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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640
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We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.

Blog

Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

INSIGHT: The Appeal of the Impossible?

Peter Nicholson

How The Days Are Full
Night—Possibility entices. Each new project beckons with the chance of being more resolved than it ever is. We generate partial solutions, at best, to complex challenges. The promise of conquering the impossible is seductive. I work, happily running up that hill, as if the summit were attainable, knowing it isn’t, but also aware that an abundance of life is to be found in the attempt.

Morning—The sun is rising. I’m writing this while flying to Caohagan Island, a 13 acre outpost in the Philippines where I and two college students will try to help the residents explore approaches to some of the sustainability issues they’re facing. “Impossible" challenges change you. I’m still realizing all the ways. I don’t pretend that we will solve anything with this relatively short trip. Rather, our ambition is to try and build local capacity and, through a sharing of perspectives, inflect our common dawn.

Noon—I have my reasons. I’m a dedicated city person; spending two weeks on a dot of sand isn’t what I would normally do. Yet, it’s too easy to slide into my middle age years shoring up, rather than expanding, my comfort zones. Discontinuity keeps us vibrant, and teaches us how to navigate the unknown. Which is why I’m going. To learn through service, which, I hope, is one of the more profound ways to evolve.