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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.

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Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

Good Dog Bad Dog?

Peter Nicholson

The Art of Obedience
The project has become unruly. Working on complex projects focused on topics like energy, water and agriculture, rarely goes as planned. Remaining focused yet nimble is essential. Developing a powerful idea is just the beginning, not the end of most projects. You still have to sell it. Meanwhile, Hutson, the Foresight-Wonder-Pup, has started training classes, an effort to refine his youthful instincts. His challenge is two-fold: keeping him focused, and practicing whatever skill the trainer has assigned. Inherently social, he would much prefer to interact with the other 7 dogs in the room. We bribe him with treats. Sometimes it works, temporarily. Most clients are motivated by the idea of achieving the outcome they’ve hired us to help them reach. The goal is the motivation. This one project, however, has resisted all our efforts to get it to sit, come, graduate. There is a larger instinct at work, one that has circumvented all the reason we’ve thrown at it. Like our sometimes strong-willed puppy, the coalition is finding it difficult to coalesce around a revised identity. I don’t portend to understand Hutson’s mind, but it’s obvious to what he reacts. The trick with a difficult project, perhaps? Better learn what makes them tick, make sure we’re solving the right problem. Having attended my first puppy class, another realization has occurred to me: the process is as much, if not more, about the trainer learning as the puppy. The value of dogs, like children, like anything with an inherent vulnerability, is in how they change us—hopefully toward something better—as much as we mold them.