Training micro-communities

Prepare to be unprepared

How do you get people ready to act in a crisis if you only have their attention for a few hours every few years?

A different approach to preparedness

Our research-driven training is designed to motivate people to take action in a crisis, and promote the skills they need to improvise leadership.

Trainings immerse a micro-community, such as a group of neighbors, in a real-time role-playing crisis simulation. They experience some of the shock, confusion, and chaos of crisis. Without any advance preparation, participants must work together to improvise and adapt solutions to realistic challenges.

Learning to act

Our immersive learning experiences engage people in their everyday settings. Our goal is to foster the confidence they need to act in the face of uncertainty, rely on themselves, and improvise creative solutions with strangers. The experience also motivates participants to act on best practices for preparedness.

Learning by discovery

Experience is the best teacher. Our immersive simulations provide a stimulating setting in which people can discover their own capabilities and make mistakes safely. We incorporate live-action roleplay techniques to make experiences fun, and keep participants emotionally and intellectually engaged.

Learning together

Our immersive learning experiences increase social resilience by engaging everyone in the micro-community with challenges that require both individual and collective action. This experience encourages families to assess their own state of readiness, take responsibility for the well-being of their micro-community, and connect to a larger network of community resources.

Whole community learning

Communities that play together before a crisis stay together in a crisis. We work with community organizations to enable them to deliver our immersive learning experiences in their communities. In this way, community organizations forge new connections, deepen their understanding of local needs, and increase community engagement.

Current training projects

Neighborhood earthquake

Our flagship learning experience invites a group of neighbors to “get through” the weeks following a catastrophic earthquake. The micro-community must solve problems that arise in their homes and around the neighborhood, with only the people and resources at hand.

Pandemic earthquake

In the midst of disaster, we continue to prepare for disaster. We have adapted our neighborhood earthquake to happen in the presence of COVID-19, and we conduct the simulation by videoconference. Participants face the same problems, but the neighborhood is virtual.

Community partners

We are talking to local community organizations about enabling them to lead our disaster simulations in their communities. Together we adapt our learning experiences to local needs, seed a base of experienced trainers, run pilot events, and develop a sustainable program.

Get involved


We could use help to refine educational and logistical design of learning experiences. We know that, with further research and design, our immersive experiences can deliver ever-stronger learning outcomes. Also, this new and rapidly changing world continues to push us to re-invent how they are delivered.


We are looking for someone to help us to develop and maintain partnerships with community organizations that want to prepare their communities to be unprepared. Our goal is to enable community organizations to deliver our learning experiences in ways that suit their communities.


We are looking for community-based organizations who would like to engage with local communities using our immersive learning approach. Collaborations will benefit communities by strengthening social resilience, and us by providing the evidence we need to improve learning experiences and community support.

“This changed my thinking a lot. I am more prepared to think, plan, and act.”

Neighborhood earthquake participant

Partners in learning