CREATIVE CLOUT BOLD INNOVATORS SET THE PACE IN THE LOCAL CREATIVE ECONOMY
IS PARKING REALLY AN ISSUE? The answer might surprise you
PULLING NANAIMO OUT OF A TAILSPIN Q+A with Mayor Leonard Krog
GO AHEAD: IGNITE INNOVATION How top businesses get results
+LEARNING & CAREERS SPECIAL SECTION
CREATIVE THINKING ISSUE
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32 Creative Clout
Whether dreaming up public art, making high-design furniture or crafting brand identities, these local innovators are bolstering the region’s creative economy. BY ATHENA MCKENZIE AND SUSAN HOLLIS
38 The Perils of Parking
There are many issues that divide Victorians — and one of the most contentious is parking. BY KEITH NORBURY
52 How to Ignite Innovation Douglas explores the methods world-leading businesses are using to find and work their innovative edge. BY ALEX VAN TOL
VREB LEARNING & CAREERS
Boost your professional opportunities by pumping up your education. Douglas looks at the benefits and the options.
BY LAURA BROUGHAM
DEPARTMENTS 6 FROM THE EDITOR
9 IN THE KNOW Recharged taxis, DeeBee’s
makes magic with Disney, rethinking Esquimalt and getting out of your team’s way.
16 CASE STUDY Dino Lab’s T-Rex-
sized expansion from private lab to public experience. BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
18 IN CONVERSATION Nanaimo Mayor
Leonard Krog on pulling the city out of its tailspin. BY DAVID LENNAM
26 BIG IDEA Drones are delivering more than convenience. BY BILL CURRIE
62 LAST PAGE The Victoria Caledonian Distillery BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
INTEL (BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE) 56 ENTREPRENEUR LEGO, improv and the myth of creativity. BY JIM HAYHURST
58 NEXT LEVEL Yes, you do need a strategic plan. BY ALEX VAN TOL
60 GROWTH Why creativity is crucial
to business growth. BY CLEMENS RETTICH 4 DOUGLAS
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JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
FROM THE EDITOR
Enriched Thinking™ for your family, business and future.
A THEME THAT’S BEEN TOP OF MIND LATELY at Douglas magazine is the question of how people and organizations push past plateaus to new levels of growth and innovation. It’s the reason we called our February 6 IDEATION event Get Out of Your Own Way: How to Get Unstuck and Be Unstoppable. Working in the creative industry, I know that being consistently innovative means getting out of your own way. That means navigating around or pushing through impediments to creativity, including fear of criticism and failure, getting too comfortable with the status quo and resistance to change. It’s tough stuff to work through, but worth it. When it’s so hard for one person to climb past plateaus, imagine how difficult it is for a city like Victoria, which is weighed down by bureaucratic processes, bylaws and the personal and political agendas of its council members and their constituents. After wondering if they were ever going to stop talking about council pay raises and whether or not to fund working lunches out of public funds, I saw a glimmer of hope that the innovation mindset is alive at City Hall. On January 16, the City released for feedback a shiny new draft economic action plan designed to take Victoria to the year 2041. Victoria 3.0 — Pivoting to a Higher-Value Economy, 2020–2041 is nothing if not ambitious. There’s plenty of candy in there for entrepreneurs and business people to get excited about, but some deadlines sound suspiciously fast given all the elements that must come together to make the plan happen on time. I hate to be cynical, but we are the city that takes years to build bridges, approve recreation centres and build out the David Foster Harbour Pathway. But I’ll hold back cynicism for now and say that if our city can actually come together to make this plan happen, it will be a positive and exciting move toward creating a “sustainable, growing and influential city which creates high-value jobs.” One of the most innovative parts of the plan, aside from a much-needed redevelopment of the Victoria Conference Centre, involves transforming the lacklustre industrial stretch along Store Street into an innovation district. According to the plan, features of the new district would include: “Visionary” mixed-use developments, high-quality public and private spaces, Indigenous economic development opportunities, a showcase for B.C. architecture, a model for climate adaptation and resilience with energy-efficient and sustainable construction and community design, a tribute to B.C.’s marine heritage, a working dock and an Ocean and Marine Innovation Hub. This particular initiative is being headed up by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who is probably the most entrepreneurial thinker on council. You may not agree with Helps on many things, but she is not someone who rests on the status quo. Finally, along with a number of small business initiatives, the draft plan targets a rebrand for the city and its story between 2022 and 2026. Why such a long timeline? The idea is that “after the first three years of Victoria 3.0 implementation, a new story will start to emerge.” It’s incumbent on our municipal leaders to remember what we in the media know — the most powerful stories are true ones, so it’s up to them to not only set the vision but to do everything possible to support the vision — then get out of their own way.
Can the City of Victoria’s new economic action plan help transform Victoria into a 3.0 version as “a small powerhouse city with global influence?”
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Getting Out of Our Own Way
2016-08-04 12:33 PM
— Kerry Slavens firstname.lastname@example.org
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PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Jeffrey Bosdet
PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Kühtz
SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER Amanda Wilson
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EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Laura Brougham
ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Deana Brown, Cynthia Hanischuk CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bill Currie, Jim Hayhurst, Susan Hollis, David Lennam, Keith Norbury, Clemens Rettich, Alex Van Tol CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeffrey Bosdet, Belle White
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I N N O VAT I O N | D E S I G N | BU S I N E S S | ST Y L E | P E O P L E
[IN THE KNOW]
Current Taxi ambassador Brent Birch pictured here with one of the 15 Tesla taxis the company recently introduced into the Victoria market.
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
TAXIS RECHARGED A taxi service featuring a fleet of 15 Teslas has launched in the Capital Region and hopes to energize the industry to change. Its goal? To bring “a higher standard of service to the taxi industry” at the same price as its competitors, while also being a more environmentally friendly option. “I recognized a pretty significant need in the industry for an elevated level of service in taxis,” says Dale Conway, founder and CEO of Current Taxi, which
owns B.C.’s first fleet of all-electric taxis. “I’ve spent my whole career working in hospitality, and frankly I got pretty tired of taking my customers out of five-star hotels and putting them into one-star taxis.” Conway says he chose Victoria as the second market for Current Taxi based on feedback from Victoria residents who had used Current in Kelowna. “We were three or four weeks old in Kelowna and I was getting emails from people from Victoria saying, ‘We’ve been to Kelowna, we’ve used your service and we could really use it on the Island,’” says Conway, noting he hopes to expand to two or three more cities this year. The Capital Region now has 105 licensees and 564 taxis approved to operate, according to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. DOUGLAS 9
DEEBEE’S ORGANICS MAKING MAGIC WITH DISNEY DEAL THE VICTORIA MANUFACTURER SIGNS EXCLUSIVE AGREEMENT WITH DISNEY FOR FROZEN 2 TREATS
t’s safe to say that Dr. Dionne Laslo-Baker won’t “Let it Go” — not this deal anyway. After a year of negotiation, her company DeeBee’s Organics was awarded the opportunity to license Disney Frozen 2 Magic Ice Wand popsicles and freezies, part of the merchandising around the sequel to the animated film Frozen, which earned over $1.2 billion globally. “It was interesting because Disney said to me early on, ‘You are exactly who we want to partner with,’” Laslo-Baker says. “They wanted to create healthier products and they loved the fact that I was female, and that I’m a mom and a medical scientist; and that we are a certified organic company and we were able to meet their health guidelines.” The original deal, signed in fall
2019, was for distribution across Canada, but after launching the frozen popsicles — which feature characters Anna, Elsa and Olaf from the movie — in December, the scope was broadened to include the U.S. market. “Four days after we made the U.S. agreement with Disney, I met with Kroger, which is the second largest retailer in the U.S.,” Laslo-Baker says. “They’re doing a national launch across their entire chain, from coast to coast, of our Disney products, as well as our DeeBee’s SuperFruit Freezies.” DeeBee’s is also in discussion with Walmart (U.S.) and Costco about spring 2020 launches of the Disney line. It’s an impressive trajectory from a company that was started in the family kitchen in 2012.
BELLE WHITE/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
Backed with a PhD in maternal-fetal toxicology, Dr. Dionne Laslo-Baker has taken her Victoria food business from local player to global contender.
DeeBee’s originally made TeaPops but evolved their line-up to focus on Organic FruitPops and then SuperFruit Freezies, which Laslo-Baker calls their “hero product.” The first contact with Disney came about from DeeBee’s existing distribution partnership with Walmart in the U.S. “We actually created a product
to launch into Walmart U.S.A. and the team we were working with in Bentonville said to us, ‘You guys would be a perfect match for Disney,’” Laslo-Baker says. “Now we’ve got interest from Asia and Europe. We’re not going there quite yet but our little Victoria company is making a stamp all over.”
With her children, Dr. Dionne LasloBaker creates TeaPops in her kitchen.
DeeBee’s Organics wins the New Exporter of The Year Award for British Columbia.
The company is named one of Douglas magazine’s 10 to Watch winners.
Deals with Sobeys and Whole Foods makes DeeBee’s available across Canada and in some U.S. markets.
Distribution continues to grow through Loblaws and Walmart, in Canada and the U.S.
DeeBee’s awarded licence for Disney’s Frozen 2 treats, first in Canada, then in the U.S.
In discussion with Walmart, Kroger U.S.A. and Costco about spring launches of Frozen 2 treats.
HERE + HAPPENING
[ DRINKS, BITES & INSIGHTS ]
[ TALK TO ANGELS ]
[ ACHIEVE HYPER SALES GROWTH ]
Get Out of Your Own Way: How to Get Unstuck and Be Unstoppable is the theme for Douglas magazine’s next IDEATION event. Editor Kerry Slavens leads a bold onstage conversation with panelists Ryan Cochrane, Olympian and realtor at The Agency; and Angela Coté, franchise and business growth specialist. February 6 | Club Kwench | douglasmagazine.com
The 2020 Western Angel Investment Summit - Victoria is an all-day event for investors and entrepreneurs. Presented by Angel Forum and Capital Investment Network, the summit features panels with B.C.’s leading investors, investment pitches and more. February 20–23 | Oak Bay Beach Hotel | capinvestment.net
Many businesses are held back by owners who are too involved in the sales process. That’s where Jack Daly comes in. In an upcoming half-day workshop presented by the local Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), the U.S.based sales guru will teach you how to scale your business by breaking patterns that stunt growth. March 3 | The Union Club | $249, eventbrite.ca
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMP REVAMPED Canada’s longest running social media conference is getting a reboot. Social Media Camp (SMC) has been running in Victoria since 2010 and has grown to be the largest event of its kind in the country. Tami Tate, the new owner of SMC and CEO of 365 Day Media, says she is excited about the changes she is implementing. “We are really trying to show Victoria that SMC is a new event this year,” Tate says. “We have new branding and are bringing in some high-profile keynote speakers as well as incorporating workshops that will be hosted around downtown Victoria to help us show off the city and businesses.” Tate says one of the benefits she saw from the social media camp was the attention it brought to Victoria. That is one of the reasons she wants to include workshops that take place in various downtown locations, to get attendees out and exploring the city. Tate purchased the event from SMC founders Paul Holmes and Chris Burdge in August 2019. In a social media post announcing the sale, the pair say they are excited to see where Tate takes the camp. “[We] think Tami’s expertise, network and team is going to help really take the event to the next level!” Tate says that she is grateful for the hard work Holmes and Burdge have put into building this event and is excited for SMC’s new era to expand and bring new energy to the event. The camp takes place May 5 to 7 at Victoria Conference Centre. Tickets: socialmediacamp.ca
SMC KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Jillian Harris, Canadian TV personality Harris, a TV personality and interior designer best known for W Network’s Love It or List It Vancouver, will talk about how to use social media to grow a personal brand.
Mark Cohon, chair of Juno Awards and Toronto Global Cohon, who helped rejuvenate the brand of the Canadian Football League as the league’s 12th Commissioner, will discuss leadership in the social media age.
Nicole Smith, founder of Flytographer Smith founded Flytographer six years ago and has expanded it to over 300 cities worldwide. She’ll talk about how vital social media is to her phenomenal business growth.
NEW AIRLINE BRAND SWOOPS IN
WHAT BUSINESS NEEDS TO KNOW
Victoria’s unemployment rate remained Canada’s lowest at 3.4% in December 2019, down from 3.5% the previous month. Staffing agency Randstad Canada says Canada’s most in-demand jobs to fill in 2020 are in the blue-collar, retail and tech sectors.
If you’ve ever screwed up in business or fear screwing up, learn from the mistakes of others at the next F*ckUp Night on March 26, 5 to 8 p.m. at the Duke Saloon. @fupnightsvictoria on Facebook
Is our region ready for the next decade? Join South Island Prosperity Partnership, elected officials and business and community leaders for The Future is Leadership with Dan Pontefract, CEO of the Pontefract Group. February 6, 8 to 10 a.m., Parkside Hotel
In a global economy, air travel convenience is top of mind for many business owners. Now Swoop, a budget carrier, has plans to serve the Victoria market. Swoop will launch a seasonal direct connection between Victoria International Airport (YYJ) and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG) starting in April 2020. The route is scheduled to fly up to five times weekly between the two cities. “We are one of the lowest cost airports in Canada and that makes us a natural fit with the low-cost business model of Swoop,” says Geoff Dickson, president and CEO, Victoria Airport Authority. “We look forward to a growing partnership and welcome the new destination and travel options for our local community and visitors to our region.” Swoop, which launched as a WestJet subsidiary in 2018, has expanded its summertime network to 14 domestic destinations. SunWing and Pacific Coastal have also expanded their offerings at YYJ in 2019, while major airline Delta pulled its Seattle service after three years, citing economic reasons.
#YYJ WEEKLY ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES FLIGHTS/WEEK
230 200 125 54 22 4 5 4 4 4
AIR CANADA / ROUGE WESTJET / ENCORE PACIFIC COASTAL ALASK A AIRLINES ISLAND EXPRESS AIR NORTH SWOOP
AIR TRANSAT SUNWING
SOURCE: VICTORIA AIRPORT AUTHORITY
Let’s go to camp! May 5-7, 2020 And by camp, we mean Social Media Camp. Join us for three days of learning, networking and inspiring conversation.
