Emerging Reservist Cultures

From stories of resilience to network preparedness

  • May 26, 2023

We are facing unprecedented challenges, including climate change, political instability, and global pandemics. In this context, emergency preparedness has become an urgent priority for policymakers, researchers, makers and civil society groups.

During 2,5 years, the RESERVIST project coordinated by Centexbel has been a playground for envisioning, developing and testing the concept of ‘reservist cells’ in the area of manufacturing. It showcased how local production networks can play a crucial role in disaster-response.The project has also highlighted the importance of integrating these networks within other initiatives and creating a more structured policy framework at the local and global scales.

As Fab Lab Barcelona, we took part in the project and we are appealing to share the main results, emphasizing some key insights for makers and designers wishing to participate in emerging Reservist Cultures. By learning from past crises and continually improving our response strategies, we can work to become more resilient and better equipped to handle future challenges as they arise.

Don’t miss the legacy of the Reservist project

We picked four results that we recommend to you, as inspirations, practical tools and research pieces that will support you in better understanding what’s reservist and reflecting on main lessons learnt from the project.

Open Resource Series

The Reservist partners have developed a new Open Resource Series of videos with the goal of showcasing the consortium’s expertise, highlighting the current RESERVIST products and their agile manufacturing lines, and sharing key lessons learned from each partner.

The videos cover four key topics that are crucial in today’s fast-changing world:

  • Resilience and Emergency Crisis Management
  • Re-designing products and manufacturing lines
  • Certifications, platform and open sources practices
  • Networks and Business Models

The videos are available now on the consortium’s YouTube channel, which you can access here. 

Resilient Makers Stories

An online chat series was hosted where invited guests shared their personal experiences of responding to moments of crisis. The aim was to collaboratively work on a shared vision, align values, and develop best practices responding to how we cultivate a resilient and responsive distributed design community. The chat series was facilitated by Jean Luc Pierite and Vikrant Mishra, as part of the MDEF Residency Program.

The videos are available now on our YouTube channel, which you can access here.

Reservist Atlas of Weak Signals

Preparedness is fundamental for people to better react to crises. Onboarding people to anticipate, think on possible scenarios and reflect on how to collectively respond to them is a core part of the process. Reservist partners have designed and tested a tool to help people experience emergency situations, identify the need for interventions, and envision how a reservist network could provide relevant products and services.

What better than customizing the Atlas of Weak Signals to envision future scenarios?

The Atlas of the Weak Signals is a toolkit designed by Mariana Quintero, transforming the research of weak signals led by Jose Luis Vincente into a practical space to navigate and understand possible emerging scenarios based on underlying trends in our current world. It is an exercise that facilitates seeking opportunities, threats, challenges and shared visions for innovation, policymaking, intervention, research and business opportunities in the future.

Discover the Reservist Atlas of Weak signals

Acting on this approach, the team developed the RAWS tools (Reservist Atlas of Weak Signals tool). By playing this design game, participants gain a better understanding of emergency management and can identify and analyze future opportunities for the network. The tool helps to build resilience and encourage a proactive approach to crisis management, rather than simply reacting to emergencies as they occur.

How to play it?

RAWS consists of a deck of 5 types of cards that respectively challenge you in defining emergency situations and the associated needed products and services, exploring the stakeholders of your networks, responding to alerts and finding new areas of opportunity to expand your creativity in times of crisis.

Various applications are possible according to the use content, from 2-hours discovery workshops to longer sessions. The tool was tested with students and professionals, with online and physical settings.

Check out:

The book “Emerging Reservist Cultures”

If you have to pick one, we recommend you to select this book.

Indeed, we have cooked a book, entitled “Emerging Reservist Cultures”, as a visual journey to better understand what Reservist cultures might look like. It is a collection of inspiring stories of resilient practitioners and design practices to help envision and plan for the future development and consolidation of reservist networks.

With this book, we hope to encourage stakeholders, policymakers, industry leaders, researchers, makers, and the general public to be better prepared for emergency situations.

Check out:

Let’s invite Reservist cultures across future projects

At the intersection between local production and search for resilience, we are convinced that the work realized in the Reservist project can serve to build future strategies and engagement for our glocal communities of makers and designers.

Check out our Manifesto

“We, as Reservists, recognize the importance of taking responsibility for our individual actions while engaging in acts of solidarity within our groups and communities – from NGOs to workspaces, to local communities and within our own spaces. We understand that preparedness and will to serve in times of need, is crucial for the survival of our communities. We pledge to think and act collectively, recognizing that we are part of a larger alliance and that our actions contribute to the collective effort. We are committed to promoting care, cooperation, agility, adaptability, diversity, quality, efficiency, and openness in all our endeavors, especially when supplying critical products and services to affected populations. We welcome a diversity of roles, perspectives, and engagements from companies, clusters, designers, makers, and all those who share our values. We strive to be adaptable, open-minded, and always ready to challenge our current activities, working towards rising diversity in the way we do things. As Reservists, we pledge to use our knowledge and skills to serve our communities and help create a more resilient and sustainable future for all.”

If you have any interests to feel part of the community,  or any questions to ask related to the work presented here, please feel free to reach out to our reservist maker cell: [email protected].

Thanks to all partners and a big thanks to Jean-Luc Pierite and Vikrant Mishra, MDEF Research Residents for their contributions and involvement in the project.

May 26, 2023