Crisis, crisis. Everywhere.

How can we help good ideas to become great grassroots responses?


When COVID-19 became a pandemic, we knew that spontaneous leaders and grassroots efforts would emerge all over. We felt a moral obligation to help them to succeed. Unfortunately, we didn’t know how. So we set out to learn.

We were delighted to receive many offers of help, including the UX Research team from Tableau Software, a number of General Assembly graduates, along with several people from our professional networks. The rather large team proved very valuable in finding study participants!

The goal of the project is to understand what grassroots crisis leaders need, and how we can support them.

Study design

Type of study Qualitative interview
Data collection May-July 2020
Participants Individuals who had started or tried to start a novel effort in response to COVID-19, and individuals who have experience supporting grassroots crisis responses.
Recruiting Personal invitation to individuals found on social media, news media, or by word of mouth.
Total interviews 10 individuals interviewed
10.5 hours of interview recordings


See the slides and recording of our preliminary research report-out. We are now starting to design the first of the service products outlined (a simple “7 habits of successful spontaneous leaders” infographic).

Our partners