The Communica team comes from a diverse background with many different experiences and passions. Whether it is travel, politics, communications, public relations, social media, marketing, public policy or law… there’s no shortage of unique ideas around the boardroom table. Below you’ll find blogs on some of our ideas. What’s got you thinking?
What is Business-as-a-Service? As energy companies look at scaling their operations and starting new projects, strategic decisions around how to manage this growth will be essential for success. Forefront among decision makers should be leveraging Businesses-as-a-Service (BaaS) solutions, the successor of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Many people are familiar with the term SaaS, which became ubiquitous in how software was delivered in the early 2000’s. It involves software being accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers. No more one-time purchases of a software, but rather a lower cost solution that is scalable and provides superior results. Companies moved from operating in silos, where they were creating their own software solutions and moved towards a shared multi-tenant environment that leveraged specialized software companies. A similar revolution is coming in the form of BaaS. Continue reading on EnergyNow.com Continued
Communica is the Largest Regulatory Engagement in Western Canada Original Published on January 13, 2021 EnergyNow Media Communica is proud to announce their 20th anniversary. Over the last two decades, Communica has grown to the largest stakeholder and indigenous engagement specialist firm in Western Canada. Doug Ford speaks to attendees during one of the annual Communica boat cruises in Vancouver. On this occasion, Doug Ford, Founder, reflected on the past two decades. Continue reading on EnergyNow.com Continued
Communica is excited to announce a special lunch and learn with ESG technology startup company: GreenWorks. The term ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) is an often-used term which is quickly being adopted by organizations around the world. This lunch and learn will explore the different frameworks which organizations use to establish and then report their ESG initiatives. Questions which will be answered include: What are Frameworks? How are they different? Why do certain companies pick some over others? What are trends? Etc… Register here! This lunch and learn is part of an initiative Communica is undertaking to create internal ESGs and provide metrics to support our client’s ESG initiatives. To learn more, please contact: Chad Ford Vice President, Innovation email@example.com About GreenWorks: Greenworks is a technology company which provides a centralized ESG database to identify and manage your company’s ESG data and initiatives, as well as ESG data and initiatives within your supply chain. Learn more here. Continued
Interview with IAP2 scholarship recipient, Lindsay Brookes Communica strongly believes in the value of engaging the public and the broader mission of IAP2 to advance and extend the practice of public participation. So when IAP2 Canada approached Communica with the chance to sponsor the 2018 North American Conference, held this past September, we jumped at the opportunity. Along with other sponsors, Communica provided IAP2 Scholarships which allowed students, non-profit staff or grassroots advocates to attend the entire conference. We recently connected with Lindsay Brookes, one of nine scholarship recipients, to learn about her background and experiences at the conference. Hi Lindsay, thanks for talking with us today. How did you become one of the nine lucky people to receive the IAP2 scholarship? In order to be considered for the IAP2 scholarship, I was required to complete a written application to demonstrate why I would be a good candidate to attend the conference on scholarship. I was informed that I was successful via email by Amelia Shaw, the Executive Manager for IAP2 Canada. What did it feel like when you learned you were a recipient of the award? I was extremely excited when I learned I was one of the recipients of the award because my attendance for this conference was dependent on receiving the scholarship. Why is it important for companies to offer scholarships? It can provide opportunities for people who would not have had them otherwise. Additionally, companies that value philanthropy by not only stating they value supporting the community, but also by acting on their values, is extremely important. Lindsay Brookes, Manager of Philanthropy The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Tell us a bit about yourself. For example, where did you go to university? I completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria and more recently a Master of Public Health at UVic. I will be convocating this November! Congratulations on your upcoming convocation! It sounds like you’ve been very busy! And you’re working as well? Yes. I’m currently working for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – B.C. & Yukon Division as their Manager of Philanthropy. I have been working as a fundraiser since 2016. I’m also an alumnus of The Duke of Ed, having completed both Silver and Gold levels. What is The Duke of Edinburgh International Award? It’s experiential self-development leadership framework available for young people ages 14-24, regardless of background, circumstances