Community Resilience for Emerging Threats

by Mary Tyszkiewicz


Community resilience can be created via small group practices to respond to emerging threats, like accidents, disasters and terrorist emergencies. My case study research shows that that innovation happens when people care and connect in small groups of 16 or fewer in life-threatening situations. This natural process I found is described as the five-step Heroic Improv Cycle (Alert, Ready, Connect, Focus and Move), which describes how people work together to respond to emerging threats. I developed a training program called Heroic Improv to help small groups practice the abilities they need for high-stakes crises in a low-stakes practice. The Heroic Improv exercises are based on theater improvisation activities and have been tested with hundreds of participants in the U.S. and the Philippines.  The Heroic Improv program is time-efficient, inexpensive and effective to prepare communities for emerging threats. The author may be reached at


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