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Crisis Management 3.0: Between robots and big data, what’s left for humans?

I like to spread the idea that robots will soon be able to manage corporate crises thanks to big data, metadata, IT improvement such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, and especially to deep learning. It always blows public relations professionals and managers away! But the fundamental question persists: What will remain for humans in crisis management when robots take over?

What is Crisis Management 3.0?

Crises 3.0 appeared chronologically after the crises 1.0 and 2.0 and generally follows the marketing evolution model and the WWW one. It is strategically adapted to the distinct environment of crisis management and halfway between practice and applied research.

Companies are operating into a high-speed era as the rapid spread of information, rumours, and fake news on social networks increases the risk of major organizational crises. To face this new reality, business managers must now adopt new tactics of crisis management, new IT tools, and adapt very quickly to any eventuality to protect the reputation of their organization. Big data and artificial intelligence turn out to be valuable allies.

For example, in a recent PwC/Harvard study, 65% of CEOs admitted to having experienced a crisis in the last three years and 73% said they thought their company would face at least one crisis in the next three years . These figures reflect the uncertainty climate experienced by business leaders in recent years. Add to this climate of uncertainty a lack of knowledge about recent technological changes so that managers face a great deal of stress. According to a recent study in Reputation Today and Forbes, public relations and crisis management would be the sixth most stressful job after being a police officer, pilot, firefighter, and military.

Have you missed Crisis Management 1.0 and 2.0?

No, you haven’t missed anything! In fact, you may have experienced crisis management 1.0 and 2.0 without naming the concepts. Crisis management 3.0 is an update of version 2.0 (based on web 2.0, which is associated to social networks and participative internet) and 1.0 (behaviour oriented, where the manager practices in empathy, transparency and emotional intelligence). This model is adapted to technological changes and other aspects related to business operations. While focusing on the crisis manager and his/her team, it integrates big data and AI. It also focuses on listening to all decisive factors such as societal and environmental values, stakeholders and the exchange between these factors and organisations.

Do the new tools help lower the managers’ stress?

More than ever, managers are facing an increasingly fast-paced way of professional life, where technological tools confine them to 24/7 availability where work comes first. Studies confirm, managers and PR managers have never been so stressed on an ongoing basis. The answer is yes, the new tools help reduce managers’ stress during corporate crises.

Why SME managers should be interested in crises 3.0

We often hear the inaccurate statement: “Big data is for big international companies and it only affects social networks”. Big data, metadata, artificial intelligence and deep learning concern many business units, if not the whole organisation, especially business communication and marketing. Crisis management 3.0 includes an important crisis preparation component and this stage is also very useful to the business communication strategy. Although the jump is sometimes considered expensive in time and money, the return on investment is easily demonstrable.

Do you want to understand Crisis Management 3.0 and its implications for your organizational strategy? Would you like to speak with a crisis management specialist about technological changes? Do you want to know more about crisis 3.0 readiness? Get in touch

Stéphane Prud’homme is an Associate of CS&A based in Montreal, Canada. He has over 20 years of crisis and emergency experience in Canada, in China and in Southeast Asia, with both large Canadian corporations and international agencies.

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