WHERE BUSINESS HAPPENS
“There’s no other location downtown that offers everything we do, from a gym and steam room to restaurants. We have meeting rooms and event spaces, with all the catering help one could want, along with a box at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, which our members can use for events. We also have working desks — in fact, one of them has one of the most beautiful views over the Inner Harbour. — GRACE VAN DEN BRINK, UNION CLUB PRESIDENT
Since 1879, The Union Club of B.C. has embodied the art — and business — of modern hospitality.
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
Featured Speakers Jillian Harris
Founder of Jillian Harris Design and co-host of HGTV's Love it or List it Vancouver
Chair Juno Awards and Toronto Global
REGISTER TODAY AT SOCIALMEDIACAMP.CA 12 DOUGLAS
HOSTING IN STYLE Along with elegant rooms for socializing, drinking and dining, the club offers guest suites members can use for visiting clients. “We also have over 400 affiliated clubs worldwide that members use when they travel for pleasure or business,” says club president Grace Van den Brink.
URBAN OASIS “It’s very comfortable, with excellent service and a sense of calm outside the normal busy downtown environment,” says Jeff Bray, executive director of the DVBA, a member since 2001. “I enjoy business lunches in the McKenzie lounge.”
NEW FACES There are approximately 2,600 members — and they’re not who you might expect. “Our membership is roughly equally women and men,” Van den Brink says. “They range in age anywhere from their early 20s. We have different price entry points for different age groups.”
ARE YOU HOLDING YOUR TEAM BACK? What employer doesn’t want a motivated team with clear vision and a sense of responsibility? The best way to achieve that? Get out of your team’s way. That is the message Sarah Hood, UVic’s director of Organization Development & Learning Services, shared with the crowd at DisruptHR Victoria 2019. Hood says moving out of your team’s way is an important stage in their development life cycle and it offers plenty of rewards. But it does require upfront work to get there. Here are Hood’s suggestions to set your team up for success and watch them thrive.
GIVE YOUR TEAM A COMMON PURPOSE OR VISION. This means having a shared understanding of “what we do,” why it matters and how it connects to important things like client service, strategic goals and organizational success.
BUILD TRUST. Trust is
needed between you and the team, but also within the team. As a leader, it’s your job to create the conditions for trust. That means holding space for difficult conversations, helping the team develop their communication skills and modeling both vulnerability and authentic communication.
TAKE ON THE BUREAUCRACY.
Set your team up for success by developing budgets, handling approvals and filling out all forms and paperwork to get the right resources in place for them. If you take care of the “unsexy” behind-the-scenes stuff, your team can do their thing knowing that they are supported.
Disciplined Value Investing That Works Odlum Brown Model Portfolio: A Proven Track Record Average Monthly Performance1
14.6% DOWN MONTHS (40% OF TIME)
UP MONTHS (60% OF TIME)
1 Performance measured mid-month from December 1994 - October 2019. 2 As of December 15, 2019. *The Odlum Brown Model Portfolio is a hypothetical all-equity portfolio that was established by the Odlum Brown Equity Research Department on December 15, 1994 with a hypothetical investment of $250,000. It showcases how we believe individual security recommendations may be used within the context of a client portfolio. The Model also provides a basis with which to measure the quality of our advice and the effectiveness of our disciplined investment strategy. Trades are made using the closing price on the day a change is announced. Performance figures do not include any allowance for fees. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.
Compound Annual Returns2
Odlum Brown Model Portfolio* S&P/TSX Total Return Index
Since December 15, 1994
Feel free to contact me for a copy of our monthly Odlum Brown Report.
FADE IN AND OUT AS NEEDED.
Do the upfront work to set the foundation for success, then fade away. How exactly you do that might change depending on the team or the project. You may start to fade out and then realize the team needs you to step back in briefly for a specific purpose before fading out again. Getting out of the way also means sticking close enough that you’re there if they need you.
R. H. Mark Mawhinney, CPA, CMA Investment Advisor
Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund @Odlum_Brown
Odlum Brown Limited
Odlum Brown Community
LISTEN, COACH, CELEBRATE AND CHEER. If you reframe
your leadership in this way, then you can put your own ego aside and truly be of service to the team. Hanging out on the edges means you’re accessible for coaching when needed. You also have enough information about what is going on that you can showcase and highlight your team’s work elsewhere in the organization and hold them up as an example of success.
Many companies aim for disruption with the idea that if they develop the right innovation, they’ll disrupt their market and drive huge growth. But Charlene Li, author of Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail, says that’s not how disruption works. “Disruption doesn’t create growth,” says Li. “Growth creates disruption.” Ideapress Publishing, 2019.
*Restrictions apply, full details online.
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MAX FURNITURE made the move from its Bridge Street locale to its new home at 3460 Quadra on February 1. The move triples its floor space to 9,000 square feet and includes space for designer Amy McGeachy to operate an outlet of her design shop. “We’ll have more room to showcase all our lines and give the customer a better hands-on shopping experience,” says co-owner and general manager Rahim Khudabux, who was recently named member of the year by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. NIMMO BAY WILDERNESS RESORT is the recipient of the Family Business Association (FBA) of Vancouver Island’s 2020 Family Business Excellence (FBE) Award. Started as an fishing lodge 40 years ago, Nimmo Bay’s itineraries now include wilderness adventures, and wellness and corporate leadership retreats. FBA also announced Erin Boggs, owner of ROBINSON’S OUTDOOR STORE, as recipient of the 2020 Family Business Young Entrepreneur Award. In 2017, Boggs, daughter of previous owner Gayle Robinson, became the fourth-generation owner of the 90-year-old business. The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony at the Union Club on February 12.
A new WALMART SUPERCENTRE appears to be the next anchor tenant for the space vacated by Sears two years ago at HILLSIDE CENTRE. At press time, the centre’s leasing agency has confirmed only that the mall has completed a deal with a retailer for the space, with an estimated opening date by fall 2021. CBRE’s new tech scorecard, Scoring Canadian Talent, gives Victoria’s tech ecosystem a strong review for 2019, with a 7th place overall ranking. Victoria saw the largest ranking increases year-overyear, moving up three spots. CBRE says digital publisher REDBRICK, video game firm KANO APP, and digital fitness equipment company ECOFIT, played a big role in the designation, noting their significant growth in 2019, due in part to rapid cloud adoption using Amazon Web Services. Nanaimo waterfront skyline could be set to change. WATERFRONT HOLDINGS, owner of Waterfront Suites and Marina on Stewart Avenue, has applied to the city to build a new 10-storey hotel. The application is waiting to be reviewed by the city. The community plan only allows for a maximum of four storeys in the area so a variance permit is needed.
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DESIGN | BUILD
ESQUIMALT ON THE RISE
hile the 2000s saw large amounts of growth and development in the many Greater Victoria municipalities, Esquimalt was the exception. Since then, Esquimalt council has taken steps to attract businesses and developers. The Esquimalt Town Square project by Aragon Properties is the first sign of success for those initiatives. “Partly because of [the project] there has been a lot more interest in Esquimalt, so we’ve had other projects come forward,” says Barb Desjardins, mayor of Esquimalt, noting in the past four years the municipality has started to build 1,400 units of housing. “That’s a significant turnaround from a
community that didn’t bloom in the 2000s when everyone else did.” Desjardins says tax incentives like the Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw, which incentivizes development near Esquimalt Road, contributes to the recent growth. Luke Ramsay, development manager for Aragon, says council had approached several development companies around five years ago for a request for proposal for the site and the developers saw the appeal of the location which already has a grocery store and community centre. The only thing missing was medium-density residential units, which is what this project will bring. The first phase of the project
ARAGON PROPERTIES LTD.
The township is late to the CRD’s building boom, but a new project in its downtown core signals a wave of change, bringing higher density commercial and residential developments. BY LAURA BROUGHAM
is slated for welcome start to completion in the township’s spring 2020, with downtown the next three boom. phases scheduled “There’s to be complete by a number of the end of 2020. other projects The Esquimalt Town Square project that are already The full project by Aragon will include a new library. will bring an approved by additional 50,000 square feet of council that are just a little bit commercial space, 68 residential behind this one,” Edley says. units and 34 rental units. “This is the beginning of a small Chris Edley, president of tidal wave of activity that’s going the Esquimalt Chamber of to bring a lot more people to this Commerce, says this is a downtown area.”
1040 Moss St | aggv.ca
SEE OUR FACIAL EXPRESSIONISTS. From the AGGV Collection: Herbert Siebner, Untitled (Faces), watercolour, ink, 15.9 x 23.1 cm, Gift of the Victoria Times, 1965.177.003.
CASE STUDY ■ BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
■ PHOTOS BY BELLE WHITE
OLD BONES, NEW BUSINESS Dino Lab evolves from private lab to public experience, merging education and entertainment.
efore Dino Lab became a public gallery and attraction, it was a private restoration lab, preparing fossils for display in museums around the world, such as the Royal Ontario Museum and Berlin’s Museum of Natural History. Whenever founders Terry Ciotka and Carly Burbank talked about their work on million-year-old dinosaur fossils, it generated a lot of 1 excitement. “When people found out, they wanted to come check it out,” Burbank says. “And then, of course, as soon as our children’s teachers found out what we did, they wanted us to speak to the classroom, and that would spread to other classes and even whole assemblies. It was becoming such a regular thing and just kept snowballing to the point we were getting nothing done. We realized that unless we made it part of the business, we’re going to have to stop doing it.” In July 2019, after three years operating as a preparation laboratory, Dino Lab “went public,” opening up an educational center and gift shop alongside their fossil restoration business. The process was more challenging than expected. A sky-high commercial real estate market made finding a bigger space with enough parking impossible. Luckily, the landlords of Dino Lab’s existing building were able to give them more space — two extra bays — and Ciotka and Burbank made it work. When finding a
LIFE-LONG LEARNING 16 DOUGLAS
From the art of negotiation with former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss to scientific thinking with Neil deGrasse Tyson, MasterClass offers videos, workbooks and interactive assignments.
Dino Lab visitors have the rare chance to visit a restoration lab and to get up close to dinosaur fossils, including the newest arrival, a 65-million-year-old Triceratops known as “Tank.” builder proved difficult within the busy local construction industry, they did much of the renovation work themselves, along with a staff member who was a former contractor. “It was it was a lot of overtime,” Burbank says. “But we were all pretty thrilled when it all came together.”
TIMELESS TECHNIQUES + ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
1 Unlike displays in many museums, visitors to Dino Lab are encouraged to get hands-on with certain fossils and even get to hold real dinosaur bones. 2 Fossil restoration technician Robert Cookson uses a pneumatic tool to clean a fossil.
“Then, basically, it’s just like putting a puzzle back together,” Burbank says. “We used to cast the missing pieces, but 3D technology has really come a long way. Now we’re able to do a 3D printing of the missing pieces and scale it to the size we need. It’s a big game changer.”
CRAZY FOR DINOSAURS Because of the space restrictions, Dino Lab’s 90-minute experience must be booked in advance. Visitors get a guided, personal tour of the fossil gallery with its dinosaurs, mineral specimens, meteorites and fluorescent minerals, along with 30 minutes of hands-on work helping to extract real dinosaur fossils in a specialized lab. “Attractions like Dino Lab are a cornerstone of the Greater Victoria visitor economy,” says Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria. “These businesses provide unique activities and experiences that are usually not found in other destinations. What’s more, they are often valued by the community of Greater Victoria. They are not just for our visitors but residents too.” The founders initially thought they would see mostly children’s birthday parties, but the interest has come from a wide audience, with their booking site showing visitors from around the world. “We’ve had a different demographic than initially anticipated,” Burbank says. “Adults are loving it and keep coming back. We’re getting resumés like crazy and people wanting to volunteer. It’s really taken off and made it all worth it.”
The fossils that come to Dino Lab are usually found by oil and gas companies or are discovered on private land. (Their preparation is a specialized trade, and Dino Lab is one of the few places in North America that does it.) The fossils arrive at the centre encased in plaster field jackets, which Dino Lab removes before cleaning the specimens with their pneumatic tools.
3 Dinosaur docent Kathryn Abbott leads the interactive tours through Dino Lab’s exhibits, which include this Struthiomimus fossil. 4 This Zephyrosaurus, which is approximately 100 million years old, is the only mounted specimen of its kind in the world. 5 Finding locally made products for the gift shop was a challenge when Dino Lab converted into a public exhibit space.
On The Knowledge Project podcast, host Shane Parrish interviews remarkable people about the tools they use to do their best work.
Jocko Willink, a one-time Navy Seal commander, takes the field manual approach in his new book Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual.
