Tove Frykmer, MSc
PhD student, Lund University, Sweden
Visiting Scholar, CCRM


Within the dynamic context of crises, traditional problem solving models have been accused of being too sequential, simplistic and time-consuming to be applicable. My colleagues and I believe that collective improvisation is a promising framework for crisis management.

In my previous CCRM presentation, I described my work on collective improvisation, as well as the difficulties my colleagues and I experienced in our efforts to use existing problem solving theories and our own findings to establish a framework. Until we have a better understanding of how to explain and assess collective improvisation, we believe that a more pragmatic approach is to analytically frame our focus of attention as “collective problem solving.”

Acknowledging that the area of problem solving is vast, and that concepts vary between disciplines and contexts, I have nevertheless identified theories to use as a starting point. Traditional problem solving models have been criticized as too sequential, simplistic and time-consuming to be applied to the dynamic context of a crisis. An approach consisting of more dynamic models — such as Gary Klein’s non-linear problem solving or the “instinctive” System 1 versus the “analytical” System 2 thinking, as popularized by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman — may be more suitable. To my knowledge, these theories have been applied mostly in an individual context, whereas studies on collectives are rare, which motivates our research on collective problem solving.

During my time at UC Berkeley and CCRM, I have launched an empirical study on problem solving, where I have taken an explorative approach to find out how, descriptively, crisis management professionals solve problems together. I have conducted observations and interviews and will share my preliminary findings.

Further, one of my main goals as a Visiting Scholar to UC Berkeley and CCRM has been to become aware of differences and similarities in how crisis management is handled, both in practice and in theory, between my context (Sweden, engineering background) and California/USA. I will take the opportunity to share some of my experiences at the CCRM meeting.

Tove Frykmer, MSc.

Ms. Frykmer is a doctoral student at the Division of Risk Management and Societal Safety at Lund University, Sweden. She is also affiliated with Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM). She holds a M.Sc. in Industrial Management and Engineering from Lund University, and worked for several years in the private sector as a logistics consultant and project manager. In this position, she travelled extensively, working in Denmark, Norway, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, China and Australia, as well as in Sweden. After some years in business, she decided to pursue a M.Sc. in Disaster Management from Copenhagen University, which eventually led her the position as a doctoral student at Lund University.

Her broader research area revolves around a project called “Adaptive Command & Control and Collaboration Within the Swedish Crisis Management,” of which she is part. Her focus is on cognitive aspects of decision-making, specifically improvisation and problem solving in disasters. Currently, she is working together with fellow researchers on a paper on improvisation and problem solving as a means to understand collective performance. While at UCB, Berkeley, she will perform empirical research based on this paper to understand the problem solving process.


Meeting Recording (link coming soon)

Meeting Presentation (link coming soon)

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