Operating In Challenging Environments Fundamentals, Masterclass


OCE Fundamentals is available for organisational bookings.

Contact us for availability and pricing.

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The greatest insights, experiences, and opportunities often lay outside the boundaries of our, and our organisation’s comfort levels. Whether it’s travelling to new cultures or markets, places with minimal infrastructure, or a variable rule of law. 

What is the optimal mindset for operating in these challenging environments? What are the skills, tools and processes that should be in place that maintain the optimal balance between risk and reward? What are our legal and moral obligations to do the right thing by our local team, the people we interact with and our organisation? And how to do it in such a way that informs and inspires our teams, while managing risk and maintaining the integrity of the organisation?

Studio D has extensive experience of running design, research and strategy projects on the ground in some of the world’s more volatile places, often for months at a time. For the OCE Fundamentals Masterclass we’ve partnered with the team at Spartan9, specialists in risk assessment, mitigation, and evacuations to develop a curriculum that combines the best of nimble research practices with agency-grade mindset and processes.

We believe that empowered teams deliver better results.


The focus of this module will be twofold: to learn how to plan an evacuation, and to learn when to execute it.

We'll begin the module by explaining what an evacuation is, and what types of incidents would require you to evacuate you and your team. 

We’ll share decision-making frameworks that will enable you to know the right time to initiate the evacuation. This is probably the most difficult part of an evacuation. If you leave it too late, you may place you and your team at serious risk. 

We'll spend time discussing the three main options for evacuation—air, land, and sea. You'll learn the advantages and disadvantages of each option, giving you the tools to be able to select the right option for the right circumstance.

Then we'll bring our attention to the core of the module, which is how to actually plan a security evacuation. We'll walk you through the process step-by-step, using examples from actual operations to highlight key aspects of the process.

We'll also share the pitfalls you may face along the way, which could not only derail the evacuation, but also place you and your team at risk. 

You'll then have the opportunity to put theory into practice, by planning an actual evacuation out of a higher-risk location.


  • Learn why evacuations are necessary, and when you might need to conduct one.
  • Learn how to determine the optimum time to evacuate.
  • Develop the skills necessary to plan an evacuation.
  • Avoid pitfalls during planning and execution.
  • Access to specialist planning tools and checklists.


The masterclass will be delivered via Zoom video conferencing with hands-on break out activities—as well as allocated time for conversations drawing on collective wisdom of the participants.


The workshop is for anyone who travels to, or who works in challenging environments, whether working in-house or as a freelancer/consultant, journalists, NGOs, expedition leads, and adventurous travellers.


OCE Fundamentals is lead by Grant Rayner, the founder of Spartan9 and adviser to Studio D across a range of projects.

Grant has spent the last seventeen years working across Asia and the Middle East as a security and crisis response consultant, solving difficult problems in challenging environments. Prior to this, he served thirteen years in the military in a range of special operations and intelligence roles.

He brings a wealth of diverse real world experiences to the masterclass from protecting maritime vessels from pirates, establishing security protocols in volatile regions, negotiating with warlords, to extracting nationals in life-or-death situations.