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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.


Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

INSIGHT: Can This Addiction Be Cured?

Peter Nicholson

Failing Emptiness
I’ve been traveling. Hours traversing Midwest turnpikes have been filled with a steady stream of music and hands-free cellphone calls. Recently, while switching from listening to talk mode en route, it occurred to me: I didn’t used to be this way. Prior to getting a smartphone, I was more content with empty time. I now crave constant sensory stimulation. Creating more sustainable solutions requires the space to reflect, to allow for thoughts I haven’t had yet. My best ideas surface when my senses aren’t consumed by stimuli. And yet I feel as if I’m being pushed in just the opposite direction. Last week, I became almost physically uncomfortable when I hung up the phone, turned off the radio, and drove across the bare, thawing landscape in silence. Fidgeting, I suddenly realized: I’m addicted. Followed by: This is anathema to creating the thoughtful solutions required for sustainability-related challenges. I couldn’t take it. Turning the radio back on, I placated my guilt with the pledge: I’ll write a Forecast essay about it.