Lived experience is the best education.
For over 10 years, I have been experimenting and collaborating at the intersection of design, emerging technology, and social science. Before that, I spent nearly a decade sharpening my design sensibility in Tokyo and suburban Japan. I am currently carving a new path in (embodied) systemic coaching and co-creative workshop facilitation. Bringing in past experience, coupled with new knowledge, I apply a combination of design methodologies and awareness-based techniques to support individuals, teams, and/or organizations to be more mindful and conscious of their thoughts and actions as they navigate complexities and uncertainties.
Creative collaboration and innovation: In 2015 I took a leap of faith and transported myself to Berlin. I landed a job at Zalando – a leading online platform in Europe. I was brought into the company to help start a Tech Innovation Lab. In a small team environment, we developed and facilitated customized human-centered design workshops, established a maker culture, and launched the company's intrapreneurial program. A year and a half later, I switched to the Creative Department to lead and ideate creative projects that focused on experimenting with emerging technologies. Our first collaborative experiment with Google earned industry recognition and a Webby Award.
Leadership by design: Innovation begins with people. All the design toolkits and methodologies around the world won't help much if the people lack the right attitude and mindset. The key is to first observe, understand your people's strength and potential, then create a psychologically safe environment to foster a culture of curiosity and experimentation.
Holistic brand experience: Digital tools are meant to help brands speed up the process of community building. To optimize customer experience and gain a better understanding of what drives behavior change, companies need to leverage new technologies to bridge the physical and digital gap. Bringing in over a decade of experience in event management and production, combined with expertise in digital product innovation, creative brand strategy, experience design, community development and social media, I have an innate ability to trace similar patterns between digital and physical footprints.
Cross-cultural sensitivity: Great brands are culturally sensitive. My experience in some of the global cultural hubs – Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Montreal, Toronto, and Hong Kong – provide me an intuitive eye and organic sense for popular culture, emerging technology trends and behavioral shifts.
Expertise and focused practices: systemic constellation and mapping, social presencing theater, human-centered design process, experience strategy, customer experience, design and trend research, ideation, creative coaching and mentoring, prototyping, color theory, community development, customer service experience, creative project production, event curation, conference, and trade show management and operation.
Industry experience: beauty & fashion, customer service, advertising, film festivals, international relations, children education, corporate training, design, publishing, event production, sustainability, food, and non-profit organizations.
Strategic and Experience Design
integrating immersive experience to tell stories and build communities
MAKELAB is a new company with a fleet of ten 3D printers that focuses on creating interactive experiences to reach people both inside and out of the core maker community. As part of a portfolio of turnkey event and marketing experiential, the studio offers 3D printer rentals for events and marketing experiential activations.
During its initial 6-week experimental project, I was asked to help develop a comprehensive marketing strategy which involved a visual social branding campaign and offline marketing activities.
Bevlab 1.0 was their first pop-up project providing the public an opportunity to experience the process of product development. As their brand experience strategist, producer, promoter, and overall Jack-of-all-trades, I was involved in the brand development process, creative concept, studio construction, experience design, and event production.
Bevlab 2.0 @ World Maker Faire NYC
Based on the success of Bevlab 1.0, a year later, Pepsi.co invited the Bevlab team to design and develop an experimental beverage laboratory at the World Maker Faire in New York. I was invited back to mobilize the team, source and purchase materials, and design and facilitate the beverage making experiment.
Community and Cultural Design
connecting cross-disciplinary communities through curated experiences
As the chapter organizer of PechaKucha since 2011, I successfully cultivated this global movement within Toronto, catalyzing creative thinking and creating a physical space for social networking. Under my leadership, the brand has transformed from a presentation format to a bi-monthly social event. I doubled the number of events within my first year as the organizer. I changed the original Facebook group to a new Facebook page and doubled the number of followers in a week.
To increase the value and quality of the audience experience, I began to charge an affordable door price of $5-10, depending on the event. This new structure generated essential revenue, and our attendance rates continue to climb. With a curated lineup of diverse presentations and additional programs, the events have continued to deliver new experiences and fill whichever venue we are given. The events have attracted more than a thousand attendees and presented over 250 talks to date. The popularity and success also attracted corporate sponsorships and in-kind contributions. Toronto became the first city to be spotlighted on the global PechaKucha website.
Community partners and supporters: Creative Mornings Toronto, FITC, GirlGeeks Toronto, Harbourfront Centre, HTML5 Toronto, IIDEX Canada, IxDA (Interaction Design Association), RGD (Association of Graphic Designers), Toronto Design Offsite Festival, Toronto Mini Maker Faire Treehouse Group
Learn more PechaKucha Toronto
mobilizing communities to foster a collaborative culture
Caine's Arcade Global Cardboard Challenge
Launched in 2012 by Imagination Foundation, Global Cardboard Challenge is an annual challenge that invites kids around the world to design and build awesome creations using cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.
As the lead organizer, I successfully secured a 7000sq ft venue space for free. The event had over 300 participants. We raised close to a thousand dollar and donated the money to a local youth social enterprise. The event received local televistion news and radio coverage.
More about the foundation
Toronto Design Offsite Festival
Toronto Design Offsite Festival is a new nonprofit organization that aims to showcase the best in Canadian design at exhibitions and events across the city.
Part of the Special Projects team, I help work on festival fundraising and outreach events throughout the year.
More about the festival
Draw by Night Toronto
Draw By Night Toronto is a free bi-monthly drawing party for all types of creatives.
As part of the organizing team, we work together to deliver fun and engaging evenings where people get to draw, mingle and have a drink.
