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.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
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.
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.
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.
Your Philanthropy: Part II
Giving often comes from the heart. There’s nothing wrong with that. Building on last week’s post, however, here are some additional suggestions for interjecting some intellect into the act. I’ve found that by balancing heart and head, I’m more likely to maximize the impact of the dollars I contribute.
Your Philanthropy: Part I
Tis the season! Doing charitable giving “right” can involve finding the right balance, for you, of several factors. Here are a few.
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.Read More
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.
The Influence of Cute
Everyone should have a puppy. The world would be a saner and more sustainable place. Watching over our new, 10-week old arrival invokes a powerful sense of vulnerability. The last time I felt this exposed, I was in college, studying music pre-professionally. My stage fright grew more intense each week I was there. Every moment I performed in public became a paralyzing battle against everything that could, and eventually did, go wrong.
In Memoriam: Henry Henderson (1952 - Nov. 5, 2018)
Nature wins. The other morning, in my vivid dreamscape, the waves had far exceeded the breakwater. I call to you, “come look,” not so much out of surprise or concern, but wonder. With the waves now lapping at it, will the foundation hold? Is it built for this?
The Art of Allowing
Learning music was essential. When I was playing and studying chamber music in college, I had no idea how valuable the experience would later be to my career. There are a plethora of courses that teach meeting facilitation techniques. I would put my years of chamber music experience up against every one.
Spooky Innovation Killers
Clients want better solutions. Or so they think. Like a wine tasting, innovation often gets sampled and spat out before it can be ingested. Here are some of the responses I’ve received as novel vintages met their doom, and the underlying reasoning.