Essay

What Do You Really Think?

Progress and the Fear of Criticism

I was hoping for more. A recent survey of area sustainability-related blogs, particularly those that offer some type of analysis, criticism or reflection, turned up few. Of what exists, most are announcement focused. Critical analysis of sustainability related initiatives doesn’t occur in a public sphere. If it does happen, it goes on in private, behind backs, more partially-informed gossip than knowledgeable analysis. If we take sustainable innovation seriously, there should be a forum in which projects are unpacked and examined in an effort to develop the practice. I would be the first to submit our projects to review. The longer I’m engaged with this work, the more dedicated I have become to the longer arc of maturing this still-emerging field. Each undertaking should be another step up the ladder, rather than the same first step. Way too often projects are repeating the latter. Significant progress—what exactly that means is a subject for another time—depends on a lot more than what I, or any other single practitioner, has to offer. Mustering the courage, trust and humility to open our undertakings to examination, or to review those of others, is its own challenge.

Peter Nicholson, Innovationist
FORESIGHT DESIGN INITIATIVE

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