Newsletter No. 5 / July 2016

Welcome to the latest TESS Newsletter, with updates on recent research findings and dissemination activities. This includes an analysis of our case study community-based initiatives (CBIs) and an introduction to the ‘resilience compass’ which allows CBIs to assess the ability of their local community to withstand and use shocks as a stimulus for creative change. Learn more about TESS through our animated video and explore our case studies of CBIs in six European countries. Enjoy reading, watching and listening!

Table of contents

The TESS Resilience Compass – a tool for community-based initiatives in changing times

The TESS team is completing the development of a groundbreaking and innovative assessment tool for communities to evaluate their resilience in the face of risks such as economic shocks, societal degradation and climate change. The aim is to better equip community groups to deal with challenges in the future.

Resilience compass self-assessment filled in

The tool helps community initiative developers to understand the concept of discrete states of resilience by playing a fun, informative ‘tile moving’ game, then invites them to self-assess their own community and consider improvements that they can make, and finally to input key information to give a comparison against the sample of communities considered in the TESS research. The tool may be used online or for deeper interaction through a workshop involving community members.

The ‘Resilience Compass’ builds on two main ideas, developed by Wilding (2011):

1. a community may be in one of three distinct states of resilience:

  • Breakthrough: able to thrive on change and to use outside shocks as a stimulus to create a better future
  • Breakeven: able to cope with disruptions, absorb shocks and bounce back to something approximating ‘normal’
  • Breakdown: fragile and at risk of collapse without outside help

2. there are four broad dimensions that contribute to making a community resilient, focused around:

  • Healthy and Engaged People: individuals’ physical and psychological well-being, personal relationships, connection to nature, learning and sharing new skills
  • Creating a More Localised Economy Within Ecological Limits: the creation of a different sort of local economy which creates jobs, positively stewards the local environment and resources and cuts carbon dependence
  • Cross-Community Links: links, networks and partnerships with groups in other communities and across sectors
  • Building a Creative, Inclusive culture: how a community addresses social inclusion, justice and openness to novel ways of working

You find more information here.

Try the Resilience Compass! We would be very interested to get your feedback.

In case that your community group is interested in a facilitated workshop on resilience, please let us know.

Source: Wilding, N., 2011. Exploring community resilience in times of rapid change. What is it? How are people building it? Why does it matter?, Carnegie UK, Dunfermline.


Support for the use of the Resilience Compass

Information on how to use the resilience compass at its best is provided by:

In case that your community group is interested in a facilitated workshop on resilience, please let us know.


TESS @ 14th European Week of Regions and Cities

In collaboration with the European Commission, TESS and its two sister projects ARTS and PATHWAYS organise the session “Cities as actors of open innovation: Accelerating Transition towards Sustainable and Low-carbon Societies” during the 14th European Week of Regions and Cities (10-13 October 2016 in Brussels).
The workshop will take place on 11 October, 14.30-17.00h
Venue: European Commission, Centre Borschette, Room 0C.
You can register to the event here.


Recent TESS scientific reports

If you are interested in more information about the success factors of community-based initiatives, please have a look at the recently published reports:

Carbon reduction and community impact Scoreboard (Deliverable 2.4)
The first part of the report introduces the concept of community resilience as a way of assessing the activities of local community-based initiatives (CBIs) aiming at a more sustainable future. The concept is translated into a simplified compass constructed through 4 key indicators, which provides an approach for understanding the extent to which a CBI may support its community in responding creatively to change and creating the fertile ground from which systems’ change to a zero-carbon future may become possible. The second part of this report assesses in detail one key environmental aspect of CBIs, namely the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation that is achievable through their sustainability activities. Results are compared across the various activities of over 50 initiatives. This can facilitate the CBIs’ interpretation of their quantitative contribution towards a low-carbon transition and support the development of newly formed initiatives or the provision of information for funding agencies.

Report on qualitative success factors (Deliverable 3.3)
This report summarizes the findings of the research done by the TESS team working on the analysis of the critical factors behind the success of community-based initiatives (CBIs). This qualitative work is an outcome of our in-depth study of the processes and conditions favouring the emergence, consolidation, institutionalization, and growth of initiatives, together with their contribution to social and environmental justice and ability to incorporate or promote new technologies and business models. It is based on interview and observation data from 14 CBIs as well as survey data from 50 CBIs in Spain, Italy, the UK, Germany, Finland, and Romania.


The TESS video

A quick animated guide to TESS, which shows how community-based transitions can contribute to societal change.