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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.


Fearless. Quarterly Studio Highlights | OCt. 19, 2017

Studio Notes: Call & Response

The world doesn't need another design or innovation studio. What it does need are well-equipped entities dedicated to transformative change. More robust solutions require forward-looking firms that embrace a definition of success that better balances environmental, social and economic impacts. Foresight Design Initiative aspires to be a different kind of innovation agent. We are intrinsically aspirational, working to:

  • build capacity as well as create impact;

  • synthesize emerging and traditional strategies;

  • forge and facilitate more effective collaborations;

  • inflect change at the level of the individual, organization and system; and

  • continually reflect, learn and grow.

The work demands courage. Naming this new, occasional newsletter Fearless is more an admonition than an achieved state. In the face of increasingly complex and acute challenges, we need to understand and own our convictions, and share our accomplishments, learnings and influences. Foresight thrives on conversation; we welcome your questions, inquiries for more information, or simple responses.

— Peter Nicholson

Propelling Our Energy Future

The Chicago region’s energy system is in the midst of a massive shift, one that will require cross-sector collaboration to ensure a clean, equitable, and resilient transition. Foresight led a co-design process with stakeholders from across the energy system to—for the first time ever—develop a holistic, action-oriented regional energy strategy that will inform the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s next long-range comprehensive plan.

Winning Big for Communities

Foresight’s expert facilitation and proposal writing ensured that Chicago’s application to the Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) aligned the visions of a diverse group of community development and financing professionals, while pursuing the truly transformative change that SPARCC’s national partners sought. The result: a winning $1M proposal, plus millions of investment potential for Chicago focused on equity, health, and climate resilience.

Empowering Collaborations

By innovating organizational development, Foresight has helped partners work across boundaries—geographic, professional, sectoral—that have traditionally resulted in silos, and doomed undertakings. When the Calumet Collaborative, formerly Millennium Reserve, sought to transcend jurisdictions and catalyze innovative partnerships between Illinois and Indiana stakeholders, they invited our help in redesigning its structure, governance, mission, and role for greater impact.

Bolstering Regional Resilience

When planning for the future of our region, it is imperative to build greater resilience to emerging climate impacts. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, needing knowledgeable and adept facilitators, turned to Foresight to design and lead a series of forward-looking discussions. Leaders from American Red Cross, Chicago Dept. of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, ComEd, and Illinois Dept. of Transportation, among others, helped inform the bold strategy for bolstering regional resilience.

Systems Thinking @ Brown U.

Earlier this month, Foresight was invited to develop and lead a systems thinking training for social entrepreneurship students at Brown University. Over 40 future changemakers are now armed with the mindset, tools, and process for driving transformative change.

Foresight Prep @ Oberlin 2017

This summer, 54 exceptional high school students from around the country came together in Oberlin, Ohio, for Foresight's leadership accelerator program. After six dynamic weeks of experiential learning, they left with new tools and perspectives on effective levers for change.

In The Works: Climate Arts

Classical music + climate change aren't often seen in the same sentence. Yet innovation can breed strange bedfellows, if not require it! Foresight is working to forge a compelling mash-up that propels both action and aesthetics.

On Our Radar: Energy Futures

The Illinois Commerce Commission's NextGrid process, a groundbreaking exploration of future scenarios for the state's electric utilities, kicked off in September.

Resource of Note: Collaboratives

As one of the leading organizations on cross-sector collaborations, we found the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s guide to Energy Efficiency Collaboratives to be a valuable summary of models for statewide efficiency strategies.

Foresight Heroes: David Orr

A conversation with author and environmentalist David Orr can be a powerful experience, a combination of folksy anecdotes, leading climate science, and self-deprecating humor. We value him for always encouraging us to think and act deeper, bolder, bigger.

About Us

Foresight’s innovation consultancy empowers foundations, coalitions, and businesses across the Great Lakes region to overcome the systemic barriers to social and environmental justice. For more than 15 years, we have been dedicated to accelerating the shift towards a more vibrant future that balances environmental, social, and economic values. We aim to build the capacity of collaborators to more holistically understand and intervene in complex challenges. Our partners include regional planning councils, philanthropic organizations, civic and higher education institutions, and diverse businesses–all pursuing transformation, impact, and leadership. Our portfolio of projects has required a range of expertise, including group facilitation, applied research, systems analysis, collaboration building, communication design, program evaluation, and strategy development and implementation.


Empowering you? Foresight Design Initiative is tirelessly motivated to help our partners realize their potential and build capacity to achieve it. How might we empower you? Connect with Lyndon Valicenti at