IN CONVERSATION LEONARD KROG MAYOR OF NANAIMO
THE WAKE UP CALL Sick of headlines about the destructive drama in their city council, many people in Nanaimo asked Leonard Krog to give up his seat as the region’s NDP MLA to run for mayor — and that’s exactly what he did. Douglas talks to Krog about pulling the city out of the headlines — and out of its tailspin — to focus on governance and getting things done. BY DAVID LE NNAM
LEONARD KROG HAS A LOT OF LOVE IN NANAIMO. The long-time former NDP MLA needs it, having taken over as the Hub City’s mayor a year ago, ending one of the darkest terms of civic politics in memory. While the 66-year-old probably won’t be slipping on a pirate costume like one of his long-time mayoral predecessors, Frank Ney, he’s never an apologist for his boosterism, pretty much gushing about the town he was born in. “My city is an undiscovered gem. And the truth is, it’s being discovered quite rapidly and the numbers confirm that,” he says, acknowledging that just over a year into the job the positive feedback is lingering. “Part of that is just simply getting us out of the headlines and getting down to the work that any city has to do, let alone doing the things cities need to do as we confront a new century.” Nanaimo is booming like it hasn’t since they stopped digging coal out of the ground 60 years ago. Building permit activity is up 106 per cent over 2018. By the end of 2019, development was at an all-time record pace — $445.3 million. Closer inspection shows residential building permits are up 83 per cent, while commercial permits have jumped 207 per cent. Three hotels are in the works. Duke Point terminal is getting a $100 million expansion. The airport, 10 years ahead of passenger projections, is getting a $15 million upgrade. The population is growing at one of the highest rates in B.C. Locals like to say Krog has helped the turnaround. “It’s a steady hand at the wheel with Leonard and his council,” says John Hankins, CEO of the Mid Island Business Initiative. “Things are really good for Nanaimo. We’re starting to get noticed.” This time for the right reasons. Almost legendary tales of dysfunction at Nanaimo City Hall were not exaggerated. They didn’t need to be. Between 2013 and 2018, the former mayor and council were at war. And the casualties were three
BELLE WHITE/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
dozen staff, millions in potential investment and the city’s status, nationally and internationally. Fractious, scandalous. It doesn’t begin to describe the chaotic tenure of Mayor Bill McKay and his council — one highlighted by dueling lawsuits, criminal investigations, even physical altercations. Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly (Green) is delighted with having a highfunctioning council in place. “When I watch how they work together, they’re very professional with each other, even in disagreement. I think we’re miles ahead with that.” And it’s hoped that cooperative spirit instills investor confidence. “Money is mobile. It can go anywhere,” says Amrit Manhas, City of Nanaimo economic development officer. “Investors want certainty and then they have confidence.” With McKay’s decision to not seek reelection a year ago, there was optimism that a hometown boy, Krog, would ditch provincial politics, take the helm and pilot Nanaimo away from the turbulence that had rocked it so savagely. Krog says he listened to repeated calls for him to run for mayor. Even Kim Smythe, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO and onetime president of the BC Liberal riding association, wanted Krog as mayor. “My respect for him does go beyond the political boundaries, and we joke about it every time we see each other … He’s highly intellectual, has a gift for speaking and a gift for analyzing issues and problems and repositioning them as opportunities.” Born in Nanaimo, Krog grew up in Coombs, before moving back home in 1979. He and his wife Sharon, together for 46 years, also share a law practice. Clearly he’s enjoying himself. More than he did representing Parksville-Qualicum, then Nanaimo, in the Legislature for 19 years as an NDP MLA — mostly in opposition. “The present is great, the future is bright,” says Krog. “We have our problems, but I wouldn’t want to live any place else.”
Douglas sat down with Krog in December for a conversation about his city and his approach.
Why did you run for mayor? The essential reason is because people asked me. It’s not like I said I really want to do this job. It was people asking me as things got worse and worse, after the provincial election … I think there was a fair presumption by many that I would be around the cabinet table. When that didn’t happen, even more community leaders came to me and said they’re really concerned about the state of the city, and ‘you’re the guy who can pull things together.’
“It’s a heckuva lot harder to park here today than it was five years ago ... It’s a good problem to have.”
Some said you jeopardized the NDP government by resigning your provincial seat to seek the mayor’s chair. Sheila Malcolmson got elected in the byelection with 49 per cent of the vote. I was quite confident that Sheila was going to win here.
Will it be hard to get provincial attention, given your break with the party and your history with Deputy Premier Carole James, whom you ran against as leader in 2003 and were then part of a caucus revolt against her leadership seven years later? I don’t think so. I have a wonderful working relationship with our MLA Sheila Malcolmson. I’ve tried to draw attention to the unique problems Nanaimo faces, particularly around the homelessness and housing issues. And I think it behooves the [B.C.] government to pay attention to this city. We’re a very bright spot in the economy of this province. We’re an attractive, growing community and politics is about being smart and sensible. John Horgan needs the Nanaimo constituency as much as he needs Delta North [which flips between NDP and Liberal].
Was being passed over for a cabinet position, particularly the attorney general portfolio, influential in your quitting provincial politics? There’s no question. If I’d felt I was going to be used in the benefit of what, at that point, was 17-plus years of experience in the Legislature,
I might well have not listened to the call. But I can tell you, as the call here in the community got louder, and I was fairly satisfied I wasn’t going to advance there, my wife climbed on board very seriously and said, “Look, time to come home.”
What’s your strength, politically speaking? I think people generally like me and that’s helpful. What’s the old line from kindergarten about a poor student who doesn’t work well with others? I think people would say I do work well with others. Regardless of the differences Horgan and I had, he made me his caucus chair. Specifically, given what had happened on Nanaimo council and the hellish life that Bill McKay had to live as mayor, I think a lot of people thought [I] would inspire good people to run and once elected should be able to work with those people who did win.
You’ve called this “the most thrilling time for Nanaimo.” Thrills can be precarious. I assume you were speaking optimistically? 20 DOUGLAS
I’m an optimistic person by nature. I worry about things. Any good lawyer thinks of all the things that could go wrong. But in terms of thrilling, we have all of the things in place. We have a wonderful developing and reaffirmed relationship with Snuneymuxw First Nation. We’ve been discovered by others outside our community who want to invest and live here and are prepared to make that move. We’re working well with the Port; we have a new [downtown waterfront area] protocol agreement with them. The university is here and wants to work with everybody.
What do you see as the biggest challenge? It’s something that’s really beyond our jurisdiction and our responsibility and that is issues of homelessness, mental health and drug addiction, and the crime that goes with that. We have, by our estimates, 600 to 800 homeless people in Nanaimo in a city just under 100,000 people. The City of Vancouver has 675,000 people and the count there is 2,200 homeless. We have an extraordinary problem here, disproportionate to our size. You work with the provincial government, which is what we’re doing, and we’re doing it in a significant way. There’s 518 units of supportive and affordable housing, either under construction or promised by the province. That will make a huge dent.
be a political nightmare — but we’re prepared to do it because it’s not going to go away.
Are you providing land then? There are only so many things one can say in an interview. We provided the land for the Labieux site … That’s leased City land.
City Council turned down a request for $70,000 to fund five addiction treatment beds at the John Howard Society of British Columbia Vancouver Island Therapeutic Community. Why? Damn right we did, and why shouldn’t we? If we start funding treatment addiction beds, the province doesn’t have to fund five beds and will happily say you’re solving your own problem, why would we care? … I’m not going to commit or support this city committing to fulfilling the responsibilities of the provincial or federal governments.
Staff losses at City Hall numbered 35 during the last council’s tenure, including a number of senior people. How do you repair that?
Homelessness is most visible downtown, but merchants I spoke with say business is good. Since I came here in 1979, I can measure the downtown activity by parking. It’s a heckuva lot harder to park here today than it was five years ago, 10 years ago or 15 years ago ... It’s a good problem to have.
Nanaimo created a Health and Housing Task Force last May. Is it working? The problem didn’t happen overnight. I know how painful it is. I get just as frustrated as everybody else … We’re working hard with the provincial government and BC Housing to secure the units. But the housing, in and of itself — if it isn’t provided with supports, if we don’t see dry housing built, if we don’t see mental health institutions like Riverview reopened — is not going to solve the problem.
The province has a modular housing strategy to build supportive housing. Are you making land available? In fairness to Rich Coleman [Liberal MLA, previously minister responsible for Housing] that was his constant complaint. I’ll build it, he said, but the municipalities never want to face the political flak for the rezoning or the provision of the land or whatever. Nanaimo has taken a different approach. We’re working with BC Housing — and all of us are aware it’s going to
Problems around recruitment face every municipal government in the province, but ours was particularly bad because so many people were severed who should never have been severed. People left, were driven out, frustrated, retired early, whatever. To recover that reputation you can only do it by doing what we’ve done: make good governance a priority. To get the message out that we’re not in the headlines anymore for bad reasons.
Has having the Island recognized by Ottawa as a Foreign Trade Zone helped investment?
project in town that has almost universal appeal.
What’s the plan for the 26-acre downtown waterfront area at 1 Port Drive, that could be ground zero for Nanaimo’s future? We haven’t announced it yet. We’re working on it. It hasn’t come to council yet. It’s an amazing piece of waterfront right in the downtown core. Like any group looking at what will be a very important project, we want to do it right. You don’t want to screw it up. The one thing this community agreed on is we don’t want an event centre there.
Has your 10-year-property tax exemption created investment? It’s working. Most of us campaigned on the numbers that we need at least 5,000 more people in the downtown core and there have been several announcements of projects that put us on track to do that. In a world where climate change is the issue, we want densification in our downtown core … Look at the size of this city geographically (91.3 square kilometres compared to Victoria’s 19.47 and Vancouver’s 114). I’ve said over and over again, the problem with Nanaimo is we’ve got too much geography and not enough citizens.
The Port Authority in Nanaimo is now offloading container ships of cars. I hear there are 120 new jobs. Is it a game changer? Mercedes-Benz. It’s huge. Formerly those cars would have offloaded in Vancouver. Expensive, delays in getting unloaded, or, alternatively, they’d be shipped across Canada. Now you bring them around Cape Horn, drop them in Nanaimo, they get cleaned up here - you’ve got to clean them up after a sea voyage - then you barge them to Vancouver and they go to the dealerships.
That helps us very much. In the longer haul, that will be a major beneficiary How much has the of its port status forestry industry’s as goods continue decline hurt Nanaimo? to be shipped There’s a horrible strike around the world. on right now that’s If the government impacting families does the right directly and indirectly. thing with the If this was 30 years ago E&N Railway, I it would have been can see us moving pneumonia. Now it’s a — John Hankins, CEO, quite easily into cold. The theme of the Mid Island Business Initiative a situation where story is Nanaimo ain’t ships will arrive in what it used to be. That Alberni, load onto rail, come to Nanaimo and presents challenges for people who have been barge to Vancouver. There is very little land left here for a long time. They remember a quieter, in the Lower Mainland and the workers who sleepier and more recognizable community. For work there can’t afford the housing. That is a many of them, a more comfortable community. driver and there are tremendous opportunities. But we’re living in the 21st century.
“It’s a steady hand at the wheel with Leonard and his council.”
A fast foot-passenger ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver has been talked about, seemingly, forever. Is it going to happen? I think, in fairness, it’s basically just down to financing. I’ve worked with the group [Island Ferry Service] before as MLA and continue to work with them. Without question, it is the one
Do you look at Victoria and say we can do better in Nanaimo? I’d like to think we could do better and I’d like to think we don’t end up looking like downtown Victoria for very long because it’s not something we’re used to here. It’s a new thing here. DOUGLAS 21
MARWICK MARKETING WHAT IS BEST, .COM OR .CA?
Christian Thomson, CEO, with Eva the pug
he difference between a .ca and .com website domain and the effects on your brand appears subtle. The question is, which one is better for search engine optimization? In a perfect world If possible, take both the .com and .ca for your domain extension. Domain names are less than $15/year — great value to ensure no one takes the other domain, protecting your brand. When you purchase both domains, you will want your Webmaster to create a 301 redirect to the other domain. This has SEO benefits in that each redirect will create some ‘link juice’ to aid in boosting your ranking in Google search results. Who is your target market? If you have a business focusing solely on Canadian customers, then using the .ca TLD will have local geo-targeting benefits in the search engines. When somebody uses Google.ca rather than Google.com the search results will favour .ca web addresses. If you are looking to serve customers in the USA and further abroad, you will most likely want to lean towards the .com TLD. The .com is recognized worldwide. Whether people know .ca stands for Canada or not, they tend to associate this TLD with local services.
Takeaway: .ca is like putting a Canadian flag up outside your house abroad; you are signalling you are Canadian to the world. What do you want Google Webmaster to think? As a default, Google Webmaster considers your .com site as international, however, you can associate your website with Canada by letting them know. This will aid in local search traffic. A good SEO consultant can help manage this for you. TLD competition overall The number of .com domain names dwarfs .ca domains, therefore, it is easier to be found in localized search terms with a .ca address than in worldwide search terms. Consider your target market stereotypes Consumer preferences can impact bounce rates, user engagement on websites and conversions. While older generations may not be so aware of the difference between .com and .ca, you can get niches with a loyal market heavily favouring .ca over .com. Takeaway: What generation is your target audience from and what traits do they contain in relation to Canada and worldwide? Where are your backlinks coming from? If you are being linked to in local search results but want to start moving further
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abroad, consider where your backlinks are coming from. If they are primarily .ca addresses, Google favours your site further towards local search results. Start gaining (with whitehat SEO) backlinks from .com domains to move up Google.com search results. Still undecided? If you are still confused as to what is best for your situation, choosing the .com is probably best. The general consensus is .com is more recognizable than .ca (or any other variation). Do you really want to dominate SEO for google.ca? Marwick Marketing is Canada’s leading SEO agency. Certified as a Premier Google FINAL Partner Agency, we drive excellent SEO results. Marwick Marketing is also the highest rated SEO agency in Canada. Check out our reviews on Google. Contact us today and see how we can improve your SEO to increase your business online.
TREES RESTAURANT CLEAN, GREEN AND SERENE
trolling through downtown in the last few months you may have noticed the bakery at 537 Johnson Street has been replaced with the delightfully decorated Trees Restaurant. The space has been brightened up with a fresh coat of white paint, replacing much of the dark interior that was there before. Diners now enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with luscious plants and, perhaps most impressively, plush slipper chair seating with brightly patterned upholstery that fully enhance the charm of the place. Trees Restaurant opened in July 2019 with a brunch-only menu, but now offers dinner and drinks as well as hosting private events. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy our food and feel welcome here, so we offer healthy, locally sourced ingredients that allow for delicious meal options for various dietary restrictions such as vegetarian or vegan,” says Dadmehr Naimi, owner. “Our mission is to highlight Vancouver Island-grown produce, so we feature a seasonal menu that reflects our passion for fresh, sustainable ingredients and our love of food. Everything on the menu is made in house.”
Community Collaboration After the Global Climate Strike Rally that took place at the legislature grounds on September 27, 2019, Trees Restaurant management met with Dogwood and other local business owners to discuss responsibilities and goals. “It was an amazing night full of passionate conversation and inspiring collaborative ideas, some of which included convening the restaurant and hospitality industry to work collaboratively on sharing sustainable best practices, creating healthy competition among local businesses around climate and sustainability initiatives,” Naimi describes. Trees Restaurant is also working with FED to analyze and measure how it can be more sustainable, and is working very hard evaluating its processes to ensure that by the end of 2020 it is a minimal-waste establishment. “Two Lavender Lattes, Please!” While the brunch menu boasts delicious full or half Bennys, options less commonly
“... we feature a seasonal menu that reflects our passion for fresh ingredients and our love of food.”
found in Victoria such as latkes or shakshuka (or lavender lattes!) are offered as well. After 11 a.m., try the crispy Tofu Reuben complete with braised sauerkraut, grainy mustard, arugula and the house cheese blend, served with soup or salad. Happy Hour starts at 5 p.m., when starters are 50% off until 6:30 p.m., a perfect opportunity to sample the Stuffed Zucchini. While dinner mains are seasonal, the kombucha and jun on tap is permanent, not to mention the list of delectable spirit-free cocktails or regular cocktails — always a double!
