Why use Collaborative Inquiry?

  • Build networks of peer learning among institutions and leaders. One foundation used the approach as an organizing vehicle for developing relationships among grantee practitioners who worked in the same business but had never communicated with one another. “Some of them became close colleagues who could call each other for advice,” said the grantmaker.
  • Develop relationships between practitioners and researchers.
  • Build and strengthen intermediary organizations within a field. A program officer who developed an initiative around collaborative inquiry said, “It was important that the learning get lodged someplace other than at my foundation.” She selected an intermediary institution to manage the inquiry process and carefully staged her own exit as the intermediary grew in knowledge and stature.
  • Improve your own work. Grantmakers need to learn, too. The funder of one collaborative inquiry process explained, “We had to be open to critique and feedback, just like the rest of our partners; if [our foundation] didn’t show that we were trying to get better, how could we expect anyone else to take the risk?”

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Learning Together.