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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
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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: A Good Question?

Peter Nicholson

The Freedom of the Right Constraints
The process matters. I drafted the first of these “essays" six years ago this week. They have focused my attention, improved my writing, and instigated self-reflection. Their composition is wedged into a schedule always filled with other tasks. Aware of short attention spans, including my own, I try to keep them concise, without sacrificing poignancy and substance. I strive for eloquence and potency in economy. Easier said than done. As designers well know, especially those focused on creating multifaceted sustainable approaches, barriers are often the source of transcendence, and not necessarily the adversary. Limitations can propel creativity. My self-imposed constraints—which include length, and an opening sentence of no more than six words—push me to stop, consider, write, revise (a lot), and distill before sharing. This makes the practice sound tidy. It’s not. Yet In this weekly pursuit, I’ve found the seeds of what’s significant: Not saving the world, but rather, in a way, myself, through better understanding the potential to navigate and thrive, while staying mindful of the parallel capacity to exploit and devolve.