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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.

Who's Fooling Who?

Peter Nicholson

The Influence of Cute
Everyone should have a puppy. The world would be a saner and more sustainable place. Watching over our new, 10-week old arrival invokes a powerful sense of vulnerability. The last time I felt this exposed, I was in college, studying music pre-professionally. My stage fright grew more intense each week I was there. Every moment I performed in public became a paralyzing battle against everything that could, and eventually did, go wrong. Working on sustainability issues can sometimes produce the same overwhelming sense, however much I’ve learned to manage it. Sometimes maturing isn’t so much about outgrowing certain traits, as learning to better navigate them. A puppy can be a squirrely being to try to corral. Reason, my usual, reliable, go-to approach is useless; baser instincts are at play. So far, my moments of exasperation have manifested as laughter, not anger. Being cute, warm and cuddly helps. Hutson-the-Foresight-Pup teaches as well as requires care. I try not to hover, but part of my mind is always spinning in the background, thinking about him. It is a new, abiding concern added to long list of others. Most often, I pretend I have the ability to defend the ramparts, to intercede and fix anything. But a deeper part of me knows from experience, there is a line beyond which I am powerless. Though it was the former that I used to try so diligently to develop and embrace, as if it would deliver me, I've learned that in this latter realm resides our most profound humanity and power.