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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: What's More Real?

Peter Nicholson

Dizzy, Not Drunk
Balance is underappreciated. I’ve recently experienced a bout of “benign vertigo.” When it occurs, everything appears normal, just sort of tilting, drifting, as if some deep, invisible moorings have come unanchored. After a trip to the doctor and some medication, it's dissipated. But it feels like it could reoccur at any time. The condition was more psychologically disturbing than physically debilitating, with everything the same but slightly unhinged, and the cause and duration of the condition unknown at the time. Could I adapt? I attended one business meeting like this without revealing it. Concentrated visual focus was essential to functioning and appearing normal, as were a few tricks like casually dragging my hand along the wall in order to walk straight. I can’t help but think that this temporary condition was some kind of privilege, an opportunity to see behind the illusion of stability and stasis required for us to function. Change and the unfamiliar, however benign, can be disturbing, something that those of us focused on design, innovation and disruption often forget. I’m relieved to be back on stable ground, my balance restored, however much I know it’s only a matter of perception.