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Another element that sets Trees Restaurant apart within its field is that, as with its sister company Trees Island Grown, it strives to be a leader in local fare but also to be on the forefront of cannabis accessibility. “We regularly get questions regarding cannabis-infused food. As it is not legal yet, we cannot offer this option. But when it does become legal, we will be at the forefront of that,” says Naimi. “We do offer fully stocked rolling trays to those that are 19+. We want those who consume cannabis to feel welcome here while still offering a warm and welcoming space to those who do not because we are a family-oriented eatery where all are welcome.”
537 Johnson Street treesrestaurant.ca
FEATURED FEATUREDBUSINESS BUSINESS
THE THE GREATER GREATER VICTORIA VICTORIA HARBOUR HARBOUR AUTHORITY AUTHORITY
Mark Mark Crisp, Crisp, the the GVHA’s GVHA’s Director Director of of Infrastructure Infrastructure explains, explains, “For “For us us ‘the ‘the why’ why’ stems stems from from quite quite simply simply where where it it is is that that we we work work –– on on the the traditional traditional lands lands of of the the Lekwungen Lekwungen people. people. We We know know that that we we have have a a role role to to play play in in Indigenous Indigenous reconciliation reconciliation and and for for us us that that begins begins with with looking looking at at our our everyday everyday business business practices practices and and finding finding ways ways to to bring bring Indigenous businesses Indigenous businesses into into the the mix.” mix.”
Sharing Sharing the the Shores Shores The The Greater Greater Victoria Victoria Harbour Harbour Authority Authority (GVHA), a not-for-profit (GVHA), a not-for-profit organization, organization, manages manages 110 110 acres acres of of land land in in the the heart heart of of Lekwungen territory, including the Lekwungen territory, including the Victoria Victoria Cruise Cruise Terminal, Terminal, The The Breakwater Breakwater District District at Ogden Point, Fisherman’s at Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, Wharf, and and several several Inner Inner Harbour Harbour marinas. marinas. Every Every day, day, the team procures goods and services the team procures goods and services that that help help to to keep keep Victoria’s Victoria’s most most treasured treasured places places thriving. thriving. Established Established in in 2002, 2002, the the GVHA GVHA was was founded founded on on the the belief belief that that First First Nations Nations knowledge knowledge and and participation participation must must be be integrated integrated into into the the foundation foundation of of its its work. work. “The “The GVHA’s GVHA’s governance governance structure structure is is unique unique in in that that we we have have representatives representatives of of both both Esquimalt Esquimalt Nation Nation and and Songhees Songhees Nation Nation on on our our Board. Board. Both Both Nations Nations have have a a high high level level of of input input into into all all our our strategic strategic and and policy policy decisions. decisions. We We have have benefitted benefitted greatly greatly from from their their knowledge knowledge and and are are proud proud of our longstanding relationship.” of our longstanding relationship.” –– Judy Judy Kitts, Kitts, First First Nations Nations Engagement Engagement Manager. Manager. This This unique unique structure structure is is one one of of the the organization’s greatest strengths organization’s greatest strengths and and has has led led to to some some incredible incredible initiatives initiatives over over the the years including the Unity Wall Mural at years including the Unity Wall Mural at The The
Breakwater Breakwater District District at at Ogden Ogden Point, Point, the the First First Nations Nations Causeway Causeway Artists Artists Program, Program, and and the the Lekwungen Lekwungen Youth Youth Job Job Shadowing Shadowing Program. Program. Recently, the GVHA has turned Recently, the GVHA has turned its its efforts efforts to to thinking thinking and and rethinking rethinking how how it it does does business business in in Victoria. Victoria. With With a a focus focus on on procurement, procurement, the the GVHA GVHA is is working working to to find find ways ways to to source source more more goods goods and and services services from from local local Indigenous Indigenous businesses. businesses. Focusing Focusing on on Meaningful Meaningful B2B B2B The The Canadian Canadian Council Council for for Aboriginal Aboriginal Business states that Indigenous Business states that Indigenous businesses businesses are are growing growing at at nine nine times times the the rate rate of of non-Indigenous non-Indigenous businesses. businesses. In In fact, fact, the the Indigenous Indigenous economy economy contributes contributes $31 $31 billion billion to to Canada’s Canada’s GDP GDP annually, annually, and and it it is is estimated estimated that that it it will will reach reach $100 $100 billion billion by by 2024. 2024. The The GVHA GVHA has has seen seen significant significant growth growth in Indigenous businesses in Indigenous businesses over over the the last last five five years. years. Looking Looking to to leverage leverage this this growth, growth, it it launched Victoria’s first Indigenous Business launched Victoria’s first Indigenous Business Directory Directory –– a a listing listing of of more more than than 40 40 Indigenous Indigenous businesses businesses and and entrepreneurs entrepreneurs that that are are interested interested in in working working with with the the GVHA GVHA and and its its partners. partners. This This Directory Directory is is the the result of a detailed review of the GVHA’s result of a detailed review of the GVHA’s procurement procurement policy, policy, holding holding ‘meet ‘meet and and greets’ greets’ with with Indigenous Indigenous businesses, businesses, and and tracking tracking and and monitoring monitoring its its spending spending on on goods goods and and services. services.
Procurement Procurement Partnerships Partnerships Recent Recent partnerships partnerships the the GVHA GVHA has has fostered fostered with with Indigenous businesses Indigenous businesses include: include: •• Brandigenous, Brandigenous, a a custom custom design and merchandising design and merchandising supplier supplier “The “The GVHA GVHA has has been been leading leading by by example on partnering with example on partnering with Indigenous Indigenous businesses. businesses. They They took took the the time time to to seek seek out an Indigenous business as part out an Indigenous business as part of of their their procurement procurement process process and and once once connected, connected, our our business business values, values, which which focus focus on on responsible responsible and and sustainable sustainable sourcing, aligned quickly.” sourcing, aligned quickly.” –– Jarid Jarid Taylor, Taylor, Founder. Founder. •• Salish Salish Sea Sea Industrial Industrial Services, Services, a a marine marine industrial industrial services services company company In In 2018 2018 the the GVHA GVHA selected selected the the company, company, through through a a competitive competitive bidding bidding process, process, for for its Ship Point repair project. its Ship Point repair project. “We “We are are pleased pleased to to have have been been awarded awarded the the Ship Ship Point Point repair repair project project by by GVHA GVHA and and the the City City of of Victoria. Victoria. We We are are competitive competitive in in the the marketplace marketplace and and this this contract represents the fifth project contract represents the fifth project we we have have undertaken undertaken for for the the GVHA. GVHA. The The Victoria Victoria harbour harbour serves serves as as an an important important transportation transportation highway highway and and economic economic catalyst catalyst for for the the entire entire region. region. This This is is as as true true today as it was for our ancestors and today as it was for our ancestors and we we are are proud proud to to be be earning earning our our livelihoods livelihoods once once again on our traditional waters.” again on our traditional waters.” -- Karen Karen Tunkara, Tunkara, Director. Director. To To encourage encourage others others to to use use the the Indigenous Indigenous Business Business Directory, Directory, the the GVHA GVHA has made the Directory public: has made the Directory public: https://gvha. https://gvha. ca/first-nations-partnerships ca/first-nations-partnerships
100-1019 100-1019 Wharf Wharf Street Street || 250-383-8300 250-383-8300 || email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org || gvha.ca/first-nations-partnerships gvha.ca/first-nations-partnerships A D V E R T O R I A L F E AT U R E A D V E R T O R I A L F E AT U R E
Andre Brosseau, President
Ticking All the Right Boxes When starting up a new business, it’s exciting – the ideas are flowing, the coffee is brewing, your energy is pouring into your dream. And when your venture is up and running, you have to keep the momentum going, keep costs down and productivity up. Let’s face it — taking time out of the day to update printers and scanners, source inks and toners, improve network security and the like probably aren’t what get most entrepreneurs bounding out of bed in the morning. For home offices, too, these issues are constantly put in the “back burner” category of one’s to-do list. In fact, these tasks usually have most people saying, “There has to be someone who can help me with this!” This is what innov8 Digital Solutions Ltd. was made for. innov8 is BC’s largest independently owned and operated office equipment organization. It is the cumulation of several independent corporations into one strong, customer-focused business. With a team of over 60 people and 7 offices, its support for customers across Vancouver Island and the BC Interior is second to none. Never Stop ‘innov8ing’ innov8 is not just an office hardware supplier; being a BC-owned and operated company with local sales, service, and warehousing means it can address clients’ needs quickly. Consistently looking forward to upcoming market and technology advances, investing in the business, the staff, and the community; keeps innov8 at the forefront. “In the technology business you are either growing or dying; there is no inbetween. It is a competitive changing marketplace and you must remain focused on client service, as clients are your most valued partner,” says Brosseau. To that end, innov8 offers free “Office Assessments.” Printer usage and associated costs can comprise as much as 3 to 5% of a business’s annual expenses, yet it’s often one of the last places we look to for cost savings. As an industry-leader with decades of experience, innov8’s thorough assessments save clients time and money while reducing their environmental impact. “In business I have always strived to provide excellent value to our clients,”
“In the technology business you are either growing or dying; there is no in-between. It is a competitive changing marketplace and you must remain focused on client service.” says Andre Brosseau, President. “Value is not always the least expensive product; long after the purchase is made, from a client standpoint, the focus inevitably is on ‘How reliable is the product’ and ‘Is it the right fit for this purpose?’ The lowest-level, cheapest product all too often ends up being the most costly in downtime and lost productivity.” Empowered People Make the Difference Not only is innov8 client-service oriented, but it is community-driven as well. “We believe strongly in supporting local charities and organizations,” says Brosseau. “These efforts have made innov8 Digital Solutions well known across Vancouver Island. Over the past 5 years we have provided hundreds of thousands in support. This past Christmas, we were a Gold Sponsor for the Victoria Hospital Foundation and we partnered with BC Children’s Hospital and the Festival of Trees at the Bay Centre. For the second year in a row we
A D V E R T O R I A L F E AT U R E
were the #1 donation earner, bringing in over $20,000.” As Brosseau says, “With almost 30 years in the office technology business, I have seen many changes, trends, fads and businesses process change, as does the technology. One constant has been the consumer desire to have trusted, reliable and efficient suppliers. Customers want a positive experience; not only on the day they make the purchase, but for years after they make the initial leap of faith. I know that empowered people make the difference — something technology can never replace.”
575 Bay Street 250-800-8932 innov8.ca 250.800.8932
INNOV8 DIGITAL SOLUTIONS VANCOUVER ISLAND’S LEADING OFFICE EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
TAKEN OFF Once considered a form of hobby tech that occasionally created problems for air traffic controllers, drones are now playing an increasingly important role in everything from product delivery to environmental monitoring to emergency response.
BIG IDEA ■ BY BILL CURRIE ■ PHOTOS BY JEFFREY BOSDET
ike so many people before him, Philip Reece was drawn to Salt Spring Island for its natural beauty and its slower pace of life. But relaxing into that slower pace was easier said than done for Reece, a serial entrepreneur who had already launched four companies. So several years after moving to the Island, he cofounded his fifth business — InDro Robotics — a company that specializes in Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), which can be used for everything from early detection of wildfires to construction monitoring and traffic scanning. The beauty of RPAS is that they can operate in complex situations and environments humans can’t easily reach. The idea for InDro Robotics was born while Reece was working on aerial mapping with one of his other enterprises, Salt Spring Air, a company that has been servicing Salt Spring Island for almost 15 years. During that time, he found himself thinking that many of the industry flights for his clients in construction, mining, forestry and wildlife could be carried out far more efficiently and safely by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) flights than by airplanes. Reece began to see that his future in aviation was not in planes, but in drones, but it’s not lost on him that his future business idea occurred while he was flying in a seaplane using 50-year-old technology. In 2014, he launched InDro Robotics.
Philip Reece (left), CEO of InDro Robotics, and Geoff Mullins, systems engineer, showcase the drone that successfully delivered pharmacy items to Salt Spring in 2019.
“The key in all of my businesses has always been to recruit people who are smarter than I am, who have industry experience,” Reece says. “So we brought all that smart brain power together and bought whatever drones were on the market. [When we] realized they weren’t really going to cut it, we began building our own.” One of the smart people Reece recruited was Nigel Fisher, former chair of UNICEF, who Reece started working with while InDro was engaged doing humanitarian disaster relief in Haiti and Nepal for the United Nations. Back in Canada, the company charted its course, establishing its head office and lab on Salt Spring and its software development division in Vancouver. Employing a team of top engineers and pilots, InDro reached out to Transport Canada, which was in the throes of trying to manage the skyrocketing popularity of the drone industry. “We didn’t introduce ourselves as a drone company,” Reece says. “We introduced ourselves DOUGLAS 27
as an aviation company that happened to fly drones — and that rang a bell. Transport Canada recognized our procedures were pulled from the aviation business.” In 2014, Transport Canada was recruiting new inspectors and InDro got the contract to provide training. By engaging Transport Canada with its aviation focus, says Reece, the company became the first fully compliant drone operator in Canada and the first to fly BVLOS flights. Today, InDro provides training to a number of police forces and fire departments across Canada. “We worked a lot on the regulatory side, particularly in response to services that first responders could put to work,” Reece says. The company has accumulated thousands of flight hours and is collaborating with leading bodies such as the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, as well as conducting studies on UAVs to develop new equipment and technologies.
