Emergent Learning involves simple tools that help teams develop shared insights for improving action. It pushes us beyond our comfortable rhetoric and enables us to learn from our everyday work as social investors. Over the course of a year of capacity-building, 4QP has helped us frame our reflections with Emergent Learning tools, experience and advice -- and then stepped back and let us do the work.


-- Bob Giloth, VP, Center for Community and Economic Development, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Build organizational capacity to use Emergent Learning


4QP helps groups – staff teams, grantees, cross-sector networks -- build their capacity to use Emergent Learning to improve outcomes. Reflecting on current work challenges and opportunities, groups learn how to use the 4QP Emergent Learning Platform™ to clarify and reality-test their assumptions, make mid-course corrections, adapt to changing conditions and accelerate results.


Our approach to building capacity is different from traditional “training.” We introduce Emergent Learning and build the capacity to use the tools in the context of participants’ real work, so that the work we do not only builds capacity but also produces real results that our client organizations care about.


Project Examples:


Annie E. Casey Foundation:  4QP is working with AECF’s Center for Community and Economic Opportunity over the course of a year to build their internal use of Emergent Learning to support thinking and results across current grants and initiatives, as well as to improve internal processes, including its annual budgeting process. They are using Emergent Learning tools themselves and encouraging a handful of nonprofits to use these tools to support their own real-time learning and learning from mistakes. Bob Giloth and Colin Austin co-authored Mistakes to Success: Learning and Adapting when Things Go Wrong. Marilyn Darling collaborated with the authors to create Mistakes to Success Roadmap, a toolkit to help groups improve their ability to learn from mistakes.


Ontario Trillium Foundation:  In a series of four site visits, 4QP helped the evaluation, learning and strategy staff of this government-based community foundation in Canada to solve real and immediate business needs while building its capacity to use Emergent Learning. During each visit, OTF staff would identify 2-3 important operational challenges or opportunities and schedule meetings with operational teams. 4QP used an Emergent Learning approach to help staff address these challenges. 4QP built staff skills in Emergent Learning by conducting BARs and AARs surrounding each operational meeting, interspersed with short educational sessions around tools and principles. OTF continues to use EL to address current operational issues and has used what it learned in this process to develop its own approach to Developmental Evaluation, using Emergent Learning as the backbone.


Center for Creative Leadership offers a range of leadership development consulting and capacity building services.  4QP introduced the Organizational Learning Practice Team to Emergent Learning in the context of exploring what it would take for them to demonstrate and capture the impact of their work.  The team explored examples of client engagements to identify what data is needed to learn from the impact, when and where to bring in evaluation team members, and then how best use what’s being learned to improve client results especially while the work is ongoing (vs. after the fact). 4QP also worked with the project team to embed the use of Before and After Action Reviews into a fast-paced, ever-evolving complex leadership initiative.





© 2016 Fourth Quadrant Partners, LLC