or abilities. Our mission is to provide youth with opportunities to challenge themselves and develop into the best possible versions of themselves. Personal development comes from opportunities to grow and succeed in meaningful ways. As such, The Duke of Ed inspires youth to set and achieve goals in four areas: skill development, volunteering, physical recreation, and adventurous journeys in nature. There are over 15,000 young people participating in the Duke of Ed in 185 communities across BC & Yukon. We understand you also find time for volunteering? Yes. I enjoy working with people who have disabilities, playing soccer with children, teens and young adults who have developmental disabilities on a weekly basis, and as a counsellor at Operation Trackshoes, which is an annual sporting event for people with disabilities. I am also the Vice Chair of the Canadian College of Health Leaders Vancouver Island Executive. What was your impression of the IAP2 conference? Were there sessions that stood out? The conference was a great opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from across North America and I attended quite a few sessions. A few that stood out were: Changing the Conversation around School Closures I learned about the challenges faced by schools in Edmonton and balancing the demand of the number of students and school buildings that have surpassed their life cycle. I selected this session because the organization I work for, The Duke of Ed, works closely with schools and any big changes to schools impacts the work we do. For example, with the teachers strike in B.C. held a couple years ago, we lost some Award Leaders who were unable to commit to volunteering as a Duke of Ed support to their students due to workload following the strike. Including Vulnerable Populations in Public Engagement I learned about the preferences of engagement for vulnerable populations such as homeless, disabled, and youth & young adults. I attended this session because The Duke of Ed is a zero-barrier award and works closely with youth from vulnerable populations and we want to find strategies to best engage with these populations and reach out to more young people who could benefit from the Duke of Ed. Also, through my volunteer work with disabled individuals, this session was a good fit. Plenary – Panel of local/provincial and federal government representatives I enjoyed hearing about the lessons Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps learned from the recent projects she’s been involved in ranging from the Johnson St Bridge, Crystal Pool and a controversial statue. Youth Shaping Cities: Growing a Culture of civic youth engagement I learned about some barriers to youth engagement such as lack of confidence, lack of civic literacy, lack of connections, etc. This session was a fit for me as the Duke of Ed supports youth and provides the framework for them to become their best selves and develop leadership skills that will improve their confidence. A McKinsey study found that 87 per cent of Award participants felt more confident about themselves and their ability to achieve their life goals compared to the national average of only 44 per cent for youth ages 15-19. By participating in the Duke of Ed, youth will be able to contribute to a culture of civic youth engagement. What was the biggest or most impactful lesson you learned at the conference? The opening plenary highlighted the importance of being understood more than just being heard. This set the stage for the sessions that followed and it was helpful to learn about the ways to best engage vulnerable populations. Also, being aware of the barriers to youth engagement will help with address the challenges that youth are facing. In the plenary with government representatives from all levels, Mayor Lisa Helps, stressed the importance of informing the public along the way of decision-making. I think this lesson works well with other situations such as making decisions impacting vulnerable populations. People appreciate to be informed, even if they are not involved in the decision-making. What projects are you currently working on? Currently at the Duke of Ed, we will be launching our 2018 Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign to raise funds to increase awareness of the award to more young people in B.C. & Yukon and best support the 15,000 youth who are participating. What is your next career ambition? Uncertain! But as long as I am helping people, that is where my career will be! Continued
Communication and Engagement: What’s the Difference? By Jesse Yardley What’s the difference between communication and engagement? It’s an important question, the answer to which can directly impact the success of your stakeholder engagement initiative. One perspective is that communication focuses on what to say and who to say it to, while engagement is more about who to listen to and what feedback you seek to elicit. Another view is that communication is differentiated by proximity: engagement is a contact sport, while communication often happens at a distance. Andrea Di Maio, managing vice president for public sector at Gartner Research, suggests communication and engagement can even be opposites in certain cases. “In essence … an effective communication strategy is likely to be almost the exact opposite of an effective engagement strategy. The former chooses and controls channels, while