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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.

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

INSIGHT: Who's Responsible?

Peter Nicholson

Owning and Acting Upon What’s Ours
The boat swamped. Rather than extend our lead, the small sailboat I was captaining finished last. The error was someone else's, yet the blame was mine. At thirteen years old, it was a hard lesson. The achievement of greater sustainability is often impeded by what I call “distributed responsibility.” Influence and decision-making are disbursed across so many entities that, in the end, no one is in charge. In the face of failure, or just ongoing dysfunction, fingers are pointed, shoulders shrugged, small variables discussed, (my) impatience criticized, and nothing significant evolves. The problem's salience is diluted through discussion and analysis that we mistake for action and progress. The system is in charge, not us. We both accept its limitations, and play a part in perpetuating them. I recently started considering what more Foresight can do to address the lack of diversity in the sustainability sector. The first step is to own the problem, without paralyzing shame or guilt, and then to consider how we can leverage our resources to inflect change. The insidious stasis of ingrained systems, whether they’re cultural, governmental or corporate, is the corroded lock that we must, in whatever ways we can, pick, and begin to coax open. Otherwise, the kind of fundamental shifts required for greater sustainment will only occur in response to more seismic shocks that jar our conscience and complacency. We will only have ourselves to blame.