Bringing a Systems and Design Thinking Approach to Complex Sustainability Challenges
350 N LaSalle St
Chicago, IL 60654
Complex problems such as climate change and natural resource depletion require us to evolve faster and better than ever before. Refined over more than ten years, Foresight Design Initiative's problem solving approach leverages systems thinking and design strategy to understand root causes and identify holistic and resilient solutions. This discussion will focus on a recent project that integrates systems diagramming to align stakeholders around strategic interventions to reduce the negative impacts of storm water on Chicago's South Side.
Peter Nicholson is the executive director of the Foresight Design Initiative, a multifaceted innovation and education nonprofit he established in 2002. In addition to being principal of the organization's consulting practice, he also leads Foresight Bright, LLC, an innovation firm he established in 2012 to serve private sector clients. Through these positions, Peter leads a multidimensional career focused on challenging the status quo and pursuing greater social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Peter consults on and undertakes sustainable transformation projects for a diversity of clients, including government agencies, foundations, and diverse businesses. Projects within the last year have focused on energy efficiency, water, global fisheries, smart grids, and municipal resiliency, among other subjects, and have involved diverse stakeholders from many sectors. User-centered design, systems thinking, and a broad toolkit are incorporated into every engagement. Peter is dedicated to the education of the next generation of sustainability-minded leaders and has created and taught highly regarded programs for participants ranging from high school students to corporate executives. His concise, personal reflections on sustainable innovation are a popular feature of the weekly Foresight Forecast newsletter and blog. Peter began his study of sustainability and design at IIT Institute of Design and holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College.
Lyndon Valicenti, senior consultant at Foresight Design Initiative, brings over 10 years of experience in scientific study, policy analysis, and planning around sustainable ecological and urban systems. Lyndon is adjunct faculty in the sustainability leadership and change management program at University of Chicago’s Graham School. She holds a master’s in public administration in environmental science and policy from Columbia University and a bachelor’s of science in aquatic ecology from University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds a certificate in sustainable urban and environmental design from Archeworks.