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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: Provoking Questions

Peter Nicholson

Provoking Progress (Part I)
Questions can incite. My dear, late friend Kevin Pierce taught me the power of the right inquiry. He often responded to whatever new idea I shared with, "Yeah, but what about this?” Suddenly, I had to think, rather than just expound. Achieving greater sustainability requires such critical consideration. Here are four provocations I use, over and over and…

1. What problem is this trying to solve?
Because: Too often we pursue a solution before understanding, or even fully identifying the challenge. 

2. What would success look like in 1, 3, 5 years?
Because: “Success" can be defined in many ways, and can, and perhaps should, change over time. 

3. What do you think is the answer?
Because: Too often younger staff members rely on those with more experience to propose solutions, and forfeit the opportunity to develop their own judgement.

4. How will this fail?
Because: Considering what could go wrong, preferably at the start of a project, helps define what we need to design against.