TIMELY RESPONSE For Reece and his team, the future of drone technology is BVLOS and Artificial Intelligence (AI). InDro’s drones are able to fly longer distances, are smart enough to avoid objects and are capable of sending data between computers and pilots. InDro made history in August 2019 when one of its drones, flying at 50 to 60 kilometres an
Philip Reece, CEO of InDro Robotics, has a background in tech startups and commercial aviation.
hour for about 75 metres, made an 11-minute flight from London Drugs in Duncan to Salt Spring Island. It carried an EpiPen for a customer and a naloxone kit — an antidote to opioid overdoses — to a retired nurse. The drone made a third delivery to Country Grocer’s pharmacy in Ganges. The test flight was part of
a pilot project between InDro Robotics, Canada Post and London Drugs to test a new way to serve remote clients who may not live near pharmacies. The service is not yet available to customers. “We thought the most difficult thing would be flying in mixed weather,” Reece says of the test. “Actually, the harder things were keeping the drugs at a prescribed temperature, keeping the privacy of the customers secure and ensuring the medicines put on the drone were the same ones the customers took off.” InDro’s research and development and software teams solved these issues by developing a tamper-proof case with a dial-in code and software to control the temperature of the drugs. “It has definitely opened the door to delivery in remote and rural areas,” says Reece. “InDro Robotics is one of only four companies in Canada with BVLOS certification.” That same year, the company also carried out trial flights in Renfrew County near Ottawa, replicating several 911 calls and testing whether ambulances or drones were the faster delivery method for automated external defibrillators. “We arrived between seven and 30 minutes before the ambulances on every occasion,” says Reece. Michael Nolan, the County of Renfrew’s director of emergency services and chief
Drones built by InDro Robotics played a significant role in helping fight the May 6, 2019 fire that destroyed Victoria’s Plaza Hotel. paramedic, says, “For every minute that passes, your likelihood of survival from cardiac arrest is diminished by 10 per cent, so to beat an ambulance by seven minutes can be the difference between life and death.” Nolan’s team now flies six licensed drones. “Philip has been creative and collaborative in not only improving our ability to better serve Canadians, he’s also leading the conversation about what’s possible.” Closer to home, drones built by InDro Robotics played a significant role in helping fight the May 6, 2019 fire that destroyed Victoria’s Plaza Hotel. Able to direct firefighters to hot spots with real-time visuals, InDro’s “drones were instrumental in saving the neighbouring heritage structures,” says Tanya Patterson, City of Victoria emergency program coordinator. “Philip’s a great businessman with a vision of creating drones for good purposes, particularly for first responders and emergency services.” InDro is also working with UBC on their Safewalk program, where security guards and volunteers escort students on campus at night. Now, drones with lights and cameras are being tested to help students stay safe. The company recently opened a third office in Ottawa after entering into a partnership with communication giants Ericsson and Nokia, who are working together to develop 5G technology in Canada.
FROM DESIGN ...
3D renderings, conceptual planning and permit drawings
... TO BUILD
CHANGING THE IMAGE Reece does acknowledge there’s work to do to overcome drones image problems. In 2018, drones shut down London Gatwick Airport for more than a day. In 2019, Transport Canada fined a man in Toronto $2,750 for flying drones over fans celebrating the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship. But with companies like InDro showing the many positive uses of drones in everything from emergency response to critical monitoring of the environment, the reputation of drones is changing for the better. Many challenges remain, but as more autonomous flying machines take to the air, the most pressing question for most people may be: How long will it take before your pizza is delivered by a drone?
BUSINESS IS GOOD HERE
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES IN SIDNEY?
IT’S A GREAT TIME TO START OR EXPAND A BUSINESS IN SIDNEY Sidney is growing and creating a dynamic environment for business opportunities. Consumers flock to Sidney’s bustling retail, hospitality and service sectors and delight in the seaside atmosphere of it all. Sidney is experiencing a shift in demographics, due in part to an influx of new and affordable real estate options that make Sidney extraordinarily livable. From boomers to young professionals, Sidney is the place to be and now is the time to claim your place in this dynamic business culture.
WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER The ideal locale for empty nesters and those just starting out, our business community beneﬁts from a population that is ﬁecely loyal to local business and ready to put their dollars in local business ventures.
municipal government, and a highly successful Business Improvement Area Society (SBIA). Sidney also provides a very supportive and welcoming community for job-seekers, with lots of opportunity for growth.
Business owners choose Sidney because of its great location, small-town feel, business-friendly
With so much focused, cooperative effort to drive business forward, Sidney’s economy is growing year over year.
The SBIA is here to help. We can give you a tour, provide you with a current list of available lease spaces, and connect you with property owners and municipal staff—whatever you need. And once here, the SBIA will happily and actively help to promote and market your business. So get in touch! We look forward to answering your questions and discussing how you can make the most of all Sidney has to offer to open or expand your business.
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Creative Clout Whether they are dreaming up public art installations, making accessible furniture featuring high design or carefully crafting brand identities, these local innovators are bolstering the region’s creative economy.
teve Jobs once famously said that creativity is just connecting things. “When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something … That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” Whether you agree implicitly or not, it’s inarguable that creative people process the world around them in a different way. These local designers and artists exemplify the possibilities of those connections with their ideas, products and art.
Caleb Beyers’s work through Caste Projects encompasses a wide variety of projects, from brand identity work with Victory Barber & Brand, interiors at Big Wheel Burger and the Caste Perpetual Calendar No. 1.
Caleb Beyers Taking it apart to put it all together
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
BY ATHENA MCKENZIE
Flipping through his thick, hardcover sketchbook, Caleb Beyers stops on a page dense with plant and seed illustrations, graphic wordmarks and a detailed web of information. “It’s the concept architecture for the fibre company I’m working with,” he says. “I’m trying to imagine where it goes — how to think about it and categorize it. When I did their branding, I came up with this matrix, the big questions and illustrations of a few ideas.” We’re sitting in the office above Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters, one of the many local companies Beyers has collaborated with over the years through Caste Projects, the creative think tank he ran with his wife, Hanahlie Beise. From consulting on branding and storytelling to designing interiors — some projects even involved designing furniture and lighting — their clients included Habit, Hoyne Brewing Company, Big Wheel Burger and Victory Barber & Brand. With the family’s move to Pender Island in 2018, and Beise’s focus on Hinterland Farm — an alpaca farm and wool business — they are retiring the Caste Projects label. Beyers’s work has also expanded beyond Victoria, taking “on a much broader scope,” with clients outside of the region. Bast Fibre Tech is one such client. It’s a business that develops usable fibres for industrial, technical and fashion purposes, out of hemp, flax, jute or any kind of bast fibre plant. “It will be seen in a very niche market for a while, and hopefully it will infiltrate the bigger consciousness,“ he says. “The
goal is to supplant a lot of synthetic fibres that are currently used in the marketplace.” Along with helping run the farm, a major focus for Beyers is trying to get his TV and movie projects made (he previously sold an animated series to Netflix, which was not developed). To cover the range of his creative endeavours, Beyers simply describes himself as an artist. “I used to say I was a designer, but I think language is a slippery thing,” he says. “If you say designer, people understand it in the context of how design exists in the culture that they’re a part of. I work in a lot of different fields and in a lot of different ways. In some fields, I’m far more technical, and in others I’m far more creative. In some fields I’m far more singular and in others I’m collaborative.” Beyers is often described as “selftaught,” and while he has never formally studied design, he studied psychology as an undergrad at Harvard and has taken classes in both art and design. He describes himself as very hands-on, “loving the process of taking things apart, understanding how they work and putting them back together,” then trying to make other versions of the same thing. This extends from physical objects to art. “Good design comes from understanding use cases,” he says. “Understanding that it’s going to end up in lots of different hands — and it’s going to be used totally differently, depending on who’s using it. So it’s thinking about how to make something, so that when it comes out, one, people understand how to use it, and, two, it can be used by all sorts of different people.” DOUGLAS 33
Cristian Arostegui G. The shape of things to come BY SUSAN HOLLIS
There’s a curve to the Sofi bench designed by Cristian Arostegui G. that has the same perfection as a blade of grass bent by the wind. In fact, each of his furniture pieces — whether custom-made for clients or dreamed up for kicks in-studio — has a way of unifying the organic with the geometric plumage of the modern world. Now in his sixth year of producing furniture through Arostegui Studio (but his seventh since he started toying with furniture design), his interests remain as diverse as they were when he first started collecting and customizing abandoned pieces found on the streets in Toronto. “I like audacious design — I wouldn’t say I have a specific style,” he says of his work. “I don’t think I want to be a part of anything too specific. I like being eclectic, and I sincerely don’t know if that’s good for me as a designer, or bad.” Having left architecture school in Chile to pursue an advertising degree, Arostegui followed his creative instincts and landed in Canada in 2009 and completed a woodworking program at Toronto’s Humber College. Now a regular at the Vancouver Interior Design Show (IDS) and a member of the Victoria
Cristian Arostegui G.’s furniture design includes the W coffee table (left) with a top of sustainable local marble, and the Sofi bench, made of ultrahigh-performance concrete.
Design Collective, Arostegui’s architectural training lends itself well to the balance needed when blending form and function, while his advertising background has helped him establish a successful business on Vancouver Island and beyond. A natural fit for the West Coast ethos, Arostegui is committed to making furniture that is well-designed from both a manufacturing and functional perspective — and always with a dose of social awareness. “Victoria is a beautiful place to live, though it can be a tricky place to work and sell your products,” he says, adding that his commitment to sustainable, local, low volatile organic compound materials can both help and hinder access to components that he incorporates into his furniture. Ever conscientious, Arostegui would like to see his products made more accessible to the budget-minded public. He and his business partners have recently embarked on a new furniture company, Caramba, that will offer locally made flat-pack, qualitybuilt products with a reasonable price tag. The company will produce Arostegui’s work with durable, inexpensive materials, allowing a broader range of consumers to access stylized furniture without paying a premium for custom design. “I find it frustrating that only people with money can afford the nicer furniture,” he says. “I feel like something should change. I know that better quality and better materials are going to be more expensive, but by making some changes to the materials we use, we are making something that more people can access.”
The following is a quick reference guide to Edward Jones’ spec colors, fonts, and logos. Colors
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
PMS 5535C PMS 160C
Gotham Gotham is used for all Edward Jones advertising, collateral an pieces. It is primarily used for body copy. readability, it is r Anne For M Delves , CFP 5 Financial Tips Financial Advisor go below 9 pt. on 13 pt. Preffered disclaimer style is 7 pt. on 8 for Business Owners ®
ITC 1Franklin Gothic An Individual Pension Plan provides
retirement income and has estate ITC for Franklin Gothic is used for tables, charts, and copy heavy planning benefits. (Appropriate for incorporated business owners.) used for our HNW category. 2 Employees are the heart of your business. Ensure they are taken care of through Group Disability and Savings Plans. 3 Buy-Sell Insurance ensures that you and your business partner(s) can buy each other’s interest out at death. 4 Key-Person Insurance protects your business should your key employee become disabled or pass away.
Logos Promotional logotype Used in our national brand campaign and marketing materials. The preferred treatment is black logo and tagline on a rectangle of PMS 116.
5 Have your Financial Advisor review all aspects of your business by doing a comprehensive review with you and your Accountant. www. edwardj o nes. c om
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Gabby Odowichuk (above) in front of Limbic Media’s interactive sound and light display at Lucky Bar in Victoria. Odowichuk’s Love Begets Love (right), a collaboration with artist Marie Specht, is an immersive, sculptural light installation in Vancouver.
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Ask Gabrielle (Gabby) Odowichuk what her favourite project is to date and the project engineer for Limbic Media will likely laugh and say it’s whatever she worked on last. Right now, that project is a tunnel of interactive, illuminated hoops she and her team installed along a cliffside walkway at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. Odowichuk is one of the creative brains at Victoria’s Limbic Media, a company famous for dreaming up big, impactful public art installations where movement, light, sound and visuals respond to human stimulus. At Limbic, Odowichuk is at the forefront of the interactive technology field, embodying the right blend of talent, ability and playfulness to bring companies’ installations to life. “It continues to be onwards and upwards for us,” she says. “The projects are getting larger and more exciting as we go. Maybe that’s why the newest ones are always my favourite.” While a passion for the clarinet first guided her into the music department at UVic, Odowichuk missed the challenges of math and science and soon transferred into the university’s engineering department, where her background made her a perfect candidate for the degree’s computer music option. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a masters of applied science in the same, Odowichuk began to focus on the use of human motion and gesture to control sound and music. Her graduate research gained her entry to a TEDx exhibition where she first met her future employers — Limbic founders Justin Love and Manjinder Benning. Now she spends her days writing software with Limbic’s development team and doing research and development on whatever product they’ve been tasked with dreaming up. From the initial stages in the lab, Odowichuk follows a project through to installation and completion. She regularly bounces around North America to ensure proper set-up and execution of the artistic undertakings she and her team have created. “It’s always really fun to take a step back and watch people interacting with something — especially right after you finish it,” she says. “I think there’s a bit of feeling proud [of] creating these moments for people — creating joy and creating reaction.”
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Commercial vehicle parking permits in Victoria now cost $100 to $300 per vehicle versus $25 to $40 before the Union of BC Municipalities deferred the program to local governments.
Surveys by the Capital Regional District showed more people are choosing not to drive. Fifty-five per cent of daily commuters drove in 2011, compared to 50 per cent in 2017.
This used to be privately owned parking; now it is being developed into condos. The project began construction in 2018 and is expected to be completed this year.
THE PERILS OF PARKING There are many issues that divide Victorians. One of the most contentious is parking. Douglas talks to stakeholders from both sides of the argument: those who think there’s not enough parking and it’s too expensive, and those who believe there’s too much and it doesn’t cost enough. BY KEITH NORBURY
arking the car seems simple enough. You park as close as you can to your destination while paying as little as possible. If you have abundant time, are in good health and the weather is fine, you might save money by parking blocks from your dentist’s appointment. Pressed for time, you might pay $3 an hour to park nearby. Problems arise, though, when thousands of drivers hunt for the most convenient and cheapest parking during prime periods, such as the holiday shopping season. In the middle of the night, you can park just about anywhere you want. In daylight, the week before Christmas, not so much. Further complicating parking matters are many factors, including how to provide adequate parking for people with disabilities, commercial vehicles, taxis and, in the near future, ride-hailing
CITY OF VICTORIA
Victoria has almost 2,000 on-street parking spots that drivers can pay to use. Costs range from to $1.50 to $3 an hour Monday to Saturday, or $1 to $2 an hour on Sunday.
vehicles and in the more distant future, autonomous vehicles. Parking is so complex that UCLA professor Donald Shoup wrote a 733-page book about it titled, The High Cost of Free Parking. For the sake of argument, however, the parking conundrum boils down to two opposing perspectives: there’s not enough parking and it’s too expensive; or there’s too much parking and it doesn’t cost enough. In Greater Victoria, those arguing the not enough/too expensive proposition include Paul Servos, co-owner of the Flag Shop Victoria on Fort Street, the Downtown Victoria Business Association and Langford Mayor Stew Young. Those arguing the opposite include Victoria transportation policy analyst Todd Litman, the Island Transformations Organization and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
PARKING RATES IN DOWNTOWN VICTORIA
PA N D
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4 HRS MAX
$2.00 ($1 on Sundays) 3 HRS MAX
$2.50 ($1 on Sundays)
2 HRS MAX
W HA RF ST.
