Paradigm Worker

"Paradigm Worker" is a place for monthly reflections on how we think about things, and why it matters.
The column returned from hiatus with the July 2021 column, "Natural Habits of Hope."

Regeneration Stories

A Seventh Framework for Action

October 31, 2021 (September/October Column)

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

I am a huge fan of Paul Hawken. I have trusted him for decades to deliver powerful narratives that help us shift toward greater sustainability by reframing the human-nature story and pointing to new opportunities to repair our relationship.



Opening to the World

August 24, 2021

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

“… in a storm people shelter under a bridge, in a tornado they might shelter in a ditch to escape the wind, but where do we seek shelter from our isolation?”


Natural Habits of Hope

Do Turtles Believe in the Future?

July 25, 2021 (July Column)

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

June 6th, 2020, after visiting a local park, my brother sent me this email:

Subject: Turtles still believe in the future.


Planetary Health

Naming the Goal, Naming the Patient

July 1, 2020 (June Column)

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

...What is appealing to me about the name (and invitation to paradigms) of “Planetary Health” is that it could be a design goal with the potential for a unified and cooperative model of well-being ...


Epic Alignment

Jane McGonigal and Stephen Covey walk into a bar...

June 1, 2020 (May Column)

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

I am a fan of big thinkers and I like to imagine them in conversation with each other, perhaps in a bar over drinks or coffee. I would be sitting nearby, taking notes and enjoying the alchemy of intersecting approaches. Recently I have turned to two favorite thinkers (via their books) regarding this question: Can we ever really get all the way “there?” To that someday when we are living in full integrity with our highest values? If so, how? READ MORE

The Braided Breath

Healing the vision of life on Earth

April 30, 2020

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

People are sewing masks. They are doing it out of love for their fellow humans. The masks connect us by offering some degree of separation, in hopes of blocking virus droplets floating through the air. Whether between a grocery clerk and an elderly shopper, or a delivery person and a family of five. In this moment of isolated quarantine, our interconnection is made more visible by its withdrawal and restriction. READ MORE

Crossing Edges, Shifting Centers

Water maps of belonging

March 22, 2020

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

One summer Saturday, my son and I were driving on Highway 36 from the Twin Cities going east. We passed the sign that said “Thank you for visiting Minnesota,” and I told him we were about to cross into Wisconsin. As we drove onto the bridge over the St. Croix River which divides the two states, my son said, “Now we are nowhere. We don’t exist. We are not in Minnesota or Wisconsin.” READ MORE

Paradigm Workers Unite! ...Or Not


January 31, 2020

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

I’ve been meaning to write this essay since about 2011, when I first coined the phrase “paradigm worker” as a way to describe how artists were part of systems change. I’d been reading an article by systems analyst and thought leader Donella Meadows called “Places to Intervene in a System.” In it, she describes “… places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.” READ MORE

Interview: Reflections on Sustainable Design

Generations and Re-generations

December 29, 2019

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

With Brayden Kirk

In mid-December I received an email from Brayden Kirk, a high school student about to enter the architecture field next year. He is interested in sustainable design and asked me some very good questions. By the time I was done answering his email, I realized that he’d given me an opportunity for a career-spanning reflection on sustainable design and how I have evolved alongside the evolving views in the design profession. I was glad to share hopeful news of increasing commitments from architecture organizations with someone just entering architecture, whose enthusiasm also gives me hope. READ MORE

Names for Time

From Daylight Savings to the Anthropocene

November 1, 2019

By: Jonee Kulman Brigham

As daylight savings time approaches this weekend, I think of the elusive nature of time, and also how time has lost its innocence for me, and yet I trust it more. From minutes to millennia, the names we give time matter, both personally and collectively.


© Jonee Kulman Brigham