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Fighting against COVID-19's guerrilla tactics

COVID-19 is a decentralized network that strikes anywhere, then vanishes into the population. Better training, budget, equipment fail here.

Photo of Bernd Karlsboeck
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Disclaimer: The below text references the US lead war in Iraq and is only meant to create a better understanding of managerial structures. In no way is the text meant to be biased and does not support or condemn actions during this war.

It’s no secret that in any field, small teams using guerilla tactics have many ad­vantages—they can respond quickly, communicate freely, and make decisions without layers of bureaucracy. Large organizations on the other hand need management practices that can scale to thousands of people.

Any virus acts just as decentralized as these small guerrilla teams and we, as a society, act as a slow and usually well organised structure. The more developed our structure is the harder it hits us. (Decisions take days, implementing regulations takes weeks, jobs are lost because helpful actions might even be illegal in our structure)
General McChrystal led a hierarchical, highly disci­plined machine of thousands of men and women. But to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, his Task Force would have to acquire the enemy’s speed and flexibility. Was there a way to combine the power of large military numbers with the agility of their enemy network? If so, could the same principles apply in civilian organizations?


McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the Task Force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined extremely transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to ex­tend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade earlier. The Task Force became a “team of teams” - faster, flatter, more flex­ible.


1. Share goals not just regulations:

For a long time people where helpless, not knowing how to act. Most goverments only published simple rules without sharing what the actual goal or motivation behind them is.

Instead goverments need to share goals and what they want to achieve. In our case of COVID-19 it was to flatten the curve to not make our health system collapse. As soon as people understood the WHY they acted responibly sometimes following the rules but - and this is more important - DID WHATEVER NECESARY TO BRING SOCIETY TOWARDS THIS COMMON GOAL. 

2. Flexible metrics and a good feedback loop to discover small success or failures quickly:

Currently there is no way for experts to know how emergency regulations positively or negatively affect the future of a pandemia. There is no feedback loop in place other than infection numbers going up or down.

Randomn successes like the south korean drive through test model was adopted in the US by pure chance because of its media coverage... but WE NEED A BETTER FEEDBACK LOOP BETWEEN PEOPLE AND DECISION MAKERS TO FIND BEST PRACTICES QUICKLY.

If we can find a way to do this we could harness everyones individual creativity and act as one.

Upload or share a link to this resource/message/source of information to share it with others.

Link to the book of the general i mentioned before

Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

I managed large teams of engineers. Other managers rarely let high level information pass down the managerial pyramid resulting in teams of brainless zombies who cannot  manage changing situations.

I (to the dismay of my own manager) always gave full transparency to everyone and trusted my team to act responsibly because they knew our common high level goal. Often they came up with solutions making it easier for us all to achieve goals.

This got me almost fired 2 times because grandpa managers love secrecy for some reason but the result where always great and my team received massive recognition.

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

Talking to other people

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • News: Television

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?

The common goal

How successes are measured

A feedback loop from people to decision makers

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

Everyone who isnt actively looking to understand why regulations are being put kn place

What is your current profession?

Researcher / innovation consultant / industrial designer / AI developer

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?



Join the conversation:

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Welcome to the challenge Bernd Karlsboeck . We love your idea around re-imagining tactics especially with regards to communications. Looking to see what other insights and experiences you might pick from the other ideas shared by community members

Photo of Bernd Karlsboeck

Checking them out already ;)

Photo of Bernd Karlsboeck

Actually i wasnt able to find any other posts... are they visible already?

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Yes, you should be able to see them on the brief home page here: