Last week, the Rockefeller Foundation and engineering firm ARUP launched the City Resilience Index, a tool that is designed to help urban policy-makers assess and improve their capacity to withstand crises. It has grown out of a long-running effort led by multiple sectors, which we've been following closely at Foresight, and has the potential to leverage existing data and models to build more resilient cities.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Why We Work (Here)
Realizing potential motivates me. This deep-seated impulse tends to take the form of generating new ideas, helping others, always striving to find a better way. We aren’t used to considering the nature of our ambition, but rather simply responding to it. Young job candidates, in particular, often struggle to explain this when I ask them, as I did when I was younger. It could be empowering to help kids develop this self-awareness earlier.
The Foresight Prep @ Oberlin "Future of Business" course is, to my knowledge, the only program for high school students that focuses on both corporate sustainability and entrepreneurship, including an intensive exploration of impacts across the supply chain, as explored here by Mike Wallace of BrownFlynn. I've learned a great deal from the course myself, and have been inspired by watching our students interview business leaders, gain knowledge of corporate sustainability, and get a head start on their future careers as change-makers.
Teaching keeps me sharp. Working in a sector is one thing. It’s quite another to explain its elements in a coherent and compelling format, especially to teenagers. The six weeks when I teach at the Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College program are some of the most challenging and rewarding of my year, making me a better professional for the other 46. The program offers students the chance to delve into sustainability issues via any one of six topics, to interview leading professionals, to become part of a vibrant network, to have fun(!)—there aren’t many others like it.
Grantmakers for Efective Organizations, a community of forward-looking funders, has released a new guide to systems grantmaking that includes a variety of useful resources. We're all about systems at Foresight, and think this guide is a valuable tool for those in the philanthropic community and beyond.
Complacency irks me. Achieving greater sustainability requires revising the status quo. I possess an inclination to question the output of myself and others, impulsively considering how it could be better. It’s an annoying habit. In many situations, I try to camouflage the trait, either hiding it from view, or thinly cloaking it. Interacting with those with well-defended comfort zones often requires a conscious effort to keep my frustration and annoyance in check in response to what I perceive to be unnecessarily impeded progress. If only they saw the situation my way!
The Surge Series podcast from the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation, which explores the human side of energy, is back with a new episode. This installment explores the compelling question of how new technology affects gender roles, and features a discussion with a guest from DTE Energy about the utility's award-winning home energy app.
Reflecting Instead of Seeing
Smartphones were everywhere. The 2000 year-old Teotihuacan pyramids outside Mexico City were being plundered by modern day conquistadors, their pictures and selfies overrunning the once great civilization. A similar phenomenon has struck art museums as well. Visits have become more about documenting an exhibit rather than experiencing it. The obsession with recording environments that we should be experiencing knows no bounds.