• Watch each talk from PechaKucha Night Vol. 37 – Our Green Future


    PechaKucha Night: Our Green Future was a special night. It was a chance to check in with the City of Vancouver’s plan to create the Greenest City in the World by 2020 and a city powered by renewables by 2050, but it was so much more than that.

    Our speakers tackled issues of pipeline resistance and the real threat of oil spills, about how to build happy communities and foster new technologies. We learned about food waste as a justice issue, the fight for independent journalism in Canada and that innovation doesn’t count without good policy behind it. And much more.

    In case you missed it, or want to relive the great night, we’ve posted videos of all the presentations as well as the musical performances on our Vimeo page.

    And don’t forget, we have another PechaKucha Night on October 16 in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art+Design.

    Claudia Li – Hua Foundation
    The Hua foundation is dedicated to propelling Chinese-Canadian youth into becoming social change leaders. Claudia’s work has spanned across grassroots community organizing in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, shark conservation, and climate communications with binational organizations.
    Watch video

    Mark Jaccard – Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management, SFU
    Mark studies energy-economy models that assess the effectiveness of sustainable energy and climate policies. He was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and British Columbia’s Academic of the Year in 2008 and contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
    Watch video

    Emma Gilchrist – DeSmog Canada
    Emma Gilchrist is a writer, editor, citizen engagement specialist and executive director of DeSmog Canada, an influential online magazine focused on energy and environment.
    Watch video

    Winnie Hwo – David Suzuki Foundation 
    After a stellar career in journalism including 14 years as the news and current affairs director for Fairchild Television, Canada’s only Chinese language network, Winnie joined the David Suzuki Foundation to become the go-to person for Chinese language media on environmental issues.
    Watch video

    Marten Sims – Happy City
    Marten is the senior design and engagement specialist at Happy City; president of the Vancouver Design Nerds and served as a member of the Vancouver’s Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force.
    Watch video

    Jennifer Mayberry – Manager of Environmental Planning, City of Vancouver
    Jennifer is cleaning up our city. She manages all City-owned contaminated sites and Hazardous Materials Management, Corporate Zero Waste, Sustainability initiatives, Environmental Emergency Response, green building, and the environmental regulatory branch.
    Watch video

    Michael Delage – General Fusion
    Fusion: the power of the sun. Harnessed here on earth, it would transform the world’s energy supply. Michael is an engineer and technology entrepreneur with General Fusion, headquartered in Burnaby and developing the fastest, most practical and lowest path to commercial fusion energy.
    Watch video

    Elaine Cheng – Feeding the 5000 Vancouver and Food Connections
    Elaine launched the first ever Feeding the 5000 event in Canada – a global communal feasting event made from surplus wasted food that raised awareness about the fact that 40% of all food produced is discarded.
    Watch video

    Am Johal – SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement,
    As Director of SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, Am is involved with producing over 100 public events annually with dozens of community partners. He sits on the board of the Vancity Community Foundation, Vancouver City Planning Commission and is on the steering committee for SFU’s Centre for Dialogue.
    Watch video

    Rueben George – Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative
    The Sacred Trust is an initiative of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation mandated to oppose and stop the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project.
    Watch video

    Andrea Smith – Sidesaddle
    Andrea is co-founder of Sidesaddle, Canada’s first women-focused, everyone welcome bike shop. She has worked as a cycling advocate across Canada and trained as an urban planner focused on cycling and mobility as a human right.
    Watch video

    Geoff Dembicki – Sustainability Reporter at The Tyee
    Geoff reports on climate change and sustainability for The Tyee, but his writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Vice, Salon, Walrus and the Toronto Star. He’s working on a book called Are We Screwed? and will be attending the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris.
    Watch video

    Musical Guest: Rae Spoon
    Rae Spoon is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and published author. Rae was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2009 and 2014. Rae is the subject of the NFB musical-documentary My Prairie Home, which was an official selection for Sundance 2014 and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Feature Documentary.

    Join us again for the next PechaKucha Night with Emily Carr University on October 16th! It’s going to be another inspiring night.


