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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: Knowing the Difference?

Peter Nicholson

Premature Barriers
His comment annoyed me. A fellow staff member recently made the near fatal error of identifying several possible barriers to an idea I had just shared. This kind of premature fault finding feels like a personal affront that contributes to an ethos of stasis and decay. If every “what if” is followed by “yeah but,” little change will ever occur. I’m addicted to the high that comes in a generative space. Innovation demands an initial suspension of reality. My colleague was killing my buzz. Where many visionaries I've known fail, however, is getting stuck there. Identifying and designing around the inevitable barriers is where a deeper genius shines. There is no shortage of fingers gloriously pointing the way to greater sustainability, but far fewer shovels in the ground, doing the dedicated, less glamorous labor of strategically laying the foundation for a more evolved reality. Realizing progress requires both modes, as well as the wisdom to know how and when to balance the free reign of the one, with the necessary discipline of the other. Which is why, in the end, it can be so difficult to achieve.