• Lead with Culture

    Turning businesses into culture and brands into relationships.

    Great organizations put culture first.

    A defined and understood culture gives leaders a compass to make strategic decisions that motivate their team and connect with their audiences. Without a culture-led strategy, organizations aren’t able to communicate how what they do is different and why it matters.

    Traditional strategic planning begins with declaring the mission and vision of the organization. However, without an emotional stance, a meaningful point of view or passion and purpose, it is impossible to paint the picture of the future and enrol others in the journey towards it.

    Enrolment is what’s missing from every dysfunctional organization. Enrolment means that people aren’t working for you just for a paycheque; they’re working for you because they share your dream for the future and they want to go there with the shared culture you’ve defined together.

    Business strategies are more effective when you lead with culture because they consider not only the cause, or principles behind their plan but also the affect, how they are going to connect emotionally with others to achieve their goals.

    Inspiration makes us act.

  • 2015 Year in Review. Our Top 9.


    Is it too late to be retrospective?

    Well we’re doing it anyways. It’s important to look back at what we’ve done to figure out where we’re going (those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it). And while we didn’t realize it at the time, 2015 was a big one.

    Here’s our top 9 of 2015 in no particular order.


    1 – The Final year of PechaKucha Night


    All good things come to an end. After eight incredible years of PechaKucha Night, we decided to let it go. But not before we produced three of our biggest events to date.

    In February PechaKucha The Musical! brought three diverse musical acts and ten speakers to the stage to celebrate the local music industry in all its facets. Chin Injeti brought the house down and everyone to their feet to close out the night with a huge feel-good jam.

    We closed the year with two events in two months. First in collaboration with the City of Vancouver in September to imagine “Our Green Future” and then in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art+Design in October to look at how the forces of creativity shape us.

    And that was that! On to new things.


    2 – Tides Canada rebrand


    We feel like we’ve been through thick and thin with Tides Canada, so it was a moment of pride to see the launch of their new brand identity  to represent their methods and values on a slick new website designed by Briteweb.


    3 – The Modo Brand evolves into the 21st Century


    Another longtime client we’re proud to be associated with. Three years after we created the Modo brand to put the carsharing co-operative on the map in Vancouver, they’ve expanded throughout the Metro region and into Victoria! We worked with their entire team to sharpen their brand to match their evolution and saw it break into the 21st century on a new website and app developed by our friends at Invoke.


    4 – Citystudio 


    CityStudio revolutionizes city building by revolutionizing how we educate the next generation of city builders and citizens. We helped them define what they do (which isn’t easy when you’re charting new territory!) and designed a brand that represents connectivity between schools, city hall, our neighbourhoods and communities around the world.


    5 – Fighting for social change with Pivot Legal Society and The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition


    We supported two important social change organizations behind the scenes this year.

    Pivot Legal Society uses the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion. You may know them from landmark cases for sex workers’ rights (Canada v. Bedford) and homeless rights to public space (Drug War Survivors v City of Abbotsford). We were honoured to help them shape their core brand story to explain what they do, why they do it and who they do it in the simplest way possible.


    For the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, we helped define key messages and designed assets to help them fundraise in advance of an upcoming UN meeting to address the dangerous faults of our current system of drug prohibition.


    6 – Odd Society Spirits continues to experiment


    The inventive team at Odd Society Spirits released several new spirits this year that lived up to their mandate to experiment with local ingredients and traditional distilling methods.

    We had a lot of fun designing the labels and writing copy for Mongrel, a whisky-like moonshine drink that isn’t aged in a barrel; East Van Aged Vodka, a whisky-like vodka that IS aged in a barrel; and Salal Gin, a west coast take on a British favourite — sloe gin.


    7 – Me Too tackles the stigma against mental health for VGH


    “Me Too.” Two simple words that can mean all the difference to someone with a mental health issue, which is one in five Canadians. We’ve all experienced something or know and love someone who has.

    Which is why we are glad for the opportunity to work with the the VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation to name, brand and help promote the ‘Me Too Conversations’ event series to tackle mental health stigma through storytelling.

    Register for the next event on Wednesday, January 13. Free admission.


    8 – Starting a dance mob at the Social Purpose Real Estate Conference for Vancity


    We conducted a ‘Future Laboratory’ at Building Opportunities: The Social Purpose Real Estate Conference to lead conference-goers through exercises and conversations to help define the movement to develop a more socially and environmentally real estate model. We also instigated a dance mob to demonstrate what movement building is all about.


