Building the Capacity to Innovate & Adapt FAQ

What is the application period?

Tuesday, August 20th – Wednesday, September 11th

What do the workshops entail?

These interactive workshops, led by EmcArts staff, constitute a curriculum in innovation and adaptive change, grounded in the situations and real issues of each organization. These workshops provide an entry point to developing organizational awareness, supporting peer-to-peer sharing of effective “next” practices, devising adaptive responses to complex challenges, and building the necessary skills and capacities to design and implement innovative initiatives.

What are the workshop topics?

Workshop topics include: 

  • The Roots of Innovation: Describing and identifying complex challenges faced by your organization; selecting a complex challenge to work with over the course of the workshops
  • Responding Adaptively to Complex Challenges: Surfacing organizational and individual barriers to innovation; generating radical new visions and innovative strategies; recognizing and navigating competing values in organizational development
  • Teams, the Engine of Innovation: Developing high-performing innovation teams of many perspectives, and managing the heat of conflict; cross-organizational critique of new directions
  • Moving into Action Research: Designing “small experiments with radical intent” (SERIs); using peer feedback to inform original thinking; finalizing SERIs for action and reporting back
  • Resourcing Innovation: Understanding structural shifts needed to support innovation and adaptive work; criteria for putting activities “on pause” and their application to programs
  • Embedding Innovation in the Core Business: Reporting back on SERIs; developing adaptive cultures and the roles of leaders
Who is eligible to apply?

Organizations must be based in Philadelphia, have non-profit status and have the arts as a primary focus. All arts organizations, regardless of size, genres and discipline, are welcome to apply.

What are the application criteria?

We’re seeking applications from organizations that exhibit the following characteristics:

  • The organization demonstrates willingness and dedication to addressing complex challenges within their institution.
  • Key stakeholders including artistic and executive staff, as well as board leadership are committed to building innovation and adaptive capacity within their organization.
How do I know if my organization is right for Building the Capacity to Innovate and Adapt?

Knight Foundation and EmcArts staff will be holding info sessions specifically for this purpose. RSVP for a virtual information session on August 27. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in the virtual information session.

What information is needed to apply?

To apply, answer a series of questions about your organization found here.

Who reviews my entry?

Knight staff will review submissions in collaboration with members of the EmcArts staff. 

Do I have to have a letter of support from my organization or institution?

No, but each organization must commit a consistent team of executive staff, artistic staff and board leadership to participate in the workshop series.

Will participating organizations receive financial support?

Yes, each selected organization will receive operating support of $10,000.

Am I eligible for this opportunity if I’m a current Knight Foundation grantee?

Yes, all arts organizations in Philadelphia are encouraged to apply if you feel this opportunity is right for you.

When will the selected organizations be announced?

Selected organizations will be announced in early October 2019.

When are the workshops and where will they be held?

All workshops will be held in-person in Philadelphia. The workshop dates are as follows:

  • Workshops 1+2: October 22nd and 23rd, 2019
  • Workshops 3+4: November 19th and 20th, 2019
  • Workshops 5+6: January 14th and 15th, 2020
Where else have these workshops been facilitated?

The Workshop Series on the Adaptive Organization has been implemented (often as part of EmcArts’s New Pathways for the Arts programs), in locally co-created versions in more than a dozen cities across the United States and in Canada, demonstrating its timeliness, relevance, and effectiveness in design.Communities have included Denver, San Jose, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, New Haven, Chicago, Charlotte, New York (twice), Houston, Edmonton, Calgary and Toronto.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Send questions to [email protected]