Emergent Learning as a collective practice

The Power of Community


The fundamental question we at 4QP hold in our work is this:


What would it take for teams of people working together on big, complex goals to learn as quickly and well as we are each able to learn individually? To bring all of our individual and collective wisdom, resourcefulness and curiosity to the table in a way that accelerates results and builds our shared capacity to achieve the results we want?


By its very nature, Emergent Learning is a collective practice -- the inquiry into what it takes for a whole team to achieve the outcomes to which they aspire. Our own experience has shown us that the best, most sustainable, solutions emerge from communities through the practice of their own work, not from external expertise. We believe that the complex times we live in require us to let go of our need to be seen as expert problem-solvers and learn from our whole body of collective experience to solve the complex problems we tackle in our communities and society at large.


This is as true for our own work as it is for how we work with our clients.  In addition to supporting collective learning in our clients, and supporting communities of practice on behalf of our clients, we also conduct our own practice with a small but growing community to both expand the practice of Emergent Learning and to learn from and with our peers. We have seen our own work enriched by our collective inquiry with our colleagues.


To grow a community of Emergent Learning practitioners working inside and outside of organizational boundaries, 4QP has developed the 4QP Emergent Learning Certification Program™. The first cohort graduated in January 2014. We are currently accepting applications for our fifth cohort which begins in February of 2017. We will accept applications through October 15, 2016 or until the cohort is full, whichever comes first.


For those who are interested in learning more about research that underpins our approach to learning in community, we recommend the following:


Darling, Parry, Moore, “Learning in the Thick of It,” Harvard Business Review, July/Aug 2005

-- Describes our in-depth research of the U.S. Army’s best learning practice, anchored by the After Action Review, which they created


Holland, John, A Hidden Order, 1995, Perseus Press

-- Describes seminal research into how complex systems learn to adapt in “perpetually novel” situations



© 2016 Fourth Quadrant Partners, LLC