Services for Single Organizations

Custom workshops and adaptive planning services for organizations

How do single organizations build their adaptive capacities?

In recent years, many organizations have asked us to tailor our national and place-based programs to work with them individually. We've responded by creating three customized programs that have been taken up by many leading organizations in the arts and culture field. These programs engage a variety of organizational stakeholders in an innovation process, and are designed to support nonprofit organizations in growing and testing their adaptive capacity.

Ranging from on-site organizational coaching, to virtual workshops, to extended processes like adaptive planning and leadership training, services are designed for different levels of engagement and a variety of stakeholders and tailored to each organization’s needs. From this menu of programs, you can pick the right fit to cultivate innovation and reduce resistance in your organization.
For inquiries, contact Melissa Dibble, Managing Director, at
Adaptive Planning for Resilience
Designed for comprehensive organizational strengthening as the antidote to traditional strategic planning, Adaptive Planning for Resilience takes organizations through an initial process of questioning assumptions and identifying complex challenges, followed by a “deep dive” into generating and testing adaptive responses to those challenges. Facilitated over 12-18 months, this program will help your organization to:
  • Assesses your current adaptive capacity
  • Identify persistent complex challenges, and distinguish adaptive responses from technical fixes
  • Incorporate artistic development processes in support of adaptive work
  • Design and carrying out “small experiments with radical intent” 
  • Develop and repeatedly prototype your innovation strategy, building on the learning from small experiments
The two components of this program can also be delivered separately, according to the needs of your organization:

Preparing to Innovate
This is a 4-month diagnostic program, with 3 on-site meetings led by an EmcArts coach, that works to explore complex challenges, identify ingrained assumptions, and examine your organization’s adaptive capacity. It is a rigorous platform to bring stakeholders together, unfreeze the status quo, and prepare for innovation.  

Incubating Innovation 
Modeled after our successful Innovation Labs for the Arts, Incubating Innovation is a 9- to 12-month “deep dive” that uses an action research approach and supports the design and prototyping of a significant organizational innovation in response to an identified complex challenge. A specially constructed Innovation Team, guided by an EmcArts process facilitator, oversees the process and coordinates an intensive retreat.

Adaptive Leadership Circle 
The rapidly shifting environment in which today’s nonprofit organizations operate demands that we move away from traditional ideas of “heroic” leadership, and toward adaptive leadership: a set of practices that distributes responsibility for tackling complex challenges. This program is designed for a cohort of up to 10 mid- and upper-level managers looking to strengthen their adaptive leadership capacities, and consists of a yearlong series of monthly on-site sessions with an EmcArts facilitator. Topics to be covered include:
  • Identifying and defining complex challenges
  • Understanding organizational culture
  • Developing adaptive facilitation techniques
  • Building and supporting effective teams
  • Prioritizing the adaptive “muscles” needed for innovation
Roots of Innovation Webinar Series  
This series of 2-hour interactive virtual workshops for single organizations introduces the fundamentals of adaptive change. Stakeholders will explore complex organizational challenges and build a shared understanding of innovation. This is an essential professional development opportunity to advance new thinking and innovation practices.

We also conduct periodic public webinar series on a variety of topics related to innovation and adaptive change. Our next series is coming up in spring 2018.

The wide variety of programs available range on a sliding scale, from $125 per person for a public webinar series up to $60,000 for the complete Adaptive Planning for Resilience program. Often, our participants’ local funders and donors are excited to support this innovative capacity-building work. Please get in touch with any questions!