Cultivating Homefulness

Cultivating Homefulness

“Placemaking” was the official topic of the week-long retreat that has just come to a gentle close. But the phrase has never felt quite right.  Volker Hann, the host of 6-acre Wasan Island where we gathered, hinted at the inadequacy of the term: “Am...
The Social Labs Revolution

The Social Labs Revolution

I spent a nourishing day recently learning about social labs — an extended process to solve complex challenges by gathering diverse stakeholders in an alternating rhythm of meetings and on-the-ground prototyping. In one example, a lab to accelerate the adoption of...
Lessons from Amsterdam

Lessons from Amsterdam

Stepping out of the train station in the center of Amsterdam, I was immediately struck by the way the city flows.  “It’s orderly… but organic,” was the thought that came to mind.  There are three times as many bicycles on the road as cars (three times!), and...
Smart Cities, Living Cities

Smart Cities, Living Cities

I spoke last week at Webcom, a Montreal-based conference about “smart cities” – meaning, those that are connected, informed and creative thanks to digital technology.  The message I shared was that cities are “smartest” when they operate...
Lessons from the Jam

Lessons from the Jam

5 hosts.  6 teams.  35 other cities participating.  48 hours to “rock the public sector.” Those were the key stats of GovJam Montreal, a global event in which local teams applied the tools of “service design” to conceive and develop viable projects that transform some...
The Power of Place

The Power of Place

Thrivability Montreal.  Thursday, February 21, 2013.  There are fifty of us gathered to explore what we’ve called The Power of Place.  More wanted to come, but the room couldn’t accommodate it.  We should’ve known it would be like this.  So many of us quietly hunger...