$2.50 ($1 on Sundays)
NT ST .
90 MINS MAX
L AS S T.
$3.00 ($2 on Sundays)
R A ST .
Price per hour:
YAT E S S T.
$1.50 ($1 on Sundays)
CITY OF VICTORIA
24 HRS MAX
And caught in the middle are advocates for people with disabilities — like David Willows, who on his own initiative prepared a 51-page report on Victoria’s lack of accessible parking. [That is a whole other parking tale of its own.] THE SUNDAY SOLUTION Servos has no shortage of gripes about downtown parking, including how the city’s new bike lanes “butchered” parking availability. “The availability of public parking is declining as a result of all the new construction and all the private lots disappearing,” Servos says. “I think it’s a real shame.” While a number of private surface parking lots have been lost to development over the past five years, Bill Eisenhauer, City of Victoria head of engagement, says they have been replaced with underground parking in the developments themselves. “Overall the total number of parking stalls in the downtown core has remained relatively unchanged for the past five years,” Eisenhauer says, referring to the number of City-managed public parking spaces in parkades and on-street and the total parking inventory managed in private lots and underground at commercial and residential buildings in the core. This new parking is helping to satisfy some of the overall parking demand in the downtown, but it’s generally only available to people working or living in those buildings. Servos also isn’t a fan of the City of Victoria’s recent initiative to charge for on-street parking in the downtown core on Sundays and use 40 DOUGLAS
that money to give away bus passes for young people. “OK, fine, pay for Sunday parking,” Servos says. “But why they absconded with the Sunday parking revenue to subsidize one of their social agendas is beyond me. That money could easily have been put into enhancing parking downtown.” In an effort to address the parking situation, Servos ran for council in the 2014 election. He came in 16th place with 2,577 votes. Servos says he was considering running in the upcoming byelection, but has recently changed his mind. “If all you want is coffee shops and pot shops that you can walk to, then knock yourself out,” Servos says. “But that makes for a pretty boring downtown.” AVAILABILITY VERSUS COST The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) polled its membership earlier this year and discovered that parking availability is the number one negative factor impacting businesses. Number two was the cost of parking. Meanwhile, real-time parking availability placed second among the top three elements to improve the downtown business environment. According to the survey, 78.8 per cent, or 305 of the 387 respondents, ranked parking availability as a top four negative factor. More than half the respondents, 57.7 per cent, ranked it the most negative. A majority of respondents, 52.3 per cent,
rated the cost of parking as a top four negative factor, although only 18 per cent of those respondents ranked it number one. DVBA Executive Director Jeff Bray says he’s confident the survey, which went out to about 1,000 of the organization’s 1,500 members, reflects what downtown business operators have said anecdotally about parking. “But we never had anything that actually in any way quantified that,” Bray says. “There’s no question in the last five years we’ve lost significant surface parking in downtown, almost all of it being private parking lots that have been redeveloped into commercial buildings and condos,” Bray says, adding that the bike lanes aren’t to blame. What Bray found most interesting about the survey were the responses to questions about what could be done to improve downtown. “Now, given how prominent our members find the parking situation, it would have been very easy for them just to say, ‘Well, build more parking,’” Bray says. “What they actually said was if we had real-time parking availability information, that would really reduce the stress level our customers have with their coming downtown.” So the DVBA is working with the City of Victoria on two ways to provide drivers with such information. One would be to incorporate parking data on the ConnectVictoria app to display on a dashboard how many spaces are available in real time at, for example, the Johnson Street parkade. The second would be to have signage on the major gateways
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to downtown that display those numbers of available spaces — similar to the message boards on the Patricia Bay Highway that show how full the ferry sailings are. NO SUCH THING AS FREE PARKING Mayor Helps also noted that the City is working with the DVBA on such signage as part of a larger digital strategy. “Sometimes it’s not that there’s no parking,” Helps says. “It’s just that you don’t know where the available parking is.” In the future, Helps envisions every downtown parking space having a digital sensor and your phone could alert you to an available space. “It beeps when you’re close to one and you go into that spot,” she adds. “So that’s a few years away.” Nevertheless, Helps and Bray appear to have opposing philosophies about parking. Helps sees parking as one part of the overall transportation and mobility ecosystem. Bray says that the DVBA makes a distinction between the parking needs of commuters and customers. “The economic incentive for me not to drive has been proven,” Bray says. “But it’s not that I’m taking the bus downtown. It’s that I’m driving somewhere else.” At present, Victoria provides the first hour of parking for free in its parkades, which appeals to folks running quick errands. On-street parking rates range from $1.50 an hour to $3 an hour, Monday to Saturday, with the highest rates in the downtown core, and $1 to $2 an hour on Sundays. Those rates are comparable to those of Halifax, where parking is still free on weekends. Helps, though, makes it clear that parking in the city is only going to get more expensive. “There’s no such thing as free parking, and the cheaper parking is, the longer people stay, the less parking there is,” Helps says, citing Shoup’s book. That mirrors the position taken by Victoria transportation policy analyst Todd Litman, who wrote a 2006 book, Parking Management Best Practices, and recently updated its findings into
6,800 PARKING SPOTS IN DOWNTOWN VICTORIA 2,000 on-street parking spots
1,850 spaces in 5 city-owned parkades
2,950 spaces in privately managed lots NUMBERS ARE APPROXIMATE. SOURCE: DOWNTOWN VICTORIA BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
a 92-page document called Parking Management Comprehensive Implementation Guide.
A PRICEY PROPOSITION “Parking is actually an extremely costly resource,” Litman says, noting that the price of land in Greater Victoria now averages at least $1 million an acre — much more in urban areas. The 30 square metres for a parking stall isn’t a big deal in the countryside, he says. “But once you’re in a city, land is way too valuable to give away.” The real cost of an urban parking space is about $1,000 a year, Litman estimates. Parkade spaces are even more expensive, costing $40,000 to $70,000 each just to build. And a typical car requires two to eight parking spots a year. That adds up to a huge subsidy for car owners, he argues. “And yet our solution in the past is we assume that there is no big deal to require those costs to be borne by development,” Litman says. That’s still the view of Langford Mayor Stew Young. When he was first elected mayor in 1993, Young pledged that parking would always be free in Langford. Twentysix years later, he has kept that promise. He argues that development cost charges cover parking and that residents, in turn, already pay for parking through their taxes. “My job is to make sure I have enough parking. Then, when I don’t, it’s my responsibility to make sure the business community, as they Downtown parkades are primarily for short-term use. grow, pays for extra parking While there are monthly rates set by the City, there is no availibility and the waitlists are full. in the beginning,” Young says. 42 DOUGLAS
“But I’m not going to charge their customers after they’ve already spent the taxes to put in the parking in the first place.” Langford doesn’t even do much parking enforcement, preferring to issue warnings to respect a two-hour limit instead of writing tickets. “A $20 or $15 or $30 parking ticket to go get a coffee just doesn’t sit well with council, and it doesn’t sit well with the people of Langford,” Young says. When parking issues do arise, Langford will respond by creating more parking spaces, including building parkades. Litman, however, maintains it’s better to make each parking space “work harder” through better parking management. His guide lists 10 parking management principles and describes nearly two dozen specific strategies. They include unbundling the cost of parking from rents in buildings; favouring high-priority users such as delivery vehicles and people with disabilities; encouraging businesses with nighttime demand, such as restaurants, to share space with office buildings that need daytime parking and, as much as possible, have users pay for parking.
IT’S BETTER TO MAKE EACH PARKING SPACE “WORK HARDER”
“Downtown Victoria or any really successful commercial centre is going to be better off [by] pricing parking,” Litman says. “So it’s actually designating Langford as sort of a secondary market. It will never become a primary market as long as they’re focusing on automobile transportation and not focusing on multimodal transportation.” For the most part, Bray, Servos and Litman give Victoria good marks for its parking management, although Servos says there isn’t enough of it. “Our position is that the City of Victoria, in the downtown area, is doing a pretty good job of managing parking,” says Eric Diller, president of the Island Transformations Organization, which also favours less parking as well as an end to minimum parking requirements for new buildings. “It is one of the only cities in North America that is doing demand-responsive parking.” Also praising Victoria’s efforts is Carole Whitehorne, executive director of the 650-member Canadian Parking Association. “I think that Victoria does a really good job,” Whitehorne said. “The parking structures are well looked after. Their rates and pricing seem to be what the economy can bear out there and still sustain the development.”
DOUGLAS BUSINESS snapshot
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COOK ROBERTS LLP WELCOMES DECLAN REDMAN Cook Roberts LLP is pleased to announce that Declan Redman has joined the firm as an associate with our Civil Litigation team. Declan is an experienced litigator with a diverse general civil litigation and dispute resolution practice. He focuses on effectively advancing his clients’ interests, and providing advice that is both practical and efficient. Cook Roberts LLP has the knowledge and experience to assist you in virtually any area of civil litigation. Contact us today!
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LEARNING & CAREERS
5 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU GO BACK TO SCHOOL Getting a degree is a great way to boost your professional opportunities (or can even help in pursuing a career switch). Here are essential questions to ask yourself before you take the leap. BY LAURA BROUGHAM
eeling like your career progression has hit a wall? Not fulfilled in your current job? Think you’re capable of more? It might be time to take your education to the next level to expand your opportunities. But before you jump in headfirst, there are some important questions to ask yourself.
1. Do you know what to expect? Sue Maitland, a licensed life transition coach in Victoria, says she always tells her clients who are looking to switch careers to do their research before signing up for a course.
“I really recommend you research the position you’re striving for by talking with people who are already in that role,” Maitland says. “Ask them open-ended questions such as: ‘What do you enjoy most about what you do?’ and ‘What’s one aspect of your job you would eliminate if you could?’” While a job or career may look great from the outside, she says, if it mostly consists of aspects you’re not interested in then switching might result in you being just as unsatisfied as before.
2. Can your employer help out?
Knowledge is power. Are you an employer looking for training opportunities? Our contract training team can assess your training needs and develop innovative solutions for your employees. Daytime, evening or weekend workshops can be arranged and delivered at your worksite or at our college facilities.
Continuing Education & Contract Training email@example.com camosun.ca/ccc 778-265-5005 46 DOUGLAS
If you really like the company you work for but just want more opportunity, Maitland suggests speaking with your employer before looking at re-schooling. “You may not have to go back to school or do it yourself; your company may support you,” Maitland says. “Before you assume that you have to do that, talk to your employer and let them know what your interests are to see what possibilities exist for you to transition.”
3. How will you finance the shift?
“I took a big pay cut to do it, but it was a conscious decision, and I knew I wouldn’t want to retire, and I know I’ll be working longterm,” Maitland says. “So even though I’m not earning as much as I would have had I stayed in IT — and where I would have been unhappy — it was a conscious decision. I’ll still be doing this in my 80s … because it brings me so much joy.” Another thing to keep in mind: working and living in Victoria is a goal for many people, according to Maitland. Since the job market only has so many higher-paying jobs, a move out of the city may be required to start a new career once you’ve upgraded your education.
Unless your employer will pay for upgrading your education, you may have to fund it yourself. If you have the savings, great, but don’t WITH A HUGE HIRING give up hope if you don’t have enough saved. Do talk to the SHORTAGE IN B.C. RIGHT NOW, financial professionals at any institutions you are considering. SOME PROFESSIONS ACTUALLY You may be eligible for a PAY FOR PEOPLE TO UPGRADE student loan, in which case you’ll want to weigh the burden OR ENTER NEW CAREERS. of a loan against your future earning potential in a new career. 5. How’s your support system? With a huge hiring shortage in B.C. right Education takes time and energy, so make sure now, some professions actually pay for people you have a support system. to upgrade or enter new careers. Check “Are you willing to do this?” Maitland asks. studentaidbc.ca for information about B.C. “Think of your family. How will your studies access grants, designed to encourage eligible impact them? Are they supportive and perhaps students to attend high-priority programs at willing to take over some of the tasks you eligible B.C. post-secondary institutions. usually do in order to give you time to study?” Finally, check out grants, scholarships and If they aren’t, do you have the strength and bursary opportunities. Many organizations such resources to pursue your path? as clubs, unions and religious organizations provide grants. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
4. Are your expectations in line?
If you’ve considered these five questions and education is the clear path forward, then look into courses and programs that work best for you. Taking this step will open up exciting new prospects for your future, and going in wellinformed is the best way to ensure your future success.
You also want to make sure your prospective job or career offers the salary range you need. Maitland says changing careers may not offer a higher salary, which was the case when she switched careers from IT to licensed career coach.
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LEARNING & CAREERS
HOTTEST CAREERS FOR 2025 Want a career with great prospects for the future? We’ve identified some of the hottest growing and still-emerging fields for you to explore.
Digital Content Specialists Mobile commerce continues to be a huge wave, and the need for continuous and new content is only growing, so content specialists are increasingly in demand. The flip side is a predicted demand for “digital removalists” as millennials and genZers become fully aware of the need to clean their digital footprints.
Health Professionals Tech advances mean we’re living longer. Some scientists say the average lifespan for people being born now will reach 120 years. Combined with an aging population, that puts the demand for healthcare professionals at critical levels as need outpaces supply. From doctors and nurses to lab techs, physical therapists, geriatric professionals and health data analysts, this sector has a massive need for qualified people.