    The PechaKucha newsletter remains the best way to hear about upcoming PechaKucha Nights. If you have friends who are always missing out, let them know that they can stay in the loop by signing up here. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



  • Building a Movement for Social Purpose Real Estate

    Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 1.15.10 PM

    Bodies gyrated. Arms flailed. Hands clapped. Hips swayed. Some more in time with the beat than others, but everyone was moving in some way. It was a familiar scene for a wedding reception.

    Except this was an industry conference. Not the most likely setting for such a display.

    How did this happen?

    Like with all movements, all it took was one crazy dancer to start things off.

    One lone wild dancer is an anomaly. It’s uncomfortable. Out of place. But what happens when another dancer joins? And then another? And then a few more?

    Pretty soon you’ve hit a tipping point and then the crazy dancers are the majority. It’s awkward to not join.

    Now we had a movement.

    With the help of some brave volunteer dancers, we had demonstrated the basic principles of movement building and broken the ice at the opening party of the 2015 Building Opportunities, The Social Purpose Real Estate conference.

    Sure we could have explained what a movement was, but it’s one of those big open concepts that’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it. Or better yet, experience it.

    The Movement Potential of Social Purpose Real Estate

    The topic of social purpose real estate is a compelling one for us. We come from architecture and design backgrounds and have a lot of experience on all sides of the real estate development process with all sorts of players, so we see the need to undo the formula and develop a more socially and environmentally committed business model.

    Our role at Building Opportunities was to help the diverse group of players in this growing sector unearth the culture that defines and unites them.

    When a conference is designed for “anyone interested in sustainable community development, cutting edge financing of real estate projects, efficient operations, quality workspace and innovative shared services for the nonprofit sector” you know you’ve got a broad group to bring together.

    We wanted to find the common thread between these interests and the people behind them. We wanted to help transform this from bunch of good ideas practiced in isolation to a movement.

    Our major tool for this was (in addition to the dancing flash mob) was the Future Laboratory.


    The Future Laboratory Findings

    We set up shop as a live engagement experience throughout the conference. Conference goers could join us at anytime and go through some of the activities and conversations we go through with our clients when we help them define their organizational culture and build their brand.

    After two days, we presented a closing plenary on the status and the future of the social purpose real estate movement and how it could become a movement.

    Or, as As Lucy Lau put it in Vancouver Magazine  “though the range of industry professionals who attended share a common drive for collaboration, there are systemic barriers—rooted in access to resources—facing a number of social-purpose real-estate developers. A need for a shared platform for data was voiced—critical in securing partnerships as traditional sources of financing become less readily available.”

    How do you turn that into a movement? We closed the conference with these guidelines….

    How to Build a Movement

    1.  Be open, courageous and creative

    2.  Nurture relationships. It won’t always be easy.

    3.  Be the norm, not the niche

    4.  Lead followers and follow leaders

    5.  Create remarkable places

    6.  Always remember that Misfits will lead the future

    We are grateful to Vancity for presenting us with this opportunity and especially Kira Gerwing who had the vision and guts to let us take the concept to this more daring place.  The leadership of SPRE (Social Purpose Real Estate) and NCN (Non-profit Centres Network) have formed a tremendous partnership with a lot of potential to create a shift in the ways we live, work and play in our cities.


  • Modo’s Bold Brand

    Modo Van

    We designed the Modo logo over four years ago in a rebrand process that turned the Cooperative Auto Network into the Modo we know today.

    It was a big jump for the Cooperative Auto Network, which began – and stays true to its roots – as a grassroots sustainability and community-building organization. At that time, there was even an internal struggle about whether we should put the logo on the cars or not. There was a sense that by displaying the brand we were somehow “selling” Modo and compromising the values of the organization.

    Four years later and Modo has grown in vehicle number, awareness and, most importantly, members. And it remains true to its values in thought and action.

    In this time, Modo’s brand has come to symbolize its culture, beliefs and service to the community.

    The photo above is of our latest branding for one of their cargo vans.

    Clearly, things have changed.

    This kind of brand boldness is such as amazing departure from where we began. It shows how confidence grows as organizations learn to embody their own unique culture and take pride in the symbolism of it.

    There are more bold moves to come from Modo, such as their merger with the Victoria Car Share and their launch of new digital tools.

    We can’t wait.

