Marilyn Darling


Marilyn Darling is a partner of Fourth Quadrant Partners, LLC and a founding member of the Society for Organizational Learning (SoL). She created the principles and tools of Emergent Learning to overcome the challenge she saw as organizations struggled to make the principles of Organizational Learning come to life in the context of people s real work. Emergent Learning has become a widely used platform for strengthening the link between strategy and action and the capacity to use real-time learning to improve thinking and results. Marilyn s client work focuses on social mission organizations, such as Ford and Open Society Foundations, and collaboratives, such as Living Cities, a collaborative of 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the U.S. For more than 10 years, Marilyn conducted in-depth research into the learning and leadership practices of the U.S. Army s Opposing Force (OPFOR). Their mission is to be the toughest enemy brigades of American soldiers will ever face. The OPFOR created the After Action Review (AAR), which has become a cornerstone of Emergent Learning. This research was described in a Harvard Business Review article, Learning in the Thick of It, July/Aug 2005.

Speaking Topics

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Bibliography & Video

Learning from Failure Toolkit, The World Bank, upcoming. Lessons (Not Yet) Learned, Foundation Review, Jan 2012.
Mistakes to Success Roadmap, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Nov 2011.
A Compass in the Woods: Learning through Grantmaking to Improve Impact, Fourth Quadrant Partners, through a grant from the David & Lucille Packard Foundation, 2010.
Learning in the Thick of It, Harvard Business Review, July/Aug 2005.
Cultivating a Learning Economy Reflections, Vol.5, No. 2.
From Post-Mortem to Living Practice: An in-depth study of the evolution of the After Action Review, Signet Consulting Group, 2000.


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Speaker Endorsement

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