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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: On What Edge?

Peter Nicholson

Transcending Complacencies
Progress requires challenging boundaries. The annual Big Ears Music Festival plays at the edges where genres collide, blur, or morph into something new. My work involves many crossings: between skills, disciplines, communities, organizations, and constantly evolving priorities. Operating in a constant in-between state can be exciting, fulfilling and frustrating. It was thrilling to experience the festival performances with others equally enthusiastic for adventurous feats. Each concert took us somewhere new, through fluent virtuosities and restless inventions. I didn’t love everything, but I did revel in the atmosphere of emergence and non complacency. It reminded me of some of the early sustainable innovation conferences I attended in the late 1990s in Europe, where we dreamed big. Fundamentally, sustainability isn’t about renewable energy, recycling, or bike sharing, but rather about catalyzing a larger human evolution toward greater fulfillment of our innate potential. We have established our capacity to negatively impact, if not destroy. What we are still figuring out is our ability to creatively renew. Doing so will require a virtuosity not unlike what was on display at Big Ears, incorporating technical command, status quo stretching exploration, and the pursuit of the joy to be had in it all, on both sides of the stage.