Inquiry & Learning for Change

Supporting innovative leadership, team development, and positive, planned organizational change.

Inquiry & Learning for Change works with clients to create networks of democratic, adaptive, and values-driven organizations that are deeply and organically connected to their communities. We build emergent and evolving enterprises, modeled on biodiverse ecosystems, designed for learning, health, resilience, and accomplishment.

Learn more about how we work

Recent Projects & Clients

  • Coaching Linked Learning Pathway Teams for College and Career Readiness

    As a coach with ConnectEd, the California Center for College and Career, I have been working with several high school "Linked Learning Pathways" in Oakland, CA. Linked Learning is a promising approach to the redesign of high schools... Read More

  • Mandela MarketPlace & Foods Cooperative

    Moving from a powerful Mission to "work in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low income communities" to systems and structures to make that happen is hard work! Inquiry & Learning for Change was honored to work with Mandela MarketPlace and Mandela Foods Cooperative on clarifying their Mission and Vision, and refining the ways that the two organizations work together to achieve that Mission. Read More

  • LA County “Circle of Fire” exercise

    "The Circle of Fire" was a brainstorming and collaborative graphic representation exercise Inquiry & Learning for Change designed and facilitated for consultants in the LA County Office of Education. Read More

Latest Blog Articles

But Why TeamWork?

You need wildly divergent thinking and experiences in order to converge on new ideas or new products. The paradox is, wildness and freedom in the content of your work require structure and deliberateness in the process of your work; otherwise, what you get is wildly dysfunctional or even dangerous, and often completely unproductive. So. To do out of the box thinking requires a box to contain that work. We create deliberately structured processes to free us to do unstructured thinking, and those structured processes are the stuff of effective teamwork. But that requires letting go of the notion that you can control any of this; you and your teammates can only guide and nurture these processes. Conditions can be developed. Knowledge, skills, and habits of mind can be cultivated and learned. The internet is full of resources for the processes and tools your team will need. The practice that it takes to make it all work together, you will have to do yourselves. Read More

Geology, Fear, and Organizational Change

Sometimes ideas from far sectors of my world converge in ways that send me spiraling (recursively? interpolatively? extrapolatively?) into some new inquiry that I could never have imagined before. That is what is exciting me and driving my thinking today, after reading an astounding piece by Richard Elmore about school improvement, hearing about the effects of fear on some significant changes in the life circumstances of my yoga teacher, and reflecting on an increase in my understanding about somatic responses to trauma that I’ve been offered by a colleague of mine with considerable expertise in that area (that last combined with my experiences with a brilliant somatic therapist who helped me address some of my own generational trauma). I am deeply grateful for these disparate sources of wisdom in my life, and then to see that in some mysterious ways they are weaving together a new understanding about my work just exponentially enlarges that gratitude. Read More

Working on a Conceptual Framework for a Study of Communities of Practice in Educational Settings – What do you think?

CoP’s develop organically, originating out of a concern or issue or passion or sense of purpose that a growing group of people come to realize that they share, and an emergent set of skills and knowledge related to those that the group also shares. In the literature, these are referred to as Domain, Community, and Practice (Wenger, cite); we will use those three concepts as “orienting theory” as we study several emerging communities. Read More

“Yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of single necessity”

I want to suggest a new ritual activity. Not making myths of heroic and superhuman effort. Not myths of heroic leaders who single-handedly swoop in on a white horse to save the damsel in distress or solve the problem, then ride off into the sunset. It's not even about solving problems or fixing things. I want to suggest a ritual activity of embedding ourselves in a matrix of relationships, a social ecosystem, fully engaged and totally surrendered, squared to what is, where we see our work life not as a problem to be solved, but as a gift to be explored... Read More


  • John is a highly talented conceptual thinker who can take theory and turn it into down-on-the-ground, practical interventions and approaches. He develops highly effective processes for organizations and groups that lead to new ways of accomplishing desired outcomes.Juli Quinn
    Director, Regional System of District and School Support
    LA County Office of Education
  • I have been continually impressed by John's effortless ability to understand our fairly complex organizational model and culture, and to craft tools, meetings, and methods that complement and strengthen our existing efforts...He believes in his work, and approaches me and our staff with respect, humility, and a sense of humor. In my opinion, you could not find a better evaluation consultant, coach, or 'critical friend.'Melissa Meiris
    Director of Education
    Headlands Institute