About us:

What we do, how we do it, and why we got started.

Rethink Fragility is a social enterprise that shares first-hand perspectives and lived experiences — ground truth — on conflicts, crises, and the aid business.

That’s included a range of initiatives from 2012 onwards, to bring more practitioners into the policy conversation alongside their day jobs.

The focus for 2018-20 is the Rethink Fragility podcast. Our goal is to bring together 100 people doing impactful work, and share their perspectives without a political or fundraising agenda.

Why? Because the policy conversation has become stale. We are much too driven by “donor” politics and abstract models; and much too disinterested in local demand and empirical evidence.

Founder’s story

My name is Ian D. Quick, and I’ve worked on stabilisation and post-conflict recovery for about fifteen years.

Back in 2012, I was wrapping up a tough few years in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. We were failing there, as well-meaning outsiders, against pretty much all of our stated goals.

Yet there was a gulf between this lived experience on the ground, and the policy discourse. We seemed to be stuck in the mindset of the 1960s, whereby we would we cook up know-how in Western capitals and somehow export it to the rest of the world.

Rethink Fragility began as a modest attempt to introduce ground realities to those conversations, and to take the available evidence seriously. Over time we’ve evolved from traditional policy advocacy, to a network model that puts less-heard voices front and centre.

I hope that you can join us, whether as a listener, reader, or contributor. You can keep up-to-date through the newsletter, or via social media.

As a consultant, I help motivated leaders to transform high-level goals into the specific processes and capacities that will be needed to deliver. This builds on fifteen years experience with “pilot” and major change initiatives for peacekeeping, stabilisation and post-conflict recovery.

For more on that, including personal publications, please visit iandquick.com.

A short history

Open-source tools



Free, long-form “rough guides” to major decision points for practitioners. Each piece aimed to synthesise learning across organisational and sectoral boundaries.


-> link to content archive.

Analysis & advocacy



Independent, evidence-driven perspectives on approaches in current crises. Publication of Follies in Fragile States, unpacking “stabilisation” efforts in eastern Congo.


Old-fashioned briefings with policy-makers; and online talks for a wider audience.


-> link to content archive.

Peer-peer learning



Convening and facilitation for practitioner round-tables. These rejected an expert/audience model, in favour of common spaces for reflection.


Trial of online tools for crowd-sourcing and massive collaboration on contemporary challenges.


-> link to content archive

100 Voices project

2018 – 


A platform for original perspectives from people doing impactful work on the ground. Accessible anywhere, by anyone with minimal internet bandwidth.


-> link to content

Important legal stuff

We capture peoples’ personal perspectives. They are not speaking in an official capacity for any institution that they may have worked for.

Attribution: All content is under a Creative Commons (Attribution) licence. This means that you are free, and indeed encouraged, to share anything from the site. But you need to indicate where it came from, i.e. referencing the specific podcast episode and the guest.

Independence: We are currently self-funded. Any sponsorship or advertising partnership in the future will be disclosed here, and will be on condition of strict editorial independence.

Privacy policy: Our mailing list is handled by MailChimp and is strictly “opt-in”. We circulate updates on the podcast, the Three Things Worth Reading digest, and don’t share anything with third parties. There is also code to track site visits via Google Analytics.