Helping people + places prosper in a changing world

Emergent Opportunities provides regional economic development planning and coordination for rural communities. Our mission is to build just and prosperous regional economies that work for all of the people within them, and which inherently incentivize good stewardship of the land.

We believe that the world is changing rapidly, and that we need large-scale coordination, coalition-building, and well-defined plans of action to ensure that rural people and places benefit and prosper from these changes.

To ensure this, we work with groups of leaders and citizens to identify the opportunities and challenges that lie before their communities, recognize the assets they have in store, and organize to make a better future for their communities and the places they are rooted in.

What We Do

Participatory Planning

We believe that the people who live in a place already know what is needed for the healthy growth and development of their community and region. Our roles are to bring out that local knowledge, help people develop their ideas, bring in outside perspectives and information as appropriate, and then help communities plan for and measure their results.
We follow a “spiral model” of participatory development, learned from our colleagues and mentors at Rural Support Partners, to help people from a broad variety of backgrounds learn and plan together to build a vibrant future for their communities. This model follows a process of “Listen, Learn, Organize, Plan, and Implement” which brings ideas from the ground up and puts them into action quickly, with a solid base of research, planning, and continuous improvement.

Project Management and Operational Support

We also provide direct operational and project management support for collaborative efforts taking place at the regional (multi-county, state, multi-state) scale. Our clients for this kind of work include business groups, research and development institutions, and governments. In every case, our role is to harness the collective wisdom and abilities of a collaboration’s members and partners to achieve outcomes that no one organization or company could generate alone.

Telling the Stories We Need Now

We believe that America’s rural places are centers of opportunity for sustainable growth and development. We believe that the stories you tell determine the direction you take, and that narratives of rural decline often recounted in both news and economic literature are insidious and self-fulfilling.

We have seen first-hand the incredible vibrancy and vitality of rural places across America.  From the mountains to the sea, from every state of our union, there are success stories that need to be told, because we believe that success follows on success, and that positive models are needed and useful.

As such, our final core focus area is storytelling: on helping to share and spread what’s working, and how, and why.