Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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