  • Watch each talk and musical performance from PechaKucha Night Vol. 36 – The Musical!


    “Without music, life would be a mistake”
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
    Aldous Huxley

    PechaKucha Night – The Musical! was a night of ideas, images and sounds from the people who produce, disperse and study the music in our lives.

    In case you missed it, or want to relive the great night, we’ve posted videos of all the presentations as well as the musical performances on our Vimeo account.

    The Presenters

    Chin Injeti – Songwriter, singer and producer who recently took home his third Grammy for his collaboration on Eminem’s latest album. Chin also closed the night with two awesome songs that brought the crowd to its feet!
    Watch Presentation

    Alvaro Prol – Director of Blueprint, Western Canada’s biggest electronic dance music events promoter, bringing in sought after musical talent including Deadmau5, Skrillex and Calvin Harris.
    Watch Presentation

    Bob D’Eith – Has been in the music industry for 24 years as an author, lawyer, Juno Award-winning recording artist, studio owner, label and music manager. For the past 12 years, he’s been the executive director of Music BC.
    Watch Presentation

    Zohar Amouyal – Co-founder and CEO of SKIO Music, a platform to allow for peer-to-peer transactions of intellectual property, shifting the landscape of music licensing.
    Watch Presentation

    Tarun Nayar – DJ/Producer, band leader and Tabla player for Delhi 2 Dublin.
    Watch Presentation

    Tim Clapp – AKA Tim the Mute is a musician, producer and runs indie record label Kingfisher Bluez.
    Watch Presentation

    David and Ambrosia Vertesi – David (member of the band Hey Ocean) and Ambrosia (VP of Talent at Hootsuite) created #SingitFwd to raise funds and awareness for the importance of youth music education.
    Watch Presentation

    Rich Walters – Film and TV music composer who just finished working with Hans Zimmer on the musical score for Neil Blomkamp’s new film ‘ Chappie.’
    Watch Presentation

    Heidi Krutzen – Among other things, Heidi is Principal Harp with the Vancouver Opera and humanitarian with her charity Malambo Grassroots.
    Watch Presentation

    DB Boyko – Director + Curator of Western Front New Music and one of Canada’s most adventurous vocalist.
    Watch Presentation

    With musical guests nAqsh, HUMANS and Chin Injeti!

    Thanks again to our friends at Secret Study for being such a huge help bringing the music and the speakers to the stage.

    The PechaKucha newsletter remains the best way to hear about upcoming PechaKucha Nights. If you have friends who are always missing out, let them know that they can stay in the loop by signing up here. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  • CLOSED: Cause+Affect wants to hire a Senior Project Manager. Is it you?

    Cause+Affect is  looking for a unique person to lead the project management of all brand and strategy work within our company.

    You, definitely:

    • are better at what you do than anyone else you know
    • have 5 years experience leading projects in an agency environment
    • are looking for small team to take a key role within
    • can jump from macro to micro without noticing
    • are comfortable telling people what to do, even those more senior than you
    • know a ton of people and would naturally develop business opportunities
    • appreciate the creative process but know deep down in your soul that your skill lies its facilitation

    You, maybe:

    • are working within a large agency and feel that you are not given the responsibility that you deserve
    • left your previous position as the work did not reflect your values
    • are getting back into possible employment after a break for kids or a business venture
    • are currently running your own thing but are tired of the grind and are looking for new allies
    • are thinking about moving to Vancouver or have just landed
    • are in a non-creative company and feel that your soul is slowly dying a little each day

    The role will work directly with our Creative Director and Head of Strategy

    75% Project Management + Account Management
    • Scope of work and formalization of project specs
    • PM throughout entire production process (strategy, identity, engagement)
    • Project reporting (timelines, budget, scope/change requests, post mortems)
    • Process (documentation, standards, efficiencies, etc)

    15% Ops/Finance
    • Monthly financial reporting (profitability, cash flow)
    • Budgeting/forecasting
    • What projects are profitable and why
    • Identify areas of growth, trends, risks
    • Payables/Receivables

    10% Office/HR
    • Office Equipment
    • Supplies and Suppliers

    Desired Skills & Experience
    • 5 years experience managing brand, advertising, design, web projects
    • Proven expertise and systems knowledge for project management
    • Proven financial forecasting, budgeting and management
    • Usual Suspects: Pages, Numbers, Excel, Keynote, Google Docs
    • Knowledge of Adobe, basic HTML, or other creative/technical skills a bonus

  • The FUEL Report 2014

    FUEL2_Report_2014Last May we convened over 400 business leaders, designers, technologists, entrepreneurs and citizens to discuss the social, environmental and technological shifts of our time.