More about the event
Feast on Good Global Dinner Party Toronto
As part of a global initiative from Feast on Good Conference, one day each year, thousands of people around the globe come together at 7:00pm local time to answer one question over dinner.
On October 18th, 2013, I hosted 30 friends and discussed about the question - Why is it so hard to turn what you learn at school into real-world skills? - over dinner.
More about the feast
acquiring diverse knowledge to create social impact
Frankenstein AI: A monster made by many
A network of immersive projects that explores possible futures where AI and human interact with each other.
A multi-year research project from the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab, Frankenstein AI uses Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as the foundational narrative to challenge and broaden the conversation around the relationship between humanity and artificial intelligence.
Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things
Prototype the world of Sherlock Holmes beyond the 21st century
A global collaborative storytelling experiment developed and run by the Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab. This massive learning experiment explores collaborative methodologies that harness emerging technologies, storytelling and design thinking to build immersive experiences.
The Internet, Deconstructed
Deconstruct the complex structure that is the Internet
Hosted by School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe, this online course critically reveals and analyzes the "invisible" events that happen when we access a website from a browser and how its configuration impacts the physical world.
Futurematic Design Jam
Ideate a potential future and prototype its artifacts
A day-long workshop co-created by two design-futures studio–The Extrapolation Factory and Situation Lab. The objective of the design jam was to fill a vending machine with artifacts from the future. Using an awarding winning card deck called "The Things from the Future", participants imagined and prototyped artifacts from varying scenarios.
What the Community Says
community organizing is characterized by the ability to mobilize people
Zahra Ebrahim - Client Leadership at Doblin Canada
Vivien has this way of seeing connections between ideas and the specific characteristics in people that are required to make them manifest. She is able to build community by creating the kind of spaces where real connections can happen. She initiates experiments and steps back to allow them to create something transformative, while giving them enough support to ensure their momentum can be sustained.
Jonathan Moneta - Creative Director at MakeLab
I had the pleasure of bringing Vivien in to assist us at our interactive 3D design studio, MakeLab. Vivien consistently broadened the scope of our strategic meetings, opening us to business activities and markets we would have otherwise ignored. She's thoughtful, high-energy, and brings her considerable creative network to bear on the projects under her purview. Her wide range of skill and experience was invaluable in planning our public events, executing our corporate consulting engagements, and designing our public engagement strategy.
Dr.Irwin Adam Eydelnant - Creative Scientist + Founder at Future Food Studio
Vivien is the ultimate producer prepared to create in environments within uncharted territories. She brings passion, work ethic, and dedication to the roles she undertakes inspiring others to follow her charge. Whether working on strategy, communications, execution, or project management Vivien regularly proved to be a strong and flexible asset to our creative ventures. At Future Food Studio, Vivien has assisted with roles from the launch of our first pop up venture in Toronto to production of a large scale installation in NYC. Would highly recommend her for any role that needs someone who can connect the dots, rally a team, and execute under pressure.
Rachel Lane - Former Senior Digital Strategist at T4G Kick
In a world that makes a lot of noise about technical specialisms and alpha geek territory, it is easy to dismiss the softly-skilled people-people, curious generalists and social butterflies. Vivien is all of these light interactions, but commands them with such deft orchestration that she routinely astounds by highlighting valuable, shared ground. Time and time again she has identified introductions that spark innovative collaborations and has built community circles that explore a range of ideation techniques. Gifted in mapping social shortcuts, Vivien is an invaluable resource for building creative partnerships across project highways and demanding environments.
Elina Lawrie - Service Designer at Fjord
Vivien's ongoing enthusiasm and commitment to community engagement as well as her international experience gives her a unique perspective on the world and the ability to relate to people from a vast array of backgrounds. Her keen eye for good design and her empathetic nature can be seen in the thoughtful and inspirational experiences that she has crafted.
Cassie McDaniel - Design Director at Mozilla Foundation
The thing about Vivien is that she doesn't wait for permission to start making improvements to the community around her. Toronto would not be the same city without her! She is one of the few people I know who continuously steps into the role of facilitator and connector when no one else has the guts to do the job. Her ideas and enthusiasm are endless. I'm proud to be associated with such a Doer.
Leah Snyder - Designer/Writer/Photographer
Vivien comes across as a natural networker and doesn’t seem to have any hesitancy about striking up the right conversation to get the ball rolling. She is a bridge brain, a connector, a gap filler - one of those people with a 21st Century Mind who seeks fusion of ideas and concepts as well as people and communities. You sense that Vivien is the type of person to insert herself gracefully into any context, quickly identify a need and then without missing a beat start to nurture the growth. I personally have appreciated the passion she has extended to Toronto’s design community. We are stronger and more inspired because of her commitment to a larger vision.
Jay Wall - Creative Director at Studio Jay Wall
Vivien stands out as one of our most valuable community-builders in Toronto. She tirelessly coordinates events and connects people across disciplines. The result is a mesh of relationships that activate Toronto's design community. With her start-up mentality, proactive spirit, and hard-to-put-in-a-box breadth of experience, I believe Vivien would be well-suited to help shape any diverse culture.
Mixed Bag Magazine
MIXED BAG MAG is a Canada based cultural magazine. Every year during the annual Toronto Design Offsite Festival, it runs a series of articles dedicated to the festival. I had the privilege to be part of the photoshoot and was featured as an individual who has been instrumental to growing the design movement in Toronto.
TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE: Vivien Leung’s energy infuses the Toronto design community
portfolio available upon request