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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: Defending the Future?

Peter Nicholson

Driven to Distraction

I write in the mornings. I try to start with a clear mind and not do any other work beforehand. However, the preponderance of daily political maneuverings easily distracts me. I’m living in a barely sublimated “fight or flight” state sustained by each news update. This is true “disruptive innovation.” To those of us interested in large-scale innovation, the current state of affairs offers profound lessons about power and change. Destabilization and the manufacturing of urgency are key. With sustainability projects, part of the resistance I sometimes face is that the systems on which I'm working aren’t deteriorated enough to embrace evolution. The potential repercussions of inaction don’t outweigh the potential risks of trying a new way. The balance can be swung in a variety of ways, including by invoking fear. At the national scale, I and many others aren’t falling for it. Change should better embody fundamental principles and realities, not undermine them. The arc of history is long, but despite significant detours along the way, it still bends toward justice, and will continue to do so, though not if we take for granted anything we thought achieved and immutable.