    The event was a live experiment. Over the last seven months, we have studied the work we need to do to move it beyond the event forum. One of the products of this exploration is The FUEL Report – a summary of the ideas and discussions shared at the 2014 forum, links to presentations, participant feedback and further insights into what we learned.

    Read the report

    Looking back at the first FUEL has generated questions we’d like to share with you as we continue forward:

    How do we embrace societal, technological and environmental shifts
    to improve the way we live and work?

    How can we work better with other sectors to improve the impact
    of our own work?

    How does sharing community data and stories improve our city?

    How do we know we’re really making making things better?

    These questions require new partnerships between private, public, community and individuals and we need change at all levels. Our city has an opportunity to chart a path forward that represents the values we want to live by and I invite you to join me to shape a movement I believe is positive and possible.

    Our journey has been collaborative from the start and our partners THNKThe City of VancouverEmily Carr UniversityVancity and BCPSI  helped make the first forum a reality.

    Happy Reading!
    Jane Cox
    Director of FUEL Vancouver

  • Business of Design: The branded and the beautiful – The Vancouver Sun

    odd-society1“Innovative and inviting design is a must for Vancouver’s craft breweries and boutique distilleries”

    It seems like a new craft brewery or distillery pops up in Vancouver every other day. And the thing is, they’re all great. Every single one of them.

    So how do you stand out?

    This article by Rebecca Keillor in the Vancouver Sun argues “Good design it seems — in bottles, labelling and tasting room interiors — is key to capturing craft drinkers.”

    We’re proud to have our work for Odd Society Spirits profiled alongside the great work from Postmark Brewing with design by Burnkit and Brassneck Brewing with interior design from Simcic Uhrich Architects and branding by Post Projects.

    Read an excerpt about Odd Society below….

    “Standing out has been key to the success of East Vancouver’s Odd Society Spirits, general manager Miriam Karp says. Odd Spirits makes small-batch, individually crafted vodka, gin, whisky and creme de cassis, and the design of their tasting room attracted a photo shoot with Wallpaper Magazine some days after the distillery’s opening in autumn of last year.

    “People walk in and they may not know anything about distilling or don’t really have a technical interest in distilling, but they’re always staring at this equipment,” Karp says. “They tell us that the space is warm but very beautiful. It’s not cold.”

    Achieving this look and the unique branding and bottling of their spirits, each one embraced like an individual personality and presented as such, took the help of branding and design company Cause + Affect, best known for their PechaKucha Night series.

    “There’s this kind of quirkiness that comes from the brand,” Cause+Affect creative director Steven Cox says. “So there’s a number of different oddities that you would find in the space from a stuffed pheasant or skulls on the wall or paintings — a bit of a collector’s shop where the owners could let their own personalities show through a little bit. It was trying not to be overly trendy or overly styled.”

    Cox has an architectural background, and his wife and business partner Jane Cox started out as an interior designer. They say Odd Society’s product has lived up to the look they helped give it.

    “To give you an example, the vodka is an incredibly unique product — it’s a vodka made from barley, which is almost unheard of,” Cox says. “Usually vodka is made from the cheapest stuff you can get your hands on corn or wheat or potato or whatever it is — and these guys have made this almost what’s called a single malt vodka, and so to support that we created a brand that was incredibly unique,” Cox says.

    Read the full article here

  • Watch each talk from PechaKucha Night Vol. 35

    We heard from many of you that PechaKucha Night Vol. 35 was a particularly special night. It wasn’t planned, but each speaker added a thread to a weave of intersecting ideas about social justice, connection through art, health and positivity and civic engagement.

    There were tears. There were laughs. There was thunderous applause, and we think that everyone left in search of ways to do more for our fellow humans.

