Author Archives: Marilyn Darling

Returning Learning to the System

When a honey bee finds a patch of nectar-rich flowers, it returns to the hive, deposits its find, and does a “waggle dance” to let fellow bees know the direction and distance of those flowers from the hive. According to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

When should you invest in an emergent approach?

The core idea of emergence is that it is nonlinear; it should create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts — a compelling idea to funders who are striving to create a sustainable impact on complex … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The journey is the reward

Our research into the role of emergence in complex social change is finished . . . sort of. In fact, it’s really just a step on a longer journey that we talk about in our cover letter for the report … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning Our Way through Uncharted Waters

Well, the election is over. You could say that we’re stepping into “interesting times.” I used to work with a CEO in the corporate world who talked a lot about needing to prepare for “right-angle turns” — changes in the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I Love Hypotheses

If you work with us for more than 10 minutes, you know that we are big fans of action hypotheses – those “if/then” statements about what we expect to happen if an action is taken. I see them everywhere. Or, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Getting Lessons “Right” vs. Getting Lessons Used

I haven’t been to the JFK Presidential Library in Boston in a long time. I was inspired to make a visit recently to see a special exhibit, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” I’ve always been intrigued … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How do huge institutions learn how to learn from failure?

Great question! I have been working with the World Bank since last October on this question. I gave a presentation on “Lessons (Not Yet) Learned” to a not-so-eager World Bank audience on the topic back then. You can watch the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment