The following is a list of Foresight Design Initiative's past projects.
Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation: Communications & Events
MelqX: cooperative credit card processing service business model development
Sustainability in Pullman
Chicago Wilderness Confluence 2016: regional water expert convening
Northeast Ohio Resilience Partnership (NIRP)
Strong, Prosperous, and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC): Chicago Entry
Food and Agriculture Roadmap for Illinois (FARM IL) implementation initiative
Millennium Reserve/Calumet Bi-State Sustainable Development Collaborative project
Oberlin College sustainability strategy
Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation: Communications & Events
The Future of Bikesharing (Vancouver, BC)
National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC): IL Collaboration
Sustainable Solutions for Coahagan Island (Philippines)
Oberlin College Sustainability Strategy
Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation: Innovation for Impact
Calumet Stormwater Collaborative
When faced with a challenge larger than any one entity’s or sector’s ability to address it alone, the only option is collaboration. Recognizing this imperative, the Metropolitan Planning Council convened over 40 public and private entities to work together to effectively manage stormwater in the Calumet region on Chicago’s far south side. In need of a neutral, skilled coalition builder to position the newly-formed Calumet Stormwater Collaborative for success, MPC brought on Foresight to facilitate the exploratory (2014) and strategic planning (2016) phases. By designing an innovative participatory process, rooted in a systems approach to problem solving, we engaged stakeholders in productive exercises that fostered collaboration, determined root causes, cultivated shared goals, and built momentum towards collective action. The Collaborative's work is ongoing and is now focused on key actions necessary for bigger, better, and faster impact on managing stormwater in the Calumet region.
Opportunities for Intervention: A Systems Analysis of Chicago's Water & Energy Efficiency Efforts
Shortly after establishing a new grantmaking program area in sustainable development, the Chicago Community Trust sought to identify the key intervention points to advance Chicago’s water and energy efficiency efforts. Foresight was invited to conduct a systems analysis of the region's current ecosystem and efforts on these key issues, with the objective of revealing opportunities to accelerate change and catalyze greater impact. We interviewed over 30 stakeholders from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to reveal their areas of focus, motivations, drivers, strategies, and barriers. Through this examination of the water and energy efficiency systems, we identified 13 leverage points to inform CCT’s grantmaking, as well as that of grantmakers from across the local funding community.
Planning & Strategy for a New Energy Foundation
The Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2011 established the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation to educate residential consumers about the benefits of new, smart grid-enabled energy products and services. Faced with the daunting task of establishing a new foundation, decision-makers turned to Foresight to develop an organizational strategy informed by research on best practices. This consisted of a deep review of consumer engagement strategies in more than 90 smart grid rollout precedents, resulting in recommendations for ISEIF’s grantmaking process, educational methodology, and long-term strategy. Following this planning effort, ISEIF awarded its first round of grant funding ($4 million) in late 2013, and will grow to be a $50 million funding initiative.
Foresight (Re)Source: Resell & Recycle
Sustainable Impact Chicago (SIC) (2006-2012)
Evolving from regular meetings of organizations to coordinate public sustainability-related educational events, the Sustainable Impact Chicago program grew to eventually include three, multistakeholder entities: Sustainable Education Network, Sustainable Business Network, and the Sharing Economy Network. Convened and facilitated by Foresight, each network sought to improve communication between groups, to better coordinate parallel efforts, and to achieve a collective impact.
IGO CarSharing Celebrations (2011-2012)
Foresight drew upon its experience design and event management expertise to support IGO CarSharing (now Enterprise CarShare) with its annual brand building membership gathering, including its 10th Anniversary party. Working closely with its partner, Foresight created smoothly executed events, and lead up promotions, that effectively attracted and engaged more than 400 attendees.
An idea ahead of its time, this unrealized, collaborative project envisioned sustainably designing and constructing an Ark that would be paraded through Chicago’s Daley Plaza and possible other Loop locations, during Earth Day. This participatory event would have helped raise awareness around the unity of the environmental movement in Chicago, as well as connect the public with opportunities to take action. After Earth Day, the Ark was to exhibit at a roster of congregations in the Chicago area. The family-friendly action was designed to draw together Chicagoans, with varying ranges of knowledge on climate change issues. Chosen for its accessibility, the Ark is symbol that will resonate with diverse groups of people.
Alliance for Education Innovation
Partnering with the Academy for Global Citizenship, a Chicago public charter school that cultivates international awareness and fosters environmental stewardship, Foresight undertook an exploration of how the school could propagate its compelling vision and mission. The Alliance for Education Innovation was conceived of as a platform for schools to collaborate and share best practices in order to implement a larger national evolution of the public education system.
Communicating Sustainability in Underrepresented Communities
Instigated from important revelations uncovered by a daylong “Healing the Ecological Divide” hosted in June 2011, by Faith in Place and the Illinois Environmental Council, the Communicating Sustainability Project sought to create a tool that not only distributed information more effectively, but also served as a way to both accentuate community assets and motivate action. The event was a platform that allowed those who are, by and large, left out of the environmental movement to voice their concerns regarding community struggles. The need for a more effective means of distributing sustainability-related information within underrepresented regions of Chicago emerged as a common theme from the gathering. A dearth of sustainability-related news was determined to be a significant hindrance to community members from being able to act on their concerns. Foresight’s team took this challenge and sought opportunities to identify and empower resident stakeholders.
Working with Elevate Energy (then CNT Energy), the Foresight team analyzed the barriers to create greater buy-in for retrofitting older residential buildings. The value of retrofits produces indirect benefits on the quality of life in urban areas; one such benefit is the creation of more affordable housing through cost savings. Eventual recommendations included employing block-to-block community based marketing and educational initiatives on the benefits of energy efficiency retrofits.
Guide to Sustainable Office Build Out & Relocation
What questions should a sustainability-oriented foundation consider as it seeks to take advantage of a relocation to create an inspiring model "green" office? Tasked with answering this question, the Foresight team began researching a broad range of topics related to a sustainable office: certifications, technology, social impacts of spaces, office design and construction team identification. Based on this exploration, a guide was developed for the office search, build out, moving process and office operations. It divides the process into seven phases from creating a vision for the new office space to effective operation. Each phase provides important questions to consider, information and resources to review, and specific outputs that inform subsequent steps. The guide is intended for use by any organization planning an office renovation or relocation.
Working in collaboration with the 47th Ward Alderman’s office, Foresight’s team set out to develop a sustainability plan for this district on Chicago’s north side. A review of many similarly focused neighborhood and citywide plans revealed a proliferation of ideas, but a common lack implementation methodology. Shifting its focus from a series of technical recommendations to process improvements, Foresight's “plan” detailed a more robust and holistic decision-making method that will produce resilient solutions that are socially, financially, and environmentally sustainable, no matter the nature of the content.
A global network of co-work offices dedicated to social entrepreneurs, The HUB provides a multitude of resources and connections to this burgeoning field. Foresight catalyzed an effort to establish a center in Chicago, eventually handing off the project to others to further explore and develop the potential business model.
City of Chicago Green Festival Pavilion (2010 & 2007)
Drawing upon its expertise with community based social marketing, experience and exhibit design, Foresight was commissioned to develop a prominent, compelling presence for the City of Chicago at this event drawing more than 40,000 visitors. The popular installation included multiple modes of audience engagement in order captivate and inform residents about Chicago’s many environmental initiatives.
Carbon Nation Celebration in Millenium Park
A dynamic, Chicago-produced documentary detailing viable and inspiring solutions to climate change, Carbon Nation was premiered in a large outdoor screening at Millennium Park. Foresight was contracted to organize the event, including audience engagement, and the VIP reception prior to the viewing that included a roster of prominent guests.
Mayor Daley's Green Works Awards
Green Hospitals Initiative
Smart Home Project
Inspired by the Chicago Center for Green Technology, a model LEED Platinum office building, Smart Home Chicago explored creating a exemplary “green” home in East Garfield Park neighborhood that provide a compelling public example of latest technologies and design strategies. It would be open to the public and managed by students residing in an adjacent dorm structure.
New Chicago Public Market
Responding to a request from a Chicago Alderman, Foresight researched the feasibility of creating a year-round public market on Chicago’s north side. Examples of successful ventures in Seattle, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Boston, among others, were examined to determine prerequisite features and business models.
Firehouse Adaptive Reuse
Civic Innovation Engine
Vital Lands Illinois
In 2008, land conservation in Illinois was a disjointed system that needed to be realigned in order to bring greater efficiency, cohesion, and impact. Over the course of the year, The Grand Victoria Foundation and Foresight convened a state-wide working group of conservation organizations to gain insight into the root causes of the issue and identify opportunities for greater alignment. Through facilitating sessions and conducting a systems analysis, we determined that members needed capacity-building resources, access to national knowledge, and better connections between each other. By developing short- and long-term solutions to meet these goals, we helped create a process for a more effective and collaborative land conservation system throughout the state. Read more about Vital Lands Illinois.
Chicago Green Collar Jobs Research Initiative
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum's "Lawn Nation" Exhibition
The challenge was to create an exhibition at Chicago's Nature Museum that investigates the environmental impact of the ubiquitous manicured lawn and demonstrates a better "American Dream." Selected through a competitive proposal process, Foresight designed, constructed, and installed a central exhibit describing alternatives to the traditional lawn. We were also invited to coordinate and execute a large, previously discarded project to design and install a variety of demonstration plots on one acre around the Museum. Elements of the outdoor installation are still incorporated into the museum’s grounds.
Healthy Corner Store
2030 Communities Project
Sustainable Architecture Event
City of Chicago Green Festival Pavilion
Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance (2006-2012) (see History)
Helping Hand Rewards
City of Chicago Green Business Search
Access Living User-Centered Information System Design for Lobby
Explorago Chicago Sustainability Scavenger Hunt
Sustainable Design Challenge
Foresight House Plan
Chicago Sustainability Newsletter/Community Hub
Sustainable Design Challenge
Foresight Green Drinks (2003-2012) (see History)
Green Line Chicago