From individual behavior to collective action

Our present efforts are centered on the role of individuals in community-level crisis response. Our research aims to develop a theory of spontaneous leadership in crisis. Our learning focus is on practice of the basic skills of spontaneous leaders. We are directing our engagement at community organizations, leadership researchers, and learning experts.

Future efforts will include formal response organizations, and integration between improvised and planned responses.

Projects we’re pursuing actively

Neighborhood Disaster Popup

In a neighborhood disaster popup, we ask a group of neighbors to enact their unstudied responses to a simulated disaster. After reflection, they have the chance to practice other possible responses. Experiences are designed to help individuals discover and practice their spontaneous leadership skills. They also work through a basic home preparedness checklist. Participants have fun together and strengthen community bonds in their actual neighborhood.

Our pilot event in Palo Alto CA was very successful. We are now planning a series of events for 2017 to refine the model and materials.

Community crisis course

Our community crisis courses focus on communities that are coping with ongoing internal conflict. We conduct a series of pre-event workshops with representatives from different community parties. These explore how a spontaneous leader might change the outcome of a critical incident. They also look at what local conditions prevent individuals from stepping up. We then use these insights to develop learning experiences tailored to the community.

We are planning our pilot course in Milwaukee. It deals with gun violence.

Projects we’re thinking about

Research roundtables

We combine emergent leadership and improvised crisis response. There are others who are interested in each…

Our publications

Heroism in Times of Crisis: Understanding Leadership during Extreme Events
Zeno E. Franco. Handbook of Heroism and Heroic Leadership. 2016.

Community Views of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s ‘Whole Community’ Strategy in a Complex US City: Re-envisioning Societal Resilience
Heather Koch, Zeno E. Franco, Tracey O’Sullivan, Mia C. DeFino, Syed Ahmed. Technology Forecasting and Social Change. 2016.

Live Action Role-Playing (Larp): Insight Into an Underutilized Educational Tool
Aaron Vanek, Andrew Peterson. Learning, Education and Games. 2016.

Using Social Network Analysis to Explore Issues of Latency, Connectivity, Interoperability & Sustainability in Community Disaster Response
Zeno Franco, Syed Ahmed, Craig Kuziemsky, Paul Biedrzycki, Anne Kissack. 10th International ISCRAM Conference. 2013.

Heroism: A Conceptual Analysis and Differentiation between Heroic Action and Altruism
Zeno E. Franco, Kathy Blau, Philip G. Zimbardo. Review of General Psychology. 2011.

You Get What You Plan For! (.key)
Susanne Jul. 7th International ISCRAM Conference. 2010.

Structuring the Problem Space of User Interface Design for Disaster Response Technologies
Susanne Jul. Information Systems For Emergency Management. 2009.

Prepare to be Unprepared: Human Resources
Susanne Jul. WCDM presentation. 2007.