Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

Complex Adaptive Systems: a definition

As we launch our new sponsored research project, Exploring Emergence in Complex Social Change Initiatives, we realize that the field of work on which it is based might be new to many of our colleagues. While much has been written … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Emergent Strategy, iPhones and Social Impact

I am just back from the 2015 Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) Conference, where Phil Buchanan invited Patti Patrizi and me to bring together — for the first time — our many collective years of thinking and doing work in … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A 4QP talk at Systems Thinking in Action

2013 was a stand-out year for us at 4QP. Our first annual Emergent Learning Community of Practitioners completes their year-long Certification Program later this month. As we predicted, their experiences and perspective have expanded our own understanding and practice of … 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

Accountability for What? Results Produced or Producing Results?

People solving social problems in innovative ways naturally want to know that their time and grantmaking dollars are making a difference and that their efforts moving forward will produce an even better payoff. Hence the investment in evaluation. But social … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 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

The Opportunity of Opportunities (…or why we call ourselves Fourth Quadrant Partners)

Entrepreneurs are in the opportunity business. They like nothing more than to find a problem no one else has been able to solve and to create a business by being the first one to solve it. They are usually not … 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