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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: Speak My Language?

Peter Nicholson

Converging Diverging Perspectives
I try not to cringe. Most conferences I've attended were tedious. The one this week, about systems design, at least has the spectacular backdrop of Banff and the intimacy of only around a hundred participants. That said, many of them are academics. The chasm between theory and practice is perplexing. I often find insights generated by studying a pursuit largely irrelevant to my actually doing it. Approaching systems design with differing motivations and constraints, we produce divergent knowledge. It’s frustrating because I’m hungry for better methods in practicing this emerging craft. I want to be empowered, not just understood. Ultimately, the academics and I are evaluated differently. Perhaps tenure should be linked to something else besides publications and conference presentations? Doing so could accelerate all kinds of positive change. So I start the conference recognizing the need to identify and translate transferable ideas, forging my own intersections. That in itself is a skill worth developing, and there isn’t a more beautiful place to do that than here.