the latter joins somebody else’s channels. The former determines the rules of engagement, the latter follows somebody else’s rules.” While there’s no cut and dried answer for this complex question, there are notable distinctions worth considering when developing strategies and tactics for your project. Understanding the differences between communication and engagement leads to better outcomes for both stakeholders and clients, while confusing the two can have deleterious results whereby stakeholders can become disengaged, or worse, feel ignored. Communica - Communicate and Engage Petrina Frost is a long-time public relations practitioner who has written about the differences between communication and engagement. She notes, those with misunderstanding ask, “When you engage a stakeholder, isn’t that communication? And when you send a communication to a stakeholder, isn’t that engaging them?” As Frost points out, it’s not that simple. An effective communication strategy often begins with the development of key messages, project descriptions and timelines. Next, the demographics and psychographics of the audience are investigated with communications being tailored to the audience and disseminated through a variety of means such as printed information packages, notice letters, press releases, videos, websites, social media, open houses and phone calls. Much of this communication is one-way, whether it is broadcast or narrowcast, but when dialogue ensues and the conversation becomes two-way, we now enter the intersecting space between communication and engagement. Although communication can happen without engagement, engagement cannot happen without communication. Efficacious engagement is dialogic in nature and depends upon meaningful interaction. Engagement is active, never passive. It requires the participation of both the speaker and listener. It’s about connecting, being attentive and acting in good faith. When successful, stakeholders feel heard and know their opinions matter. This is fertile ground for problem solving and collaboration. Stakeholders benefit when they can work together with project proponents. And clients benefit when stakeholders share key information that can impact a project. Certainly, communication and engagement overlap and, in many ways, complement each other. Companies that prioritize effective communication, follow-ups and genuine engagement will see stakeholders become more involved and more co-operative. That’s good for everyone. Continued
Communica on the move – part 2 By Sarah Bartlett In case you haven’t heard the news, Communica has moved! On July 20, Communica packed up its Calgary office in the Beltline and moved into The Edison located on 150 Ninth Ave. S.W. The newly modernized building provided the ideal opportunity for Communica to move closer to the city’s downtown core and its clients. The 14th floor entrance. Plenty of hard work went into making the move happen. Notably, Communica’s COO Myles Nelson and Network Operations Manager Victor Yan worked tirelessly through the weekend to ensure the staff at Communica were able to begin work the following Monday without any disruptions. Senior Advisor Eileen McCord provided employees with regular updates throughout the move, ensuring Communica’s staff were well informed. Designers from MAKE Design Lab played a significant role in planning and designing Communica’s new office space. MAKE Design Lab’s Founding Partners Andrea Freeman and Dorian Zubko led a team of designers in planning the contemporary, yet practical office space for Communica. “We want the space to work well for the client and for the people that use it,” says MAKE Design Lab’s Associate Partner Luanne Cheung. “So it was very important to ask the right questions, to get all the programming information, and to create a space that is useful and functional.” Communica’s bistro. In designing the space, careful attention went into selecting finishes, lighting fixtures and furniture. The overall design of the office needed to reflect the company’s corporate brand, while being functional for the staff working within the space. As a result, MAKE Design Lab collaborated with Communica’s Marketing Manager Jesse Yardley on the final design selections. “We created a space that has excellent materials, starting with, for example, the floors, we provided polished concrete just to get a loft-look of the space,” explains MAKE Design Lab’s Design Associate Osiris Tablero. “We have a selection of wood tones, copper accents, navy blue cabinetry and solid quartz countertops.” Communica’s feature brick wall and sign. Communica’s signature brand colours and graphics have been integrated throughout the office. A brick feature wall holding Communica’s brushed metal and plexiglass signage welcomes visitors in the main reception area. Around the corner, another feature wall displays the company’s mission statement. “For all enclosed offices and meeting room areas, we provided a carpet tile that provided contrast with the rest of the space,” says Tablero. The overall office layout at Communica includes the central reception area, three break-out rooms, two boardrooms, six offices, a bistro and an open-concept space equipped with modern employee workstations. The open-concept design, where teams are integrated, encourages teamwork and dialogue amongst the different departments at Communica. “Because there’s more