Energy Technicians As the urgency around climate change grows, cleantech companies are rushing to help reduce carbon emissions and transition us away from fossil fuels. The cleantech industry is facing a big demand for engineers and solar and wind energy technicians. In the U.S., an estimated 30,000 new solar technician jobs will become available before 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 48 DOUGLAS
Cyber Security Specialists With much of our financial and confidential information stored and dependent on connected online systems, people and organizations are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Experts say unless we see a massive increase in cybersecurity specialists, we could see information hacks and a shut down of large-scale infrastructure.
Drone Pilots There is increasing demand for drone operators in the armed forces, real estate, film, aerial surveillance, law enforcement and more. And the demand is not just for pilots, but also for experts who can maintain drones, manage fleets and more.
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AI/Machine Learning Experts AI technology is still in its infancy, but it is increasingly affecting almost every sector. Skilled and innovative machine learning engineers will be in high demand. A degree in AI/machine learning and computer programming is a sound career investment.
THE FACE OF WHATâ€™S NEXT Scott Kukelko, CPA | SkipTheDishes Hire a CPA bccpa.ca
LEARNING & CAREERS
WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS A LEARNING CULTURE Employee training may seem like a daunting investment, but the knowledge gained by your employees can supercharge your business and boost productivity. BY LAURA BROUGHAM
ne way to set your business apart from competitors and boost your market performance is to create a culture of fully trained and knowledgeable people. In fact, Bersin, a human resources research firm, found that businesses who nurture their team’s desire to learn are at least 30 per cent more likely to be market leaders in their industries over an extended period of time. A learning culture can only happen if you encourage and support your employees to learn in the workplace. While embarking on that mission may seem overwhelming at first, here are some great reasons to do it.
Better Morale, Less Supervision Studies have shown investing in employee training can result in higher productivity, improved morale and an employee base that needs less oversight. Employees themselves have also indicated a willingness to learn. LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning & Development report found 74 per cent of 50 DOUGLAS
employees surveyed said they want to use spare time at work to learn.
employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. Christopher Pappas, founder of eLearning Higher Profits and More Incentive Industry, a knowledge-sharing platform, noted Some studies even indicate training employees in an article for an Innovation Enterprise results in higher profits. A 2017 study by Gallup, publication that “employees who feel valued at an analytics and advice firm, found employers the workplace don’t switch employers for trivial who invested in training employees saw profits stuff.” In fact, the opposite effect may happen increase between 14 and 29 per cent. when training is lacking. “Engaged employees are more present and Cameron Bishop, CEO and president of productive; they are more SkillPath, wrote for attuned to the needs Forbes magazine that of customers; and they BUSINESSES WHO INVEST “employees want to are more observant of work for organizations IN TEAM LEARNING ARE processes, standards and that provide personal 30% MORE LIKELY TO BE systems,” according to and professional MARKET LEADERS. the Gallup State of the development, and they Global Workplace report. consider it a deciding Often, employers factor when looking for worry investing in employee training will result new employment or determining if they should in higher turnover should employees choose to stay with their current employer.” use their newly gained knowledge to get another Whether you start with a few web courses or job. But LinkedIn’s 2019 Workplace Learning a full-scale training program, this is a sure-fire & Development report found 94 per cent of culture boost for your workplace.
“Experiences in service have made me a better person for sure and have really opened my heart. I think the thing that was the most powerful were the early morning Victoria trips. We would leave the flagpole at 5 am with Mr. Dukelow to give cookies and coffee to those in need downtown with a community group. We would help wake up those that had slept on the streets the night before with something warm to eat and drink. Being outside at that time was freezing and damp and to think that we got to go back into a warm and cozy car after only a few minutes outside, when those outside weren’t able to, really opened my eyes. Seeing Victoria from that angle makes me really grateful for what I have.” Lauren, class of 2019 (Jasper, AB)
“I got into robotics because I have always been interested in science and math. When I heard that Shawnigan had a robotics program, I decided to come here, and I knew that this was the place that I wanted to be. “My first year I built a robot that was known as the ‘Axel Bender 9000’ because it would break and bend the axels every time I moved the arm back and forth. The important thing is that you learn from making all these mistakes. “The essence of robotics is trial and error. About 80 per cent of my time in the lab is spent fixing and trying to figure out what I did wrong. You will never get it right the first time, but the payoff of making all those mistakes and eventually being able to fix them is very rewarding and makes all the long hours worth it.” Josh, class of 2019 (Shawnigan Lake, BC)
I have more opportunities to reach my full potential because of being here.
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“My mother came from Deline, a very small community up north. Her opportunities were limited because Deline is very remote, and all they had access to were the resources around them. My experience as a girl today is very different from that of my mother’s. My possibilities are greater because of being at Shawnigan. Being around so many people from so many different places really helps to expand your perspective. There are also many activities offered here, from sport to fine art, and so many different classes compared to what it was like for my mom when she was growing up. I have more opportunities to reach my full potential because of being here.” Jasmine, class of 2021 (Norman Wells, NWT)
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From Design Sprints to Lightning Decision jams and Design Thinking, Douglas explores the methods world-leading businesses are using to find and work their innovative edge. BY A L E X VA N TO L
n the digital age, the business cycle for products and services has collapsed significantly and that has led to an incredible — and disruptive — compression of the innovation cycle. Organizations now need to innovate at a higher and faster rate than was previously required — Amazon being 52 52 DOUGLAS
an extreme example, where new features or code are released to the company’s sites every 11 seconds. This compressed rate of cycling leads to a perpetual state of change and innovation for a lot of organizations. Change is something to fear. Or it’s something to figure out. You pick.
Blocks to Innovation Interested in a few tools to get your organization dreaming big? Let’s begin with a quick examination of the habits of thinking that might be standing in your way: Organizational cultures that punish failure. We see this mostly in big bureaucratic organizations, where a project passes through many hands on its way to completion. Nobody wants to be associated with a flop, so people take fewer risks. For example, the public (and the media) keeps such a close eye on government processes that many public servants feel much less at liberty than those in private enterprise to experiment with ways to make things better. (To be fair, the B.C. government does have an innovation lab where it’s experimenting with digitization to provide better services.)
Mindset. Creativity arises from a willingness to question the way things have always been done, to poke the dragon, to approach something from a fresh perspective. A mindset that welcomes uncertainty and ambiguity allows for opportunities to come up with solutions. The innovative mindset is not typically rooted in a company’s foundational culture and can be difficult to introduce, especially in organizations that fear failure or value incremental innovation over radical or disruptive innovation.
Perceived cost. We’ve all got a lot of things to get done at work, so taking time away from operations to explore a non-urgent, speculative process creates fear that the time might not be worth it. “There is an inherent risk that sometimes isn’t rewarded because of the non-linear kind of feedback cycle around innovation,” says Mack Adams, agile management consultant and cofounder of Alluvial Consulting.
Unquestioned beliefs. We’re surrounded with what Watershed Partners CEO Tyl van Toorn calls “layers of institutional legacy that we completely take for granted as not being able to be changed.” This includes rules, laws, norms, customs, protocols. Pretty much everything humans have ever created has been according to someone’s idea of how it should be done. Heard the story about the cook who cut both ends off her roast before putting it into the oven because that’s what her grandma did. What she didn’t know was that her grandma did so because otherwise the roast wouldn’t fit into her small pan. Our conversations and actions are moored in existing notions of logic. Step over that wall of existing logic and you are free to change things.
Ways to Move Forward Engagement Before Innovation There’s an ongoing argument about who really said “culture eats strategy for breakfast” (most attribute it to Peter Drucker), but no one argues the truth of the statement. From armies to families to business units, you can have the best operational ideas, but you’re only as good as your people. So if your focus is on a product and you haven’t first developed your culture, you’ve fundamentally failed the first point of order, which is: People are the product. “Your ability to develop products — and develop products that are relevant to society — is completely premised on the internal health of your organization,” says van Toorn, whose Victoriabased consultancy works with the UN ecosystem, moving world governments toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Teamwork is key to mastering radical
innovation. The people who make up your team are an untapped resource for ideas that can transform your industry. Yet if they’re stuck in rigid roles — or worse, don’t feel comfortable sharing ideas — those ideas will remain blocked. See if you can find ways to support creativity and experimentation at every level of your organization. Ideas shouldn’t just come from the top. Invite staff to give input at all times. Embrace Design Thinking Design thinking is a buzz phrase, but it’s more than trendy — it’s a valuable method of creative problem solving long used by designers. “It’s very much a holistic approach to problem solving where you don’t lock in too early on a problem definition, but you go round several trial attempts to solve it before you actually decide what the problem is,” says David Dunne,
69% OF CANADIAN EMPLOYEES FEEL THEY CAN EASILY AND FREELY EXPRESS AND SHARE IDEAS STEELCASE ENGAGEMENT IN THE GLOBAL WORKPLACE REPORT 2016
Keep Innovation Alive
Cut red tape processes that may be stifling innovation. Ask employees what blocks them.
Unmix your messages: Don’t encourage risk on one hand and punish it on the other.
Encourage naysayers to hold back on dismissing ideas until the concepts are fully explained.
L-R: Bill Reid, Adam Taylor, Elizabeth Vannan, Jim Cameron, Sanci Solbakken, Steve Wellburn
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professor and director of MBA programs at UVic’s Gustavson School of Business. Design thinking involves trying to understand the problem by framing and reframing it, paying careful attention to how you’re defining the problem to begin with. This problem-definition stage typically takes up the most time. Once the problem is understood, the work is to get a deep understanding of who is affected by the problem. Then it’s time for rapid prototyping — quickly making an artifact or simulating an experience to get a read on whether it’ll work. Lightning Decision Jam and Design Sprint These methods share an end goal of leveraging creative thinking and maximizing organizational efficiency. The Lightning Decision Jam, developed by AJ&Smart, a product design-sprint agency in Berlin and San Francisco, is a process involving your team, over a few days in a solid problem-solution sequence. Mural, a company that builds tech products to increase creativity and scale innovation, has a walk-through of the process on their website at mural. The Jam can help your team find its direction more quickly. Design Sprint, which is used by Google, Nike, LEGO and Facebook, as well as in industries ranging from medical research to real estate, is a multi-day process (typically five days) where team members gather to understand the problem, ideate, make a decision about which idea(s) to test, and then prototype before testing the idea with an audience. Both Design Sprints and Lightning Decision Jams have their roots in design thinking, and both can be brought to your organization by a range of local experts. For DIYers, you can learn a lot more about each online, to test whether it would work in your organization. Google also has an open-source design sprint kit online that’ll guide you through the process. Just Google it! Face-to-Face For Good Ideas The idea that face-to-face is best flows from the engagement piece above. Innovative ideas weaken the farther they travel from the point of creation. When the idea is passed along the chain without those people also having a clear understanding of the idea’s value, the power of that innovation fizzles. That’s why iterating — or implementing — via email is a death sentence for innovation.
Our best thinking is done in a room, analog, with each other. Being able to get three months of work done in three days requires an in-person commitment, says van Toorn. Find ways to connect people face to face for high-magnitude, lowfrequency work, where the key players are in the room, focused solely on one issue for a short burst of time. But what we typically find in organizations is the reverse: high-frequency, low-magnitude communication. “We send emails to each other,” says van Toorn. “If [collaboration] is done in the way it’s currently being done, we’re not really moving the needle. We have not improved trust. We have huge [societal] problems that we’re not allowing ourselves to solve — we rely too much on old processes to solve new problems.” Nurture a Mindset of Experimentation Accept that innovation is not a linear process, so carve out time for experimentation. If your team is 100per-cent-busy doing operational work or executing tactical short-term things, you will not have the kind of slack in the system to discover new ideas and approaches. The experimental mindset is a key attribute of organizations that can innovate. Be willing to try things and experiment, then invest in some of those things in a sensible fashion. Help your team work toward having rich conversations about ideas. “If we want people to show up with whatever their expertise is, whatever their materials are, that’s basically being open to conversation in a non-confrontational fashion,” Mack Adams says. “I always talk about these workshops as containers for highquality conversations with a shared understanding. And that’s really where the good stuff starts to come out.” Next Steps If you’ve got the engagement piece down and your team shares a vision and a context, you can foster healthy debates about what’s the best approach, or why or which features may or may not be more or less important to your organization. As Adams says: “It’s getting a team aligned around that shared understanding so that they can move in a cohesive fashion toward whatever their destination may be.”
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LEGO, Improv and the Myth of Creativity Want to encourage creativity in your organization? Don’t forget your toolkit — and your rulebook — or you might just end up with chaos.
fun, where calm reigned and creativity flourished. LEGO’s Master Builder workshop created large-scale models for retailers and theme parks. These guys were having a ball building 12-foot Empire State Buildings, life-size Darth Vaders and, eventually, a larger than life-size X-Wing Fighter, made of 5.3 million pieces. These things took them months to plan and sometimes years to build.
JEFFREY BOSDET/DOUGLAS MAGAZINE
he biggest revelation I ever had about creativity and corporate performance occurred on a bright winter’s day in 2002. It happened at exactly the kind of company you would expect. But it happened for the exact opposite reason you might think. That company was LEGO, the world’s most beloved toy company and perennial “World’s Most Respected Brand.” The location was the company’s Connecticutbased U.S. headquarters where my partners and I had been hired by the president to support an ambitious change mandate. Most days I left their offices with a bag of LEGO for my kids, the best fringe benefit of any consulting gig I ever had. And yet ... I was sad. Not because the company was struggling (we knew that going in). Not because their finance team was camped outside a courthouse trying to get paid by the newly bankrupt Kmart (they were). And not because ours seemed like an impossible assignment (indeed, within 18 months we were gone). I was sad because the company whose name comes from the Danish phrase “leg godt” (“play well”) was surprisingly low on creativity. People seemed paralyzed and unable to tap the very DNA that allowed kids to build amazing worlds with just coloured bricks. Moreover, things were chaotic. Theme parks, licensing deals, TV shows and video games
A lesson from LEGO: Boundaries and structure can nurture innovation.
took resources away from the core brick business. LEGO’s biggest retail customers were randomly shortchanged product. The president, a brilliant young Canadian, had been brought in to bridge the divide between the
Danish owners and U.S. sales teams. This frenzied international peace-keeping assignment was wearing down his immense talent and energy. And yet there was still one place on the LEGO campus that seemed
HOW INNOVATION THRIVES At LEGO’s Master Builder Workshop, I was reminded of a counterintuitive truth: Creativity does not thrive in chaos (and certainly not for very long). It requires instructions to get started. It takes time, focus and patience. It takes rules and tools. Over the years, I’ve asked business leaders whom I admire how they get their teams thinking and acting creatively to get them into new markets — or out of serious jams. None of them has ever said, “Freeform, all-day brainstorming with an extra shot of chaos and stress”. All of them have tools — and, yes, rules — that they rely upon to spark those precious moments where creativity causes the innovation that drives value. And most of them agree that applying certain tools allows them to adhere to their most important rule of all: For creativity to really thrive in teams, leaders need to talk less and listen more.
