable recommendations which are critical in the fight against COVID-19.
The impact of this initiative is already being felt. The student volunteers provided advice to an LGU seeking to assist stranded families amidst movement limitations. They were also able to help startups in the food distribution industry (through recommendations on efficient delivery routes) as well as other advice ranging from financial to logistical, continually mindful of the constraints and the reality on the ground.
Keywords: COVID-19, situation room, crisis, communications, information, news, research, disaster, health, logistics, finance, leadership, collaboration
words by Bernardino Jiao