Two projects I’ve been involved with in recent years on paper are vastly different, but share one critical characteristic – how we prepare for and respond to existential threats.  ’m working on a long-term personal project – a book for lay people on genocide, and for a client I designed a program on preparing for epidemics.


When we watch apocalypse movies – for instance, zombies, alien invasions, global natural catastrophes – part of the genre is the panic and disorganization.

Why Are We So Unprepared?
That panic and disorganization result directly from lack of preparation and the kind of collaboration that builds resilience. Even in our day-to-day lives, absent global calamity, most of us don’t prepare for tragedy, don’t bake in resilience in our personal and organizational lives.

“What we can
learn from

Apart from entertainment, the value of the apocalypse genre is that it asks us a question: why are we so unprepared, so blasé? In the genre, there’s usually an individual, or core group that has been thinking ahead, that represents the hope of mankind through resilience. It’s also worth asking about everyday existential threats – disease, poverty, addiction, domestic abuse, killer storms and so much more. In or near all our communities, these are existential threats for some of our neighbors.

Collaborating more to deal with these threats will build the kind of resilience that will prepare us for more global and shared threats. Maybe not zombies, but epidemics, mass slaughters and natural catastrophes are things we can better prepare for. That presupposes, however, working across cozy silos and boundaries, and learning collaboration as a way of 21st century life.

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