ResponDrone’s design thinking workshop for first responders a great success

December 3, 2019

The international ResponDrone project special design thinking workshop, which took place in Thessaloniki, Greece on November 12–13, 2019, brought together industrial, technological and end-user partners of the consortium.

Twenty-five participants from 13 partner organisations representing 11 countries came together in order to align the needs of first responders with the ResponDrone system to be developed in the context of the ResponDrone project.

ResponDrone has begun developing an integrated solution for first responders to easily operate a fleet of drones with multiple synchronised missions to enhance their situation assessment capacity and their own protection. This system of systems will simplify and accelerate situation assessment and sharing, decision-making and operations management, while requiring only a small crew to operate it.

The organisers noted that while needs might vary from one partner to another, the common goal was to jointly build an effective system. The first day of the workshop was dedicated to understanding, identifying, describing and analysing the problems that first responder organisations encounter. 

Based on a rigorous succession of steps, participants were divided into three groups of some eight participants each who, through intense and systematic interactive interfacing, sought to capture the what, how and why of the first response system. 

The questions raised in the discussions involving first responders, scientists, researchers and industrial partners will be used as requirements for the ResponDrone system so that it will meet the needs and requirements of emergency response organisations.

“The emergency situations addressed by ResponDrone are complex and involve many stakeholders, making it particularly challenging to design a system that satisfies all requirements” said ResponDrone project coordinator Max Friedrich from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

“One of our main challenges in developing the ResponDrone system is to align the functionality of the new system with the actual needs of end users. The workshop will enable us to hear from our users what they would like to get from the system so that we can tune the design to their specific needs.”

Workshop participants included regional and national authorities in charge of first response, state agencies responsible for carrying out first response actions on the ground, rescue services and fire departments from Greece, France, Armenia, The Netherlands, Latvia, Bulgaria and Israel.

The Design Thinking Workshop, hosted by ResponDrone partner Region of Central Macedonia, focused on developing a set of tools and methods to solve future design problems in a way that is most beneficial for the end users of the ResponDrone system.