open-concept than offices I think it’s helpful from the perspective of collaboration,” says Communica’s COO Myles Nelson. The bistro area, located in the heart of Communica’s office, serves as a gathering area for staff to have lunch, hold social events, or grab a quick coffee. The bistro is fully stocked with beverages and even has a candy dispenser. Candy dispenser in Communica’s bistro. “I think that having the bistro from the get-go and having it incorporated into a centralized location in the space made it a place for people to meet, eat together, or talk, or even have a casual meeting in there,” says Cheung. Since the big move, the staff at Communica have been enjoying the many features The Edison has to offer. The outdoor patio, fitness centre, golf simulator and games room have been popular amongst staff members. Four-legged guests are also welcome at Communica. One of the unique features of The Edison is that it is a dog-friendly building and tenants are welcome to bring their dogs to work with them. Dog treats at The Edison’s concierge desk. On the whole, Communica’s newly designed Calgary office is a space that encourages open communication, collaboration and creativity. Continued
Empathy in action: Setting the groundwork for meaningful stakeholder engagement By Sarah Bartlett Empathy. It’s the secret to building an authentic relationship based on trust and understanding. Empathy in the context of public participation, or stakeholder engagement, includes acknowledging, respecting and taking into consideration another person’s viewpoint and input. “Public participation is a process that involves the public in problem-solving, or decision-making, and more importantly, actually uses public input to make decisions,” IAP2 Licensed Trainer Gay Robinson explains. Community hall in Brazeau County, Alta. Communica has facilitated several open houses throughout Western Canada. Robinson is the Principal Consultant of Gay Robinson Consulting. According to Robinson, meaningful stakeholder engagement requires a well thought out strategic and empathetic approach. “What constituted meaningful engagement 10 years ago, 20 years ago, still is meaningful engagement. So, what is good engagement hasn’t changed,” she says. “What has changed are people’s awareness of what it means to engage in a meaningful way, the amount of organizations that are doing engagement and the stakeholders that are demanding it.” With over 30 years of public consultation experience, Robinson is a seasoned practitioner with a deep understanding of initiating, building and sustaining successful stakeholder engagement. Successful stakeholder engagement – regardless of the particular industry or project – comes down to the fundamentals of understanding your audience, setting engagement goals, choosing the appropriate communication channels to reach your audience, and listening to your audience’s needs and concerns. Knowing your audience Understanding your audience plays an integral role in shaping the overall engagement plan and communication strategy. Namely, knowing your audience through careful research informs your strategy and consequently, your communication tactics. “You look at your communication planning: who is your audience? What do you know about your audience, your demographics, your psychographics? Where are they geographically? Then you’re also looking at the issues. What are the issues? What are people going to care about? What’s going to get people upset? What sort of risk communication might be required? Is there potential for outrage?” Robinson explains. Setting project specific goals Establishing engagement goals specifically for each project, also informs the engagement plan. “You’re wanting to make sure that the people who are going to be affected are involved in the process, which means you want to figure out who needs to be involved, how they’re going to be involved and what they’re being involved in because depending on how you develop the scope of the decision, they may be involved in a number of different things,” she says. “If you were to look at something like a sour gas field, you might be asking them where the wells should go, or you could be asking them how can we develop this field in an environmentally and socially accepted manner? So, it depends every time. That’s the trick; and that’s why a lot of effort has to go into planning your stakeholder engagement because your goals have to be specific to each project.” Choosing the appropriate communication channels Building trust with stakeholders is accomplished by initiating engagement early, developing a respectful discourse, and ultimately, collaborating with the community in making decisions. Trust is earned through transparent, informative and respectful communication. Being aware of how your audience likes to communicate and then choosing the appropriate communication tactics to reach your intended audience, is an essential step in the engagement process. “I’ve always found that with projects, every community communicates amongst themselves in different ways,” Robinson says. “One community I worked in, if you wanted people to come to your event, you put a sandwich board on the corner at a particular intersection because pretty much everyone drove through that intersection at some point during the week.” When it comes to stakeholder engagement, having a good grasp of the community calendar and how the community goes about their day-to-day lives is highly beneficial. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a big city or a small town, being where they already are is really important rather than making them make a special trip to become involved in your process,” Robinson says. “You don’t want to take away from the things that are important to the community by having your event conflict with theirs.” Listening to stakeholder’s needs and concerns Successful engagement, and more fundamentally successful communication, is also about being a good listener. That involves taking into consideration your audience’s views, opinions and concerns. Whether it’s at an open house or at the kitchen table, stakeholders want to be heard, and more importantly, they want to be understood. “If you have a client that genuinely believes that we need to do engagement and we need to do it properly, then I think that you’re going to end up with a process that is more meaningful and it gives you better results,” she explains. Researching the community, setting project specific goals, creating an engagement plan tailored to the community, listening to the community’s feedback, sets the tone not only for effective communication, but more importantly, meaningful stakeholder engagement. Continued
Five Questions: Brenda Poole Bellows shares her insights on stakeholder engagement strategies and how to foster meaningful dialogue. Brenda has over 20 years of corporate communications experience with 12 years centred on energy and utilities regulatory agencies where she provided leadership in operations, regulatory development, and communications, including advising executives on regulatory and public affairs issues. She has represented regulatory bodies in dialogues about their role with the public, environmental groups, media, international delegations, industry, and students. QUESTION 1 The success of a stakeholder engagement or Indigenous engagement initiative depends, in part, on an organization’s ability to effectively reach its audience and to foster open, honest dialogue. In your experience, what are some of the strategies you’ve used to promote meaningful two-way dialogue? It’s important to understand what the audience wants to talk about and to ensure their information needs are met. What decisions do they need to make? How are they impacted by the organization or the proposed project? What are their burning issues? For a dialogue to be meaningful, it needs to focus on people’s interests and concerns. Once that strategic piece is in place, the dialogue and all supporting materials must be in plain language that every stakeholder can understand. We cannot have good conversations if people around the table don’t understand what is being discussed. QUESTION 2 We live and work in an era when the internet and social media enable the rapid dissemination of information and opinion. This can be especially challenging when developing communications or engagement activities for a contentious project. How much has this changed the engagement landscape? Sharing and finding information via social media is now commonplace. That said, examining social media implications in isolation, without the bigger communications picture in mind, limits our ability to proactively manage risks and leverage opportunities. I prefer to incorporate social media dynamics into a broader communication and engagement analysis, focusing on transparent and relevant dialogue that supports a strong organizational reputation. Certainly, specific communications utilizing social media should take into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of the medium, but I believe the fundamental strategies and approaches of traditional communications avenues are preeminent, especially when we look through the lens of building relationships and creating mutual understanding. QUESTION 3 Stakeholders’ capacity to engage with proponents varies widely. What are some of the ways proponents can support stakeholders who are limited by time, availability or technical knowledge? It’s vital that organizations work to understand stakeholders’ questions and concerns. Then provide the right information concisely, in plain language and delivered within the appropriate context so they can see how they will be impacted by a project. QUESTION 4 The potential impacts of a project, such as noise, pollution or land degradation, are often cited by stakeholders as issues of concern. What benefits are afforded when project developers address concerns with stakeholders in good faith? When project developers invest in ongoing dialogue about a project’s impacts and how they are working to address stakeholder concerns — and then deliver on commitments — trust is built. Trusting relationships pay dividends when a developer needs stakeholder support. Key stakeholders can influence a project through regulatory processes, social media and public opinion, and general cooperation when it’s needed. The reality is that acting in good faith with stakeholders and Indigenous groups, saves time and money and can build a trustworthy reputation over the long term. QUESTION 5 Projects come in many shapes and sizes, each with its own unique complexities and challenges. Are there certain fundamental strategies and tactics that can be applied to any project? (What are they?) Absolutely. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with a particularly complicated project. The key is to keep a clear line of sight to the organization’s objectives. Work through the project details to find the path where communications and engagement can support getting a client to where it wants to be, efficiently and effectively. Continued
