Vancouver’s PechaKucha on Sustainability

City of Vancouver is starting a conversation on sustainability, this is from their website.

Last night, the City of Vancouver launched a conversation on sustainability with an evening of PechaKucha.  This is a group- chit-chat on a design topic where people have 20 seconds for 20 slides over the course of six and half minutes.  I wasn’t sure what to expect in the 2000+ packed theatre but it was indeed an evening of inspiring stories and thought.

In terms of a process for engagement the room was too big for group interaction so conversations are expected to happen on line after the event.  However,  I do think (and have heard) that in smaller settings, this can be a great format for stimulating real time innovations.   In a venue where interaction could take place, the presenters could share their greatness, stimulate people to act, AND ALSO seek feedback on their projects, figure out new ways forward together and hence collaborate and group-think on the future of design and ideas throughout the evening.  This could also be a useful format in the workplace for stimulating new design theories or generating new projects.  Donors could use the method to get ideas around project funding.  It could also be a great way for staff to report out on what is happening around a company in different divisions.  The qualifier is that people need to put effort and thought into their presentations to ensure they are interesting and snappy.

The presenters with the most impact last night told stories, built up their messaging, and included simple concepts with repetition.  I really liked those that helped us imagine the future (rather than only think about the past/present) and provided a place for us, the audience, to imagine ourselves in that new future.  These are worthwhile tips for anyone that goes out to present ideas to an audience.

So what interesting tidbits did I get out of last night’s chit-chat?  Here is a smattering of fragments that stuck with me:

  • Think about our city and our world as a living laboratory
  • Vancouver has the greenest building code in North America
  • Human power is inspiring
  • Contention is okay, difference is a point of negotiation
  • Take things apart and put them together in new ways
  • We have islands of sustainability in the swamps of business as usual
  • Flash mob potlucks with secret locations and celebrations of food
  • Stories are the best way to share, engage and help people to remember
  • Change the story, change the culture
  • All scales needed – The grid (establishment), the wave (the societies, community groups), the shire (toilers of the soil)
  • Have intent
  • Step deeper into stories and culture..its not always about a lighter footprint
  • Connections provide added value, i.e. think computers as stand alone boxes and then computers working on networks and using the internet
  • Incremental change
  • Go beyond the property line to the next level of intelligence
  • Other peoples problems are my problems
  • Humour in activism
  • Eco-equity
  • Live a little, change a lot
  • The U generation (based on the U-turn), no matter your age we all have a role to play

Thanks to the hosts and presenters for a very interesting evening!

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