4QP works with organizations, collaboratives and networks that want to bring strategic thinking and rigorous learning into every aspect of how work gets done. Rather than seeing strategic planning as separate from implementation, 4QP helps clients bring a strategic focus to every decision -- from five-year strategy “refreshes” to annual planning to site visits and convening design. We provide very practical tools to help everyone make their thinking visible and test it throughout the year.
Working in this way helps make more strategic use of scarce resources -- more productive meetings; convenings that contribute to strategic goals; grant decisions that are informed by thoughtful hypotheses. It helps teams strengthen their line of sight and build confidence in their choices. Clients have also used working in this way to shift their relationship with their boards -- moving from board meetings that focus on one-off decisions to conversations about strategy and impact.
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy has used emergent learning practices since 2014 to guide and learn from decision-making at all levels around how to promote effective land policy nationally and internationally. Staff actively engage in real-time learning through the year to improve results in key events. The Institute’s Strategic Learning Team uses emergent learning to guide their annual planning process, helping units conduct After Action Reviews on last year’s results to inform thinking about how to increase impact in the year ahead. Emergent learning has helped the Institute shift from working in silos to working collaboratively across the Institute; from working on land policy on a regional level to having a global platform for its message.
From its inception in early 2017, the Center for Community Investment (CCI) sought to bake Emergent Learning into who it is and how it works. In its first year, CCI has grown from a staff of three to nine, and launched a fellowship program and two initiatives: one to help non-profit hospitals and health systems advance and deepen their efforts to invest in their communities, and another to support cross-sector partnerships reshape local systems and deploy capital to improve access to opportunities that are essential for good health and well-being. The Center is using an emergent learning log and weekly learning calls through this intensive growth period to help the team come together, develop a shared vision, and test their thinking as they execute their programs and interact with a wide range of potential partners. Staff meet regularly to hold emergent learning conversations around important questions for CCIs work, many of which will become the basis of a “playbook” of growing knowledge for the field.