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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.

Embracing "Extreme"?

Peter Nicholson

Productive Disruption
I don’t savor working at home. The Deep Freeze this week, however, dictated staying ensconced. Along with others I know, I was able to identify the origin of about every draft in my apartment, and test the limits of our heating system. The Polar Vortex was a home efficiency stress test that many failed. The impacts of the climate shift underway will be disruptive. “Crazy weather” is our new normal. Working on sustainability issues is all about altering our collective status quo toward a lower carbon, less polluting, more efficient, cleaner, healthier, better future. The other night, I watched a conservative news commentator attempt to dismantle a proposed “green agenda” of such innovations. Walking through the negative windchill to the coffee shop this morning, I wondered if we shared the same planet. The challenge I often face isn't designing the thing, like a new smartphone app, or intelligent thermostat, but the shift in attitude and behavior. You’d think “extreme weather” would help, but the illusion of the certainty of the past dies hard. Can’t we just go back to the way things used to be? It’s frustrating. Which is why, during my walk to work this morning, well-insulated and savoring the feel of the sun on my face while also feeling the bite of the cold, I was happy. Commentary and conjecture pales in the face of nature. Nature wins. I side with and embrace nature, even if it means staying in every now and then, hiding from it.