4QP Article:
Emergent Learning: A Framework for Whole-System Strategy, Learning and Adaptation

In our recent Foundation Review article, we distinguish “adaptive” and “emergent” strategies, explore how the research into complexity can inform philanthropic practice, and offer Emergent Learning as a framework to help make thinking visible and support real-time and peer learning.

4QP Research:
Exploring Emergence in Complex Social Change Initiatives

Read about our current funded research project on the role of emergence and what difference it makes on the impact of important initiatives.

4QP Blogs:

What's the Value Proposition of Emergence?

Emergence predicts that solutions developed in an environment where agents are allowed to experiment and share what they're learning will be more sophisticated, more fit to their environment, and more adaptive than any solution that could be designed by any one entity in advance.

The world doesn't stand still.


When it comes to creating social change, what matters is not past results but the capacity to produce future results in complex and often unpredictable environments.


Learning organizations pay attention to their results and use those results – both their successes and their failures – to build the capacity to produce better results in the future.


We at Fourth Quadrant Partners help our client partners break through the clichés to become true learning organizations. We help strengthen their collective thinking and help them link strategy and implementation. We provide a platform for doing real-time learning in simple, fit-for-purpose ways, to reduce the risk of trying out innovative approaches to complex challenges. We design and facilitate thoughtful peer learning events and support communities of practice. We contour our approaches to fit the goals and challenges of our client partners, and we teach them how to do this work themselves.


Our clients include a wide range of funders, collaboratives and non-profits, all working to push beyond “business as usual” by deliberately building leadership, learning and evaluation into the way they do their work every day. The result? A whole organization or network of stakeholders better prepared to work together to achieve its outcomes, regardless of what the world throws at them.

© 2016 Fourth Quadrant Partners, LLC