The History and Practice of Emergent Strategy
ESII moves at the speed of trust, designing processes that get the right folks in the room to do the work that is most needed in these times. Step by step, we hold space for envisioning what that future could be and strategies for getting there.

This is Emergent Strategy

A path that invites us to think about change as a constant state of being and how to align and direct it towards that which affirms and creates more life

A path that runs counter to the competitive, power-over, urgency culture of capitalism and shifts material conditions

A path that is apparent throughout nature in species that adapted collectively and can be applied to create transformative justice movements

Emergent Strategy

Emergent Strategy invites activists and organizers to engage with two distinct yet interconnected sets of concepts.


Non-Linear & Iterative: How do I/
we learn from this
Fractal: How we are at the small
scale is how we are at the large
Adaptive: How we live & grow &
stay purposeful in the face of
constant change
Resilience & Transformative
How we recover &
Creating More Possibilities: Where
we move towards life. where we
shape tomorrow towards abundance
Interdependence &
Mutual resilience,
shared leadership & vision

Core Principles

Who is Emergent Strategy
Ideation Institute?

EESII is a portal for people who are transforming from the current paradigm of racial capitalist, patriarchal, power-over, scarce and disconnected existence into one that is adaptive, relational, resilient, post-capitalist, feminist, BIPOC-centered and full of possibility. We invite people into a liberatory experience, giving people in movement both theoretical offerings to help them learn emergent strategy, and practice ground to help them embody it.

Our Lineage

The Institute developed out of adrienne maree brown’s obsession with writers, thinkers and organizers Octavia Butler, Grace Lee Boggs, Charity Mahouna Hicks, and Margaret Wheatley, coinciding with an increased interest within Detroit—particularly at the Boggs Center, Complex Movements, and Allied Media Projects—around the concepts of emergence and complex science. Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of relatively simple interactions. Complex science is the investigation of how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system, and how systems interact to form relationships with environments. 

adrienne asked 50 organizers for a sentence, paragraph or page on what they had learned about organizing from the natural world. The ideas and expressions were first a zine and then a book. After the book was published in 2017, people wanted to practice. adrienne created space in Detroit and called it an immersion. People would come together for 3-4 days and apply the elements and principles to their work. These experiments helped us learn how to teach emergent strategy.  In March of 2019, we gathered a crew of facilitators to learn and play for a few days. This crew became a cohort of facilitators developing and practicing holding change using emergent strategy together. As the facilitation and practice of emergent strategy grew, so did the need for a place, an institute, that could nurture this burgeoning call and ensure rigor  that could match the expansiveness of experiments.

Our Collective

Mia Herndon

Sage Crump

adrienne maree brown

Advisory Committee

Shira Hassan
Inca A. Mohamed
Jessica Norwood
Julie Quiroz
Jodie Tonita
Nathaniel Mullen

Facilitation Cohort

Ana Duque
Ashley Sparks
Chelsea Cleveland
Cherizar Crippen
Courtney Sebring
Crissaris Sarnelli
Geoffrey Jackson Scott
Íssa Victoria Guzmán
Joie Lou Shakur
Kavitha Rao
Kawanza Billy
Kelly McGowan
Laura Kigweba James

Luis Alejandro Tapia
Mallika Dutt She/Her
Marinieves Alba
Meena Malik
Mia Herndon
Mwende Katwiwa
Nicole Newman
Omisade Burney-Scott
PG Watkins
Roberto “Tito” Soto-Carrion
Sage Crump
Suhaly Bautista-Carolina
Yanitza Cubilette