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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.

Semester at Sea?

Peter Nicholson

Lake Lessons 3 (Final)
Four days aboard an 800-foot Great Lakes freighter transporting 30K tons of limestone and iron ore was an unexpectedly rich experience. As with the lessons shared last week, this final batch carries relevancies to other kinds of journeys, including those Foresight undertakes on its projects.

1. Pacing: Particularly when navigating narrower passages, don’t go faster than the speed at which you’re prepared to hit something (not that we did!).

2Perspective: Situational awareness is best maintained from several sources. In the case of the ship, there were multiple radars, GPS trackers, weather and depth monitors, and crew members charged with visual observation.

3. Clarity: Active listening and unambiguous communication is essential to steering a large vessel. At first it seemed a bit strange for the steersman to immediately repeat back the directions given by the captain, standing a few feet in front of him, but in tighter passages (see #1), it made sense.

4. Fundamentals: Our economy relies on the continuous movement and processing of enormous amounts of heavy, bulk materials, a process that is often largely hidden from sight.

5. Insight: Fulfilling childhood ambitions can be even more compelling than one ever imagined.