TRS.20.042 – Towards a new approach of resilient crisis management

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 050 What is the secret of a resilient society?

Globalization and its resulting interdependencies have led to unparalleled economic growth, yet has also made us vulnerable to disturbances, as these can more easily spread precisely due to these interdependencies (e.g., COVID-19). This can lead to major crises in for example healthcare, ecology, and/or the economy. One of the most disturbing consequences of such crises is social and political destabilization, potentially leading to serious societal disruption. Social and political destabilization occur as an interaction between the outside disturbance (for example a virus, flooding, or a cyber-attack) and pre-existing systemic features: a crisis amplifies systemic weak spots. Rather than waiting for the next crisis to occur, we are in urgent need of knowledge that allows us to ‘stress test’ systemic features of current society, enabling us to anticipate rather than merely respond. In other words: we need a new form of resilient crisis management.
Research to date on crisis management has primarily focused on responding to crises, rather than anticipating on them. In order to design a new form of resilient crisis management there is a need to understand, amongst others, the nature and occurrence of systemic weak spots, how they affect the social and political climate, which vulnerable groups can be distinguished and the role of underlying value systems. Insight into these mechanisms allow for developing models to stress test the effects of several different crises and to develop tools and guidelines to reduce the risk of societal disruption.
Designing resilient crisis management can only be achieved through a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together knowledge of human behavior, system dynamics and modeling, work and employability, critical infrastructure, public administration and technology such as predictive AI. It is the explicit intention to involve, in addition to the conventional crisis organizations, ecosystems of other social organizations (companies, cyber security parties, social groups).


crisis management, disaster resilience, preparation, system modeling

Other organisations

Leiden University (LEI), Safety Institute (IFV), Universiteit Twente (UT), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


Organisation TNO
Name Prof. dr. J.H. (José) Kerstholt