Here are some tools to try out in your organization, along with a few rules to keep in mind:
Identify the problem: What needs to be solved by the end of the meeting?
RED TEAM/BLUE TEAM assigns two teams: One to promote/defend an idea and one to attack/defeat it. Both teams can — and should — be made up of believers and non-believers.
Reverse the usual process: Instead of “How can we avoid/solve the problem?” ask “How can we cause it/make it worse?”
This exercise liberates people to think objectively and creatively about why something will or won’t work.
REVERSE BRAINSTORMING works like traditional brainstorming … with a twist:
Collect all the ideas as you would in a normal brainstorm (i.e. no judgment) Reverse the ideas into solutions for the original problem. Evaluate the results to reach one best solution or attributes. This exercise builds on our natural instinct to more easily see problems than solutions.
S.C.A.M.P.E.R. ignites creativity by questioning ideas from different angles: Substitute: What would happen if we swapped X for Y? Combine: What would happen if we combined X and Y? Adapt: What changes would need to be made to adapt this to a different context? Modify/Magnify/Minify: What could we modify/magnify/minify to create more value? Put to another use: What other uses or applications are there? Eliminate: What could be removed to simplify it? Reverse/Rearrange: What would happen if we looked at it backwards? This exercise challenges status quo thinking to explore new possibilities.
A FINAL THOUGHT ON RULES I’ve long been fascinated by improv comedy. Only recently did I come to understand that what seems like spontaneous creativity among people fighting for laughs onstage with zero prep time is, in fact, only possible because the exact opposite is happening. Improv is not about getting the last laugh — it’s about setting up the next laugh for your partner. It requires years of practice to be even marginally good. And improv is carefully governed by rules. The first rule is “Say Yes.” The second rule of improv is “Say Yes AND…” Disney’s version of this is a rule called “Plussing”: Focus on doing something well, then ask how do we make it better.
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THE SAMOAN CIRCLE is used for difficult conversations or ones where certain individuals might dominate discussion (both of which stifle creativity). Chairs are arranged in a concentric circle: place four chairs in the middle facing each other and the remaining chairs in an outer circle. There is no moderator. Those most interested in speaking to the topic take an inner seat to engage with questions or comments, then vacate their chair. Anyone wishing to speak next can take an empty inner chair or stand behind one to indicate their desire to speak. This exercise clarifies roles to liberate creative thinking, active listening and purposeful speaking. THE DISNEY METHOD comes from the idea that Walt Disney wore three hats when he worked: The Creative (what can we imagine?), the Planner (how do we get it done?) and the Critic (why won’t this work?). Apparently, he would even dress and act the parts so people knew. This exercise protects our fragile “Inner Creative” from our aggressive “Inner Critic.” (And dressing the part sure can’t hurt.)
WHERE’S YOUR LEGO? In the end, LEGO eventually got back to recordprofits by recommitting to business discipline, adhering to core creative rules and only adding things that fit both. As CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said, LEGO bricks are themselves governed by physical rules, “which creates a system that you can be endlessly creative in.” (And if all else fails, it’s never a bad idea to break out the LEGO at the office.) Jim Hayhurst is a trusted advisor to purpose driven organizations and leaders. He is currently active in six companies and social impact projects that elevate Victoria’s reputation as a hub of innovation, collaboration and big thinking.
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BY ALEX VAN TOL
Set Your Course With a Strategic Plan You might have a great vision, but if your organization doesn’t have a strategic plan, you’re bound to go off course.
n the last issue of Douglas, I wrote about how to set your business vision — a statement of what your organization uniquely delivers and how that offering impacts the world. It’s your why. Your vision anchors your strategic plan, which outlines the steps your organization will take in achieving that vision. Once you’ve got your vision ironed out, it’s time to bite into the strategic plan — this is your how. This plan is the marriage of your mission, vision, core values and long-term goals. It helps you set a course and achieve alignment. It’s easy to get your head around what a strategic plan is if you think of your organization as a sailboat: the strategic plan is the course you set to get where you want to go.
Looks beyond day-to-day thinking to the future.
Represents values, serving as a behavioural compass.
Needs to be aligned around the long-term goals.
Outlines the steps to achieve your vision.
Without Culture, Strategy Fails Staying with the sailboat analogy, you must take into consideration the condition of your crew. You can have the most dashing and capable boat on the sea, but without people who are in alignment about how to sail the thing, your course doesn’t matter because you’re not going anywhere. Once you set the direction of where you want to be as an organization three or five years from now, ask yourself what culture you’re going to create, so that the journey is more enjoyable, you get there more efficiently and there’s no mutiny. Hopefully, in establishing your values, mission and vision, you’ve already taken the pulse of your organization by bringing people together to ask what they think is significant about the work they do. “It’s the whole notion of ‘bought in’ versus ‘brought in,’” says Roy Group CEO Todd Walsh. “There’s so much wisdom in taking the time to ask, instead of buggering off with a five iron and a flip chart and coming back and dumping something on your employees.” 58 DOUGLAS
Do All Organizations Need It? Yup. Unless you’re operating in an area with unlimited demand and a recession-proof supply line, there has to be a strategy. A strategic plan creates a framework for hanging goals on, for articulating the things you’ll use to measure outcomes and for ensuring every action your organization takes is in support of your mission and vision. Strategic planning is often the furthest thing from the minds of startup founders, in part because the people at the core of a new venture are often of like mind, with similar values and an inexhaustible energy supply. As with the first year of a new relationship, though, that oxytocin-soaked haze of desire doesn’t last — nor is it any good in creating structure for growth. A strategic plan can save your skin and keep you from running aground when problems pop up, such as when a customer calls with an
order that’s shockingly out of proportion to your production capacity and you need to quickly bring onboard new team members to handle the growing workload.
Can I Create My Own Strategic Plan? Absolutely! In that bible of business growth called Scaling Up, author Verne Harnish shows you how to create your strategic plan. But ask yourself: To what degree will I, as the leader of this organization, get in the way of this process? It’s not uncommon for an organization to draw up its own strategic plan — and end up with the boss’s fingerprints all over it. Kind of like writing your own report card or buying a “skinny” mirror: easy but ultimately ineffective. Your chief goal in the planning process is to create a setting where people feel that they can be honest and open. A neutral third party removes the CEO from being the final arbiter and can hold the leader accountable in a way
team members may not feel comfortable with. Ask yourself whether someone other than you would be the best person to facilitate and lead your team through the process. Yes, there’s a cost associated with hiring a consultant to help you create a strategic plan; however, there’s also a real range in prices. Ask around: Victoria is a word-of-mouth city so look for those organizations whose sailboats are sailing smooth and swiftly and get the names of their consultants.
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Smooth Sailing With your course set, your crew focused on a common goal and supported by a positive culture, you are ready to set sail. Yes, there will be storms, but there’s no question anymore about where you are going. Now you just need to focus on getting there. Alex Van Tol works with organizations to shape and communicate their brand stories. From real estate to tech, she uncovers what makes organizations tick — and what can help them grow.
Resources to Get You There Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne tackles strategic planning from a different angle. Based on the metaphor of not competing for profits in the same bloody shark-infested water where everybody else is, this book guides you on finding the outer waters, where you can create untapped, new market space for growth. Harvard Business Review publishes a compilation of articles called 10 Must Reads on Strategy. Handselected from hundreds of HBR articles on strategy, these 10 articles cover everything from which strategy actually works to how to build a vision, make better decisions and execute effectively. Verne Harnish’s book Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It … And Why the Rest Don’t is the gold standard for organizations that want to get … organized. Textbook-like in its density, it’s an interesting read with loads of examples. Harnish’s template, which offers metrics for strategy, execution, people and cash, is peerless. Over 40,000 organizations worldwide — including Victoria’s own First Light Technologies and WildPlay Element Parks — use Harnish’s One-Page Strategic Plan as a quick way for team members to reference their sailboat’s course.
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BY CLEMENS RETTICH
Why Creativity is Crucial to Business Growth
Brett Viberg and Guy Ferguson of Viberg Boot, a Victoria-based family business launched in 1931. Creativity and managing change have been key to the company’s success for almost 90 years.
Too often, business owners think creativity is only mandatory in businesses full of artists and designers. But our columnist argues it’s essential for growth in any business.
hen many of us think about creativity in workplaces, we think of places like Victoria multidisciplinary design firm Studio Robazzo where creativity is the whole point. But as valuable (and as cool) as businesses like Robazzo are, to align our mental model of creativity with them poses a risk: We might miss the point of creativity in our own organizations. Creativity isn’t the exclusive domain of creative industries. At its core, it’s a fundamental part of what we do (or should do) every day in every kind of business. Creativity is the only fuel of change. Avoiding it just because you’re not a so-called creative business is like thinking, “Money is what the banks do. I don’t need to worry about money.” Creativity and cash each play important and central roles in change, improvement and growth. Creativity is no more of a “nice to have” element than cash.
A Necessary Foundation When a material handler in a distribution business designs a new wedge to prevent expensive piping from rolling off the forks of a forklift, she’s being creative. When a clothing retailer finds a way to track the performance of print ads by split-testing product images in two different publications and tracking the images customers refer to, he’s being creative. Anyone who is improving or transforming any aspect of a business, no matter how mundane the process, is being creative. The entire change and improvement is only possible because of human creativity. A first step in organizational performance is to understand how foundational, and in some ironic sense, mundane creativity is. When we realize how necessary and basic creativity is, we can better benefit from it in our organizations. 60 DOUGLAS
Nurture Change If misunderstanding what creativity is and how it connects with business is a primary roadblock, what else gets in the way? The answer is culture. And the main aspect of culture is safety, or the lack of it. Psychological safety in an organization is built from many different inputs, large and small. But the most important are safety to tell the truth and safety to take risks. The other day, a newly-minted executive in a manufacturing organization told me he had been asking questions about a new endeavour to which the more seasoned executives in the organization had committed. He was comfortable with the direction, but he still wanted to understand the objectives so he would know how to play a role in supporting them. Yet when he started asking questions, he was shut down and told that asking questions, given that the decision had already been made, was inappropriate and it was suggested he was not a team player. This is exactly how organizations fly their planes into mountain sides. No one bothers to speak up, even when many on the team can plainly see the danger ahead. When people don’t feel safe, they don’t take chances, they don’t ask questions, they don’t tell the truth.
The creativity that drives improvement and growth requires people to feel safe. We need to hear the truth to know which areas of our businesses would benefit from improvement. A culture of sweeping things under the rug is one where change never has a chance. We don’t know what to improve in organizations when our people hide the problems.
Encourage Risk We also can’t benefit from creativity when our people won’t risk trying something new and failing. Creativity, by definition, is a risky activity. It’s all about creating something that never existed before, or changing something to behave in a way it has never behaved before. It’s being in a place where no one has been before. There are no guarantees and the risk of failure is high. Even if we know what to improve, the chances taken to attack those improvements creatively will feel too risky if people are punished at the first — and
every — sign of failure. Failure must be an option. Here are some things you can put in place to ensure your organization’s culture supports its growth through the creativity of its people: Go beyond whistle-blower. Any organization with employees should have a whistle-blower process in place. But we have to go further. The safety to ask respectful questions, to question the status quo, to ask leaders and managers to explain the why of a decision, should be OK. And we have to tell people it’s OK. We may even need training in problem-solving, asking questions or active listening. After all, telling the truth can be sketchy territory, and we can’t assume everyone comes equally equipped to navigate it. Manage change. Effective change management reduces the likelihood someone has to question a decision that’s already been made, because good change management is collaborative out of the gate. It works hard to understand the stakeholder map, the impacts of a change on people and what good communication looks like. Collaboration increases people’s feelings of safety. Mentor creativity. A formal mentorship process that supports and teaches the sequence of visualizing possibilities, understanding what’s shaping the current state, and how to get from here to there, creates a framework inside which people feel supported in taking creative risks.
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Creativity isn’t the exclusive domain of creative industries.
AL’S BUSINESS TIP FOR SUCCESS
Too often I hear talk about “motivating our people.” We can’t motivate others — people motivate themselves, driven by their own sense of purpose and belonging. Our job as leaders is to create the conditions that support people’s self-motivation. The same goes for creativity. We can’t make people creative. As leaders, our job is to design and create environments where it’s safe to take creative risks. Our energies are not limitless. We can put them into protecting ourselves — or we can be creative. The former will always rob from the latter. Successful organizations ensure safe environments. In them, people can do the work of understanding, exploring, testing and risking the failure that comes with trying something new. Without those things, growth is not possible. Clemens Rettich is a business consultant with Grant Thornton LLP. He has an MBA from Royal Roads University and has spent 25 years practicing the art of management.
“It’s human nature to panic when unexpected events pop up. As a manager, you are entitled to take your time and think before you respond.” Al Hasham, President of Maximum Express
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Since launching in 2016, the Victoria Caledonian Distillery has made a splash in the whisky world. “We’ve already collected one of the most prestigious world whisky awards out of London,” says Graeme Macaloney, founder, president and whisky maker at Victoria Caledonian Distillery. “The spirits we distill here on Vancouver Island actually won the World Whisky Awards’ Best Canadian New Make.” The distillery makes a traditional Scottish whisky using large copper stills brought in from Speyside in Scotland. “It’s really Scotch whisky made in Canada, so we have to call it a Canadian single malt whisky,” Macaloney says. “We’re launching our Glenloy Classic Single Malt Whisky in [February]. Our plans are to ramp up production so that we can eventually ship to over 25 countries around the world.”
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Douglas February/March 2020 : The Creative Thinking issue