Feb 16, 2023


by Carol Rickard-Brideau

Regen CoLab: Meet Philip Donovan

At Little, we are committed to a regenerative future and driven to evolve from awareness to action. Our Regen CoLab is a talented team of collaborators who focus on building a culture of regenerative practice within Little. Over the next few months, we will spotlight these individuals and share how our focus areas of measurement in Health, Energy, Water, and Social Equity (HEWS) set a path toward a regenerative future. Today we are introducing Regen CoLab member Philip Donovan.


Albert Einstein once said, “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.” Philip Donovan takes these words to heart. As a Director of Little’s Regen CoLab, he has spent the past two decades championing design that is in harmony with place.

“Nature is the perfect designer,” he shares. “Everything evolves to be optimized for the job it was created for, even though we humans often have other ideas about that, such as making things faster, cheaper, etc.”


At Little, Philip is helping chart the course to a regenerative future. Working closely with project teams, clients, and all project stakeholders as part of an integrated process, he balances a forward-thinking mindset with a methodical, data-driven approach centered on elevating client performance. It begins by exploring the different contexts our clients exist within their ecological footprints on a day-to-day basis to optimize the ways in which a building, a system, or a material can positively impact not only the space they are inhabiting, but also the multiple systems they operate within.

Philip explains, “We know from experience that utilizing an integrative process is the key to a regenerative outcome because we can address multiple issues at the same time. We use historical data to leverage resources like time, budget, energy, and water toward better outcomes. Instead of adding more resources to a project, we can shift existing resources around in a way that maximizes positive impact and return on investment. It’s objectively smart decision-making in service to our clients.”


It’s Philip’s passion for sustainability and regenerative design that inspires those around him. Balancing the big picture with acute technical expertise, he has the unique ability to communicate complex subject matter in clear, motivating ways. Fellow Regen CoLab Director Jen Todd shares, “Philip inspires and advocates with passion and empathy. His experience, expertise, and ability to inspire elevates us all.”

Philip is great at reminding us to look beyond the boundaries of the project, the site, or even the community we’re working in. He encourages each one of us to, “Challenge yourself to understand the impacts your work has on places both upstream and downstream of your projects. Are you having a positive impact on the ecological and social communities out beyond the place you currently sit?”

Philip Donovan is a trailblazer in high performance, net-zero, and regenerative design. With over two decades of experience, he focuses on creating better outcomes for his clients and the ecological and social communities of each through the implementation of projects that strive to delicately and regeneratively intervene in the natural ecosystems within which they exist. Philip is one of four Directors of Little’s Regen CoLab and helps build a culture of regenerative practice within Little through established processes, research, and education. Stay tuned for future employee spotlights featuring Little’s Regen CoLab. 


Carol Rickard-Brideau

Carol is a self-proclaimed foodie, is endlessly curious about how design affects humans, both psychologically and physically, and has a thing for gardens. She is also an architect and Chief Executive Officer at Little. Follow her on Twitter @WineDarkC.

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