Q&A Sep 12, 2022

The Next Generation of Sustainability: A Q&A with Chris Allen

In this Q&A, we connected with Chris Allen, our managing director, Net Zero + Nature Positive for Foreseeable, to discuss Jacobs’ new service offering Foreseeable and his plans for the future of NextGen Sustainability.

Q&A with  Chris Allen  Jacobs Managing Director, Net Zero + Nature Positive for Foreseeable San Francisco, California, U.S.

In this feature, Jacobs’ Managing Director, Net Zero + Nature Positive for Foreseeable Chris Allen shares the importance of biological intelligence and how that helps solve large-scale problems.

Let’s discuss with Chris:

Entering the post-pandemic world, what do you think is the biggest risk our clients and communities face when it comes to NextGen Sustainability, Future of Place and Built Environment as a Service?

I think accelerating climate change is just now becoming visible and tangible where people are aware of the rapid changes ahead of us, these risks are global and profound, which have implications for our business but also for our society.  Everything from offices, homes and even the global supply chains is undergoing massive shifts. These risks are mounting, and we are just learning  how best to adapt.

What about Foreseeable made you say, “I want to do this as my career”?

The Foreseeable solutions platform focuses on responding to complex change and future scenarios that create both risk and opportunity. I am interested in the practice of strategic foresight and working with teams to discover options and pathways that can create new sources of value and solve large-scale problems. This type of work is personally challenging and rewarding and requires teams of interdisciplinary, creative thinkers.

What advice would you give a young employee that wants to build a better world?

Take the time to discover your strengths and what gives you joy in the types of creative work needed for building a better world. It is a big topic with many dimensions.  Pursue your career in a way that leverages your strengths, and that will allow you to remain passionate and energetic, which is important for staying in it for the long haul. If you are in your place of strength, you gain energy over time. There is a trial-and-error process to find your strengths and passions, but it is well worth the effort.

“Accelerating climate change is just now becoming visible and tangible where people are aware of the rapid changes ahead of us, these risks are global and profound, which have implications for our business but also for our society. Everything from offices, homes and even the global supply chains is undergoing massive shifts.”

Chris Allen

Christopher Allen

Jacobs Managing Director, Net Zero + Nature Positive for Foreseeable

What is your most proud career moment?

When I was working with the biomimicry initiative, we had the opportunity to build and launch the ask nature (asknature.org) platform funded by Autodesk for the green build conference in 2008. With little time and a small but mighty team we defied the odds and delivered the platform for Biomimicry 3.8 founder Janine Benyus Wilson and the late illustrious biologist Edward O. Wilson at Green Build. It was fast and furious but was a testament of what a great and talented team can do with team spirit and steely resolve.

What is next for the Foreseeable team?

Accelerating from a small internal startup and becoming a large driving force helping transform the company from our business-as-usual approach to an integrated solutions delivery model to help solve the clients most complex large-scale problems. This is exciting work for the team as we engage clients and build networks within the company to deliver on this catalytic new value proposition.

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs team?

The rich combination of talent, diversity, passion for mission and a global perspective. And I love that we have a volcano scientist!

About the interviewee

Chris Allen

Chris Allen is a director working with technical teams to catalyze high-performance Net Zero + Nature Positive solutions in the Built Environment for corporate, public and NGO clients.

With university training in International Business, Chris has 30+ years of experience delivering innovative sustainable development projects globally. He specializes in working with partners and clients to co-create innovative technologies, practices, and business models for high-performance sustainable/regenerative solutions. His work has been featured in Fast Company, Crain Business Journal, Management Innovation Exchange, University of Texas McCombs Business School Magazine and Corporate Knights.

Chris is also a Certified Biomimicry Professional. He works successfully with multi-disciplinary teams from the fields of science, engineering, design, and business to discover knowledge from biology/ecology that can spark innovative solutions in the Built Environment.

Meet Chris

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What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.

We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. 

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