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frog's FEMA Disaster Relief Innovation

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Find out how the design firm frog helped FEMA create a plan for a community-run disaster relief program in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
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frog's FEMA Disaster Relief Innovation
Video duration: 0s 24m 53s Appropriate for all


It can be a few days or a few weeks between the time when disaster strikes and relief organizations can respond; in the meantime, communities are left fending for themselves. FEMA wanted to make sure help was available before its workers arrived. So after Hurricane Sandy, the organization reached out to frog, a Manhattan-based design firm that had felt the effects of the disaster in its own backyard. Learn how frog's designers and artists paired with government officials to draft a plan that bridges the gap between informal and formal relief efforts, and make sure communities are prepared ahead of time. Their print playbook for implementing community-run disaster recovery centers (DRCs) proves that design can help solve problems even on the largest scale.



Dino:We were invited into a round table discussion with FEMA's field innovation team to discuss the events of Sandy. This was the first time that a government agency, such as FEMA, approached a design agency, such as Frog. Liesje:We've identified key ways that FEMA can work with communities ahead of time to really prepare for a response. We bring a lot of different people with different mindsets into 1 room and get them to start to think about creative solutions to a problem.

Robert:In this case, we take people from the federal government, from FEMA, to sort of bring them together in an environment in which they feel comfortable as part of a creative process to shift the dynamics for how people works. Liesje:Often creating some kind of artifact, like a book, is a great way to make sure that an idea has legs. Dino:With the design of the book, we wanted it to be approachable and minimal and something that can be taken seriously. Liesje:The more clarity that we could bring to the disaster recovery experience, the better a job we would do.

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