Sunday, 9 December 2012

Working in the Pressure Cooker in Rotterdam

By title, we are a group of Flood Risk Managers. Accordingly, when the news of an event organised as part of the Rotterdam Flood Risk conference for students interested in Flood Risk and related subjects was brought to our attention, there was significant interest from the members of our course. The student event in question was the ‘24hour Pressure Cooker’, in which 20 students were split into groups, locked in a room for 24 hours and left to work on a flood-related serious game. This may not sound entirely desirable, but it was actually an event that many of the course were interested in attending, especially since we were given a free week in our Barcelona class schedule to encourage our attendance.

After a thorough application process, six members of the course were selected to attend the event, which also gave us an excuse to return to our previously beloved Delft. After a day of acclimatising to the much colder, wetter Dutch weather (Barcelona was still experiencing gorgeous weather!) and catching up with friends and staff at UNESCO-IHE, we were off to Rotterdam for the Pressure Cooker. Meeting at a ferry port, we were transported to an industrial island in the harbours of Rotterdam – there was literally no escape from this event for the next 24 hours.

Upon our arrival, we six students from the Flood Risk Management (2011-13) batch were extremely pleased to meet another selected student from the Flood Risk Management (2012-14) batch! Daria, a Russian student that we can only assume is a direct equivalent of our own Maria, confirmed that the future of the FRM course is in capable hands. The six seven of us were then split into six groups to focus on one of three topics: Stakeholder participation in Bangkok, Innovative use of Dike-breach data and Dike reinforcement using vegetation. Our challenge was then to create the concept of a serious game (defined as a virtual or physical game designed to educate those who play) on the above topics over a sleepless night. 24 hours of work culminated in a pitch (performed still with no sleep) in front of leading industry officials from a number of European consultancies.

The room in which we worked in overnight as
part of the 24 hour pressure cooker.
It was a rewarding experience in which I am sure all of us learnt a lot about how we work in a team and under pressure. And on limited sleep. And on a diet formed mostly of bread-based food. After tough assessment of our pitches and concepts, the judges selected the serious game that they felt had the greatest potential. After much tension building on the final stage, a team containing two of our very own FRM students (Lydia and Shristi) were selected, being awarded their prize of shiny iPads. All participants of the event and the professionals involved in judging were quick to congratulate on the manner and magnitude of the groups success. And it was a brilliant moment to see FRM represented - especially since the final pitch upon which the games were assessed was given fantastically by our Shristi.

The pressure cooker also provided us with free entry to the Flood Risk 2012 conference in Rotterdam, providing us with the opportunity to hear the cutting-edge research from the field of flood risk. Also, it gave many of us an opportunity to try and chase up a thesis topic, with mixed success. The conference and it's participants proved a pleasant ending to an intense 48 hours, with our efforts rewarded with much respect given by the professionals that we met. Hopefully our future lives in Flood Risk Management will prove to be less intense than the Pressure Cooker event and our trip to Holland, but hopefully it may also prove to be as rewarding and beneficial.


Richard Vause

1 comment:

  1. "The only Diffrence whic i can see is the need of , Risk acceptance comes into the picture the asset owner accept the risk,.