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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: Why the Gun?

Peter Nicholson

Understanding The Other
I crossed the divide. Visiting an enormous Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store isn’t something I do regularly. I’m not particularly interested in the activities to which they cater, yet find the big box, experiential retail concept fascinating both for its merchandise and clientele. Feeling like a less-than-covert spy, I spent over an hour wandering the aisles observing products and people. A woman purchasing a handgun, in particular, caught my attention. Her age, clothing, and demeanor contrasted with the other, often partially camouflaged, mostly male, shoppers. I wanted to ask her what brought her in here alone on a Saturday afternoon to buy a firearm? Achieving greater sustainability requires challenging, if not disrupting current systems. However, too often I find myself designing approaches without fully appreciating the impulses maintaining the status quo. Ignoring potential opposition on ideological grounds doesn’t advance the cause. It is a failure of design. There are probably both very rational, and also extremely emotional/symbolic reasons for that woman’s purchase last weekend. Like it or not, they’re as real as any idea I might have for creating a more humane society, and perhaps even more powerful.