    9 – Core and The Finery


    We expanded our services into the US with major work in Nashville. We completed the rebrand of Core Development for Mark Deutschmann and his team and moved on to brand a major multi-phase development, The Finery.


    What’s up for 2016?

    • We can’t wait to share what we’ve been cooking up with new clients like Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and the Vancouver International Film Festival — two organizations that define the culture and environment of our communities.
    • Stay tuned for the launch of a new brand for a Whistler hotel.
    • And we’re moving into a new office space! We remain within the three-block radius of Gastown (our comfort zone), but will be moving into a new space in the Garage on Water Street in February. Office-warming party to be announced.


    Happy New Year!

  • Goodnight, PechaKucha Night


    Dear friends of PechaKucha Night,

    We started PechaKucha Night in Vancouver in 2008 to bring people together. At the time, Vancouver lacked a vehicle for self discovery. There was just not enough awareness of the amazing people doing creative things in and for our city.

    Now, almost 8 years on, we have produced 38 Volumes and put almost 500 different speakers on the stage in front of over 35,000 people. To our surprise, the series has grown a committed following that verges on cultish. 

    As PechaKucha Night grew, dozens of new community events sprouted throughout Vancouver. There is now no shortage of places to go to hear about the wonderful things happening in our incredible city.

    Given our long run and the new cultural landscape of the city, it is time to pass on the PechaKucha torch and give someone else a chance to bring fresh new people and ideas to the stage.

    We’re not done creating experiences that catalyze our city’s creativity and culture. That’s what we do. That’s who we are. But we started PechaKucha to fill a need that is now well served and it is time for us to focus on something new.

    To be the first to know about it, sign up for the Cause+Affect newsletter.

    We have informed PechaKucha headquarters in Tokyo of our decision and offered our help in selecting our successor. If you’re interested in taking the reins, please contact Johnny at PechaKucha HQ.

    We look forward to watching this event evolve here and around the world, and will continue to support the many other great community events that surround us. 

    It has been an incredible ride and we cannot communicate how much it has meant to us and how touched we are by those of you who enjoyed it along with us. 

    Thank you to all our speakers. Thank you to all our musical guests. Thank you to all our partners, venues and volunteers. And most of all, thank you. This event became what it was due to the love and support of our community.

    From Steven and Jane and everyone at Cause+Affect, this isn’t goodbye. This is ‘see you later.’

    It has been our pleasure.

    We filmed many of the more recent events. If you want to relive the magic, check out our Vimeo page.

  • Watch each talk from PechaKucha Night Vol. 38 w/Emily Carr University of Art+Design


    Creativity is its own reward.

    That’s the lesson we took away from PechaKucha Night Vol. 38 w/ Emily Carr University of Art+Design. We heard from ten influential and emerging artists and designers (many of them Emily Carr alumni) and none of them did their work for riches or fame. They did it because it brought them joy. They did it to communicate something. They did it to connect with others. They did it because they were compelled.

    One of the philosophies behind PechaKucha Night is that inspiration makes us act. And we like to think that at least a few people went home and picked up a pencil, a paintbrush, some clay or whatever tool lets their creativity out.

    In case you need a dose of creative inspiration in your life, we recorded all the presentations and posted them our vimeo page.

    Bruce Grenville – Senior Curator, Vancouver Art Gallery
    Watch Video

    Adelle Renaud – Fashion and Graphic Designer, Founder of Peau De Loup Clothing
    Watch Video

    Jon Winebrenner – Founder of Hurdler Studios, designer of The Clug, the world’s smallest bike clip
    Watch Video

    Ricky Alvarez – Artist, Designer and Founder of Tinto Creative
    Watch Video

    Germaine Koh – Artist
    Watch Video

    Jennifer Cutbill – Architect at DIALOG and co-Founder of Vancouver Design Week
    Watch Video

    Justin A. Langlois – Artist, Organizer and Educator at Emily Carr University
    Watch Video

    Pamela Rounis – Designer at Rethink and SAD Mag
    Watch Video

    Ben Skinner – Artist and Visual Display Designer for Aritzia
    Watch Video

    Dave Humphrey – Product Designer, Chief Product Officer at wantoo and President of the Emily Carr University Alumni Association
    Watch Video

    and listen to our fantastic musical guest, Mu.

  • 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