    You can read a summary of the night by a presenter and editor of the Georgia Straight, Charlie Smith, but we’ve also made videos of each presentation available on our Vimeo page. Enjoy and share with friends.


    DJ Larkin – Lawyer and campaigner with Pivot Legal Society
    Watch Presentation

    John James – Art director of Noise Digital, designer and artist
    Watch Presentation

    Seth Klein – BC Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
    Watch Presentation

    Steve CurtisEntrepreneur, leader and innovator
    Watch Presentation

    Meharoona GhaniCommunity engagement and diversity specialist
    Watch Presentation

    Charlie Smith – Editor of the Georgia Straight
    Watch Presentation

    Wayne Maddison – biology professor at UBC, former director of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum and expert on spiders
    Watch Presentation

    Colleen Maybin – director of education and community engagement at Vancouver Opera
    Watch Presentation

    Reilly Yeo – community engagement specialist at Open Media and the co-creator of Groundswell
    Watch Presentation

    Sean Karemaker – artist with a body of work encompassing diorama sculptures, comics, scroll and paintings
    Watch Presentation

    Mohamed Ehab – founder of Reel Causes and co-founder of Changemakers Vancouver as well as a pharmacist by day
    Watch Presentation

    Remember to sign up for the PechaKucha Night newsletter for the latest information about upcoming events and speakers!

  • Georgia Straight – Pecha Kucha Vancouver gets political, but also highlights health, comics, spiders, and friendship

    PK35_Overview_1-3Charlie Smith, editor of the Georgia Straight and speaker at PechaKucha Night Vol. 35 did a great and generous job of summarizing the event last night.

    Read the article

    If you were there, you’ll probably agree that it was a very special evening. As they all are – but there was a connection between the themes of each speaker’s talk that made each presentation feel like a part of a greater, more cohesive whole, no matter how diverse the ideas put forth were.

    We’ll be posting the videos online shortly. They never quite capture the magic of being there, but they’re always great to refer back to.

  • Viewpoint #20 – Careful, your culture is showing


    Last week I weighed in on the comments section of a video produced by Frank for LG2 as well as another video by Cossette produced a couple of weeks earlier. I won’t get too far into it, except to say that both videos are well executed and at times funny, but more importantly, quite mysogynistic, offensive and supportive of a certain kind of agency culture that I abhor.

    My strong reaction and the associated reactions of many to my reaction has given me pause and now garners some additional words.

    I mentioned the word culture earlier and I feel that this is the crux of the issue. As an owner of a company or organization, the questions you need to constantly ask yourself are: What kind of culture do we have? What kind of culture do we want to cultivate? What kind of culture do we want to communicate?

    Hopefully, you are able to cultivate the kind of culture that is contagious to those who want to work for you and those who want to work with you. Hopefully it is the kind of culture that empowers, educates, and inspires. Hopefully it is as open, welcoming, honest and respectful as it is creative, challenging and rigourous. 

    This is certainly the end goal of the branding process that we go through with our clients. To help them generate a culture that is aligned internally and respected externally.

    To give another example of culture building, I will reference a letter that was written to employees of AirBnB by its CEO Brian Chesky. It is titled, “Don’t f#ck up the culture” and it says:

    “We build culture by upholding our core values in everything we do. Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to fuck up the culture. Each one of us has this opportunity, this burden.”

    So I ask again, what kind of core values support the culture that these videos were trying to cultivate and communicate? Humour, yes, but also competition, chauvinism, rudeness and vulgarity? And if so, is this what they want people to think of when they think of their company? When someone is applying for a job or when someone is looking for a creative partner?

    It’s easy to write both videos off as simply being funny, but after the smirk or giggle, there is a nagging negative aftertaste that is hard to shake. Let this remind you that your message can often tell people more about you than you originally intended.

    Make no mistake, these videos came from very successful agencies who work with the  largest brands in the world. Why then might this misstep have occurred? I think it’s that they work really hard to come up with unique ways to make people connect with brands where we, as brand specialists, spend our time helping make brands into something people want to connect with.

    There is a difference, and it all starts with culture.

    – Steven Cox


    LG2 –

    Cossette –

    AirBnB –