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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.

101 Uses? (Part 2)

Peter Nicholson

Interrogating Discontent
My frustration resists containment. At peak intensity, it wants to free range, often alienating others. That said, navigating the often deep chasm between what is, and doesn’t want to change, and what could be, requires the sustained, dynamic energy of discontent. Being able to effectively channel a tsunami of intent is what distinguishes the effective change makers from the complainers. I aspire to be more of that former than latter, a pursuit that has yet to fully reach its goal.

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101 Uses?

Peter Nicholson

Hello, Old Friend
Little had gone according to plan. My morning has been a series of detours as I try to execute a departure out of town. In addition to evolving logistics, I’m having to navigate my impatience: hello frustration, my old friend! I’ve gotten better at acknowledging and accepting, however begrudgingly, what is and isn’t within my influence to change.

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Embracing "Extreme"?

Peter Nicholson

Productive Disruption
I don’t savor working at home. The Deep Freeze this week, however, dictated staying ensconced. Along with others I know, I was able to identify the origin of about every draft in my apartment, and test the limits of our heating system. The Polar Vortex was a home efficiency stress test that many failed.

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Unsolicited Advice?

Peter Nicholson

I Had No Idea
Hutson sleeps, except when he plays. Our 5-month old Boston Terrier is capable of waking and rambling at just about any hour of the day or night. I envy his spontaneity and ability to languidly snooze at a moment's notice. He bit me the other day, his small sharp puppy teeth puncturing the skin in two small places on either side of my finger. It was my fault. He’s recently learned to fetch, but not let go of the object upon its return. I had snatched it away from him. Understandably, he leapt at my hand in play, and caught my finger before I could pull it away. It hurt, but I didn’t blame him.

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The Humility Imperative?

Peter Nicholson

Resentful
Success isn’t assured. Innovation carries risk, particularly when it’s focused on issues that are difficult to shift. Inherently curious, I find the process of discovery deeply satisfying. Rarely is the challenge Foresight is charged with addressing, whether by a client or ourselves, the one that fundamentally requires addressing. Our real conundrums are buried.

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Overlooking the Obvious?

Peter Nicholson

Considering Human Capital
People are essential. The statement sounds painfully obvious. Yet I’m continually amazed at how often the pivotal role people play in various sustainability-related initiatives is overlooked, particularly in the nonprofit realm. Rarely during an interview for a new undertaking or grant have my colleagues and I been earnestly questioned about our qualifications or perspectives. Generating the idea is often equated with the capability to execute it.

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Whose Agenda?

Peter Nicholson

Resolution
I should be working. Instead, I’m looking out the airplane window as we ascend from the runway, capturing a glimpse of the surrounding land, water and mountains before entering a thick bank of view-obscuring clouds. Last year had several notable experiences, including a few profound and unexpected losses. On the verge of this new year, the aircraft rising just above the top of cloud ceiling, I wonder at my relative equilibrium.

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Good Dog Bad Dog?

Peter Nicholson

The Art of Obedience
The project has become unruly. Working on complex projects focused on topics like energy, water and agriculture, rarely goes as planned. Remaining focused yet nimble is essential. Developing a powerful idea is just the beginning, not the end of most projects. You still have to sell it. Meanwhile, Hutson, the Foresight-Wonder-Pup, has started training classes, an effort to refine his youthful instincts. His challenge is two-fold: keeping him focused, and practicing whatever skill the trainer has assigned.

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The Source of Satisfaction?

Peter Nicholson

Cliffs & Climbing

Perfection in an asana (i.e. yoga poses) is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached.
-
B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on the Yoga Sutras

The fear of falling is primal. To pursue an activity that involves this risk defies reason. I have skied on the edge of a steep slope not only because the best snow was there, but also to navigate that fine line between safety and danger. Calling it a thrill is a misnomer; it’s deeply satisfying. My tenure as a competitive springboard diver was similar; there was always the possibility for pain and injury, but also transcendence.

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Native Nutrition?

Peter Nicholson

From Akron to Duluth
The food isn’t the reason. I search the internet for “family restaurants” during my travels and see what comes up. There isn't a hard definition, but the 8-10 I’ve recently patronized had common traits: “vintage" decor; decent, but not stellar food; a local, generally older clientele; reasonable prices; and a cashier near the door. Contentedly ensconced in a booth, I try to temper my innate urban elitism.

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