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briefing paper

Finding a path through complexity

Emergent learning in trusts and foundations

June 2021

Ben Cairns, Houda Davis, Liz Firth


Our second round of meetings of the Community of Practice for 2021 focused on how evaluation and learning staff are approaching the challenge of retaining the collective sense of endeavour that the pandemic has created, as well as consolidating the prominence which learning has achieved during this time – while, at the same time, making sure learning work is doable and sustainable. 

This briefing draws on the contributions of learning and evaluation staff from 13 foundations, and offers our reflections on the questions and opportunities for funders that they raise. 

We explored: 

1. The data vacuum/avalanche
2. Managing trustee expectations
3. Creating space to learn

Our discussions identified three ways in which learning staff are achieving clarity of purpose and a sense of progress within complexity.


(Finding a path through complexity - IVAR June 2021)

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