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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
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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.

Blog

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

Factoring Ambiguity?

Peter Nicholson

Night Flight
We descend. The airplane’s lights struggle to cut through the night fog. I yearn for clarity. Words can be slippery and inexact, poor mechanisms by which to probe overlapping interrelations. Talk less, draw more. Glimpses of the city’s lights emerge. We are lower than I imagined, although there has been no context from which to measure and judge. Complexity can offer the mirage of easy understanding. Craft more diagrams to turn buried realities inside out, unravel their guts. Faced with challenges, the impulse to revert to the stronger, narrative muscle emerges, overpowers other ways of responding. The simplest drawings can often be the most powerful. More coffee shop cave paintings. We need different, better problem-solving skills to untangle and realign the interrelated systems upon which we rely. We think we know, and posit action in that knowledge. Sometimes we’ll never know, and have to go on anyway. One beat after the wheels hit, the spoilers extend, cancelling the lift upon which, seconds ago, our lives depended. As the brakes engage, we hold ourselves to the back of our seats, pretending this isn’t some kind of crash. I search for the missing sentence that should come here, illuminating the complicated mashup of thought and emotion stirring right now at the intersection of my personal and professional trajectories. The sense of wonder enabled by delicious flight evaporates into another kind of absence, time unsuspended, turning, taxing, picture perfect.