Q & A with Jeff Aviss By Sarah Bartlett Junior Analyst Jeff Aviss joined Communica’s Stakeholder Information Management (SIM) team in April 2018. In addition to his core abilities in information management, Jeff has an extensive background in archaeology, a keen interest in history and a passion for the outdoors. In his early career as an archaeologist, Jeff often interacted with Indigenous Peoples. With one of Communica’s core services being Indigenous engagement, Jeff’s experience brings real value to the SIM team. Q: You joined Communica in April 2018, how has your experience been so far? A: So far my experience with Communica has been excellent – I’ve been learning and developing a host of new skills and developing a unique understanding of the regulatory requirements and processes for energy projects in Canada. It’s been an exciting and rewarding experience over the past three months. I’m extremely fortunate and excited to be a part of the SIM team and Communica. Q: You’re currently working for the SIM team. Can you describe the services SIM provides? A: The SIM team is a group of highly detailed oriented and organized analysts who consistently and objectively input all records into databases and online applications that will be used to help our clients meet their regulatory requirements. The SIM team ensures the consistent, timely and factual tracking of all stakeholder engagement activities and concerns, and we will also work with our clients to identify and fill in any information gaps. Q: Can you describe the work you do as Junior Analyst? A: As a Junior Analyst the bulk of my work is reading, summarizing, and documenting consultation and engagement records in an organized and structured manner for our clients, which will eventually be used to inform and prepare their regulatory filings and applications. I’ve also had the opportunity to work on other types of projects related to stakeholder information management including completing commitment registries and generating stakeholder maps. Q: You completed your Hons. BA in Archaeology at the University of Toronto and your MPhil in Classical Archaeology at the University of Oxford. Tell us about your experiences in archaeology. A: I completed my first archaeological dig all the way back in high school, in the 11th grade, in Ontario at the Boyd Archaeological Field School. I was always interested in history, but I wanted to be outdoors and active, so I was hooked to archaeology. From there I completed my Hons. BA in Archaeology at the University of Toronto where I completed a field school in Jordan at the Tell Madaba Archaeological Field School. This experience really opened up my interest in archaeology in the Middle East and Mediterranean. After my undergraduate degree, I completed my MPhil in Classical Archaeology from the University of Oxford. While completing my masters I had the opportunity to do a research field session in conjunction with Stanford University on the Catalhoyuk Research Project in central Turkey, near Konya. At the end of that project I was able to travel around the Mediterranean and specifically throughout Greece and the Cycladic Islands, where I explored the archaeological sites and ruins of the Minoan and Mycenaeans. After my schooling I worked for engineering and environmental consulting firms as an archaeologist in southwestern Ontario and Fort St. John, B.C., where I conducted archaeological impact assessments and excavations for development projects for clients in the oil and gas, mining, utilities and renewable energy industries. My last international fieldwork was during the break-up period of 2015 where I got to work on the Sarouq al-Hadeed Archaeological Project near Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Q: You’ve conducted environmental and archaeological impact assessments for a variety of projects including transportation, utilities, mining, renewable energy, and oil and gas. Can you describe that work and why it’s necessary? A: As an archaeologist in Ontario and B.C., I worked for engineering and environmental consulting companies that would help clients complete their archaeological and environmental impact study assessments. This work was necessary to protect and preserve archaeological and cultural heritage resources from development that may negatively impact or destroy those cultural resources. The work of an archaeologist is very challenging and requires strong mental and physical strength and stamina as the field work is completed in all seasons (even in the winter when it gets down to minus -30 C in northern B.C.), rain, shine, or snow, and typically requires hiking over 10 kilometres a day with your equipment. On the plus side, not only do you get to go to some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the country, but you also get to use a variety of fun vehicles and equipment like large pickup trucks, ATVS, UTVs, and my favourite: snowmobiles. Q: You have a background working with Indigenous Peoples. What did you learn from those experiences? A: When conducting archaeological and environmental assessments, I would work closely with Indigenous groups and representatives whose territorial lands the project was located within. We would carefully listen and document the Indigenous representatives’ concerns or issues, while also working together to help discover and protect the archaeological and cultural heritage of the area. Some of my favourite experiences working with Indigenous Peoples was learning about their cultural, historical, and spiritual connections to the land which in the context of conducting our archaeological surveys helped us tremendously in helping discover and then protect archaeological sites. Q: What are some of the things you’re looking forward to with your role now at Communica? A: I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and to continue to develop a better and deeper understanding of the various regulatory requirements for energy projects across Canada. We’re happy to have Jeff onboard as part of the SIM team at Communica! To learn more about Communica’s talented roster of knowledgeable, creative and skilled team members, check out Communica’s team page. Continued
Communica on the move – part 1 By Sarah Bartlett “We have an interesting design for you guys,” says MAKE Design Lab’s Design Associate Osiris Tablero. Osiris is a design associate with MAKE Design Lab, a Calgary-based design firm that has been busy helping Communica develop its new, modern office space. The Edison lobby. By mid-July 2018, Communica will be packing up and moving to the 14th floor of The Edison, located at 150 Ninth Ave. S.W. The Edison building recently underwent a major renovation that modernized and enhanced the design of the building. Moving into the downtown core is an exciting opportunity for Communica. Since 2011, the company has called Victoria Park home, but in August Communica’s current office, located in the Legacy Building on 12th Avenue, will be cleared, making way for a new property development. Organizing the move has been a group effort. Communica assembled a moving team to help with the planning and logistics of the move, which has included everything from setting up new phone systems, to selecting plants for the new office. Finding the perfect office has also been an intensive process. After scouting out numerous office spaces and weighing the pros and cons of each, The Edison stood out as the best option for Communica. “We looked at seventeen different office spaces. What we liked about The Edison was its proximity to our clients,” says Communica’s COO Myles Nelson. “In terms of amenities it’s really good. They’ve got lots of opportunities for people to collaborate and spaces for people to do that in.” Construction on the 14th floor at The Edison. The building, owned by Aspen Properties, offers unique tenant amenities such as a basketball court, golf-simulator, dog-friendly patio space and bike share program. The Edison also has a cozy sitting area with a fireplace in the downstairs lobby of the building. “We just want to give our staff more flexibility,” says Communica’s Network Operations Manager Victor Yan. “For example, the new Edison building has some open areas downstairs where people can actually hang-out and work there.” Once the location was chosen, the team at Communica began working with the floor plan sorting out a myriad of issues from desk configurations to onsite storage. The new office provides Communica an exciting opportunity to start from scratch and tailor the space to match the company’s needs and work culture. “The space overall is very nice. It also allowed us to build our space to our design because it’s just a blank canvas right now, whereas most of the spaces we went and looked at were pre-existing in terms of layout, so we were a little limited in terms of what we could do,” says Myles. “So, it just gives us a bit more freedom to set up the office the way we want.” The 14th floor before construction. The new office space was designed with the intention of maximizing the potential for creativity and collaboration. Examples of these considerations can be found in the design of the bistro area – where staff can socialize over coffee and lunch – as well as the open-concept workspace, where Communica’s team of stakeholder engagement advisors and information management analysts work side by side. “We focus not only on the design aesthetics of the space, but the user experience as well and how a person engages and uses a space,” MAKE Design Lab Associate Partner Luanne Cheung explains. “So, from the get-go we want to make sure that the space works for the end user,” Luanne says. “If it doesn’t work for you, we feel that is a failure because we want a space that ties into what your company’s needs are, and how you function and how you do work inside.” Communica’s Marketing Manager Jesse Yardley has also been working with MAKE Design Lab incorporating Communica’s brand identity into the space through a combination of material selections, decaling and colour treatments. This will be augmented by feature walls, artworks and signage throughout the space. Much work is still to come. Construction is underway and the space is beginning to take shape. “We want to create a space where people feel welcome,” says Osiris. We couldn’t agree more! Check out our next blog post: Communica on the Move – Part Two, to learn more about Communica’s final office space design. Continued
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