Innovation Takes Work

Successful organizations don’t repeat themselves— continued success depends on innovation, and innovation is hard work. Step up to the challenge by keeping these common misconceptions in check:

  • Creativity should always be fun.” People frequently expect brainstorming sessions and creative exercise to be relaxed, low-pressure affairs. But innovation calls for hard questions and tough answers to find out why previous attempts at innovation didn’t work. The process can be fulfilling, but it won’t always be painless.
  • There are no bad ideas.Brainstorming can be a useful exercise, but in reality, many — if not most— of the ideas you generate, won’t work. Be prepared for that, and make sure everyone understands that honesty in evaluating ideas is important. Don’t rush to snap judgments, but don’t waste time when it becomes clear that an idea isn’t going to work.
  • Innovation is entrepreneurial.Many of today’s most famous entrepreneurs got their start with an innovative idea but successful entrepