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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640


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.


Photo by Nicholas Henderson on flickr

Photo by Nicholas Henderson on flickr

Align, Leverage, Shift: Understanding & Innovating Chicago’s Water & Energy Efficiency Efforts

Partner: Chicago Community Trust
Completed: 2015
Key Services: Systems Analysis, Innovation, Communication Design

With generous support from the Chicago Community Trust, Foresight Design Initiative conducted a systems analysis of the region's water and energy efficiency efforts with the objective of revealing insights and opportunities to accelerate change and catalyze greater impact. Foresight conducted over 30 semi-structured interviews with stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to better understand their areas of focus, motivations, drivers, strategies, and barriers. Through this examination of the water and energy efficiency systems, 13 interventions for greater impact were identified to inform the work local stakeholders, as well as the local funding community. Highlights from this analysis are described in this report.

Gary Steelmill at Night.jpg

Innovation & Impact in Smart Grid Education

Partner: Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF)
Completed: In Progress
Key Services: Systems Analysis, Impact Evaluation, Innovation

In 2011, the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act initiated the state's transition to "smart grid" technology. The Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation was created to help consumers take full advantage of these improvements, especially the advanced electricity meters. In 2013, Foresight Design Initiative joined ISEIF's inaugural cohort of grantees to facilitate innovation in consumer education at the funder, grantee, and system levels. We are working closely with other grantees and the ISEIF staff to better understand this emerging field and effectively engage consumers in realizing benefits. Through systems analysis, user-centered design, and attention to future developments, we hope to catalyze consumers' integral role in the evolution towards a more sustainable energy future.


Calumet Stormwater Collaborative

Partner: Metropolitan Planning Council
Completed: 2014
Key Services: Experience Design, Systems Analysis, Organization & Mission Design

Working closely with the Metropolitan Planning Council, Foresight Design Initiative led the early-stage facilitation of a recently-formed, multi-sectoral stakeholder group, Calumet Stormwater Collaborative, to create a shared understanding of the issue of stormwater in the Calumet region on Chicago's far south side and to identify strategic opportunities for integrated solutions.

By designing an innovative process that is rooted in a systems approach to problem solving, the Foresight team has engaged stakeholders in productive exercises that foster collaboration, determine root causes, cultivate shared goals, and build momentum towards collective action. To date, stakeholders have co-created a diagram of the stormwater system, from which nine fundamental challenges were identified and ranked based on the Collaborative's capacity to make an impact. The Collaborative's work is ongoing and is now focused on key actions necessary for bigger, better, and faster impact on managing stormwater in the Calumet region. 

Photo by Laurie Chipps on flickr

Photo by Laurie Chipps on flickr

Vital Lands Illinois

Partner: The Grand Victoria Foundation
Completed: 2008
Key Services: Systems Analysis, Experience Design, Communication Design

In 2008, land conservation in Illinois was a disjointed system that needed to be realigned in order to bring greater efficiency, cohesion, and impact. Over the course of the year, The Grand Victoria Foundation and Foresight Design Initiative convened a state-wide working group of conservation organizations to gain insight into the root causes of the issue and identify opportunities for greater alignment. Through facilitating sessions and conducting a systems analysis, we determined that members needed capacity-building resources, access to national knowledge, and better connections between each other. By developing short- and long-term solutions to meet these goals, we helped create a process for a more effective and collaborative land conservation system throughout the state. Read more about Vital Lands Illinois

Photo by Joshua Pablo Rosenstock

Photo by Joshua Pablo Rosenstock

Lawn Nation

Partner: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Completed: 2008
Key Services: Exhibit Design, Innovation, Service Design

The challenge was to create an exhibition at Chicago's Nature Museum that investigates the environmental impact of the ubiquitous manicured lawn and demonstrates a better "American Dream." Selected through a competitive proposal process, Foresight Design Initiative designed, constructed, and installed a central exhibit describing alternatives to the traditional lawn. Foresight was also invited to coordinate and execute a large, previously discarded project to design and install a variety of demonstration plots on one acre around the Museum. Elements of the outdoor installation are still incorporated into the museum’s grounds.

Foresight is a bunch of plugged-in connectors, willing and creative problem solvers, an idea shop with a strong conceptual orientation, and a boutique consultancy that’s developed some interesting and innovative and, maybe most importantly, reproducible processes for tackling projects in a systemic and collaborative way.
— Shane Dubow, former Strategic Projects Manager at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum