TESS - Introducing a Compass of Resilience


We invite you to explore a simple framework for thinking about community resilience.

There are two broad ideas behind the framework.

1. The idea that 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. The idea that there are four broad dimensions that contribute to making a community resilient, focused around:
  1. Healthy and Engaged People – relating to individual’s physical and psychological well-being, strong and healthy personal relationships, connection to nature, learning and sharing new skills
  2. Creating a More Localised Economy Within Ecological Limits –relating to the creation of a different sort of local economy which positively stewards the local environment and resources, enhances biodiversity, cuts carbon dependence and creates meaningful locally based livelihoods that are less dependent on fossil fuels.
  3. Cross-Community Links – relating to links and partnerships with groups in other communities, with support networks and across sectors (including public sector/government and business)
  4. Building a Creative, Inclusive culture – relating to how a community addresses social inclusion, social justice/equity and support for social and technical innovation and openness to creating/exploring different/novel ways of working
Dimensions and States of Community Resilience - (Source Wilding, 2011)
The colours represent the three states of resilience - Blue (breakdown), Brown (breakeven), Green (breakthrough)
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.
Further information on the methods and data may be accessed here:

TESS downloadable resources
Information Sheet on the tool