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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: My Intelligence or Ours?

Peter Nicholson

Shifting the Narrative
I can be a difficult student. My best teachers gave me lots of space. I’ve had to learn lessons for myself, which is the long way around. Doing so, however, taught me how I best learn. We teach kids content, but not necessarily how to understand the way their minds work. My stubbornness has faded some over the years. As I’ve pursued different sustainability-focused innovation projects, the imperative to assert less, and listen and learn more has become increasingly clear. It’s also easier. The narrative in my head often matters much less than what I’m hearing from those with whom I’m working, whether in the role of consultant or teacher. My job isn’t to necessarily assert what I think, but to help others build capacity by identifying useful connections based on their understandings. On more than one occasion, my proclivity for judging has almost derailed a key development. Too often I can jump from hearing something to dismissing it. Smart people can be really dumb this way. The older I get, the more I realize that the more I’m able to tune in, the smarter I am. Superior intelligence is collective. As I assert to my staff when asked to singularly solve a problem: I don’t know the best answer, but we probably do.