Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Growth Etudes Part 2: Consonance and Dissonance
There have to be some edges. An effective consulting project, like a compelling musical performance, isn’t the result of pure harmony, but rather the navigation of the right creative tensions. Studying cello in my youth, I found the seeming glamour of the soloist’s perch the most appealing, but performing in small ensembles the most satisfying. Achieving any kind of significant sustainability-focused innovation requires a team. The work I produce at Foresight is made better by the input of my colleagues.
A group of youth from South Florida is suing state officials for their inaction on climate change, arguing that sea level rise threatens their future prosperity. Whether or not their effort succeeds, these young people’s engagement and commitment to safeguarding their communities makes me hopeful about the next generation of leaders.
Growth Etudes Part 1: Discernment
Intentional career trajectories puzzle me. A well-defined vocational path has never seemed relevant. I launched Foresight to create my own opportunities, with little regard for where it might lead in the long-term. Foresight has grown, and isn’t just about my vision and skill set anymore. We’ve started to more intentionally consider the organization's trajectory, with my voice being but one of several. This process requires reviewing many elements, including the nature of our individual ambitions.
A US appeals court ruled on April 10 that women can’t be paid less than men due to salary history, and many states, including Illinois, are pursuing legislation that would bar employers from considering prior salary altogether. These types of oft-overlooked mechanisms can reinforce existing power structures, and dismantling this one will hopefully help to address the gender wage gap.
One year ago this week, I wrote my first installment in this series about Birkenhead Park, one of the earliest public parks in modern history. Starting next week, I will pivot to writing about notable events of 2018, in the hopes of demonstrating that history and progress are not merely relics of the past, but are being made every day.
Bit By Bit
Go big, or go home. I used to be enamored by the allure of fostering large-scale change that would catalyze more sustainable behaviors and practices. However, the potential of more modest shifts has been occupying my attention lately. I’ve experienced this in my yoga practice, finding that a series of smaller, more accessible adjustments can add up over time. Striving for bigger ones often resulted in fatigue, injury or frustration. Achieving these more minute inflections, however, demands a more focused and disciplined level of concentration, and forfeiting the yearning for the ego-gratifying big win.
I forgot my computer. Today’s Forecast is being written by hand. Very few of these weekly missives have been drafted on anything but a keyboard and screen. Identifying viable alternatives requires space and perspective. Walking to the studio early this morning, I realized I didn’t want to go all the way there just to get my computer. I began to consider the options, including using the pen and notebook that I did have with me.
Published at the dawn of the Cold War in 1946, the Acheson-Lilienthal Report proposed a collaborative, international approach to share the benefits, and mitigate the threats, of nuclear energy. Its eventual abandonment gives it a melancholic subtext, but its authors’ foresight is inspiring, and a worthy reminder that humanity's most pressing challenges require both global and long-term thinking.
The Rewards of Listening
Don’t look down. The impulse has become innate; no reminders required. Working for a small innovation studio in an emerging field, risk and uncertainty are constants. They have become familiar friends whom I’m not sure I really like anymore. What was their initial allure? I would ask them to leave if their mystery weren’t so compelling. If I let them stay a little bit longer, they will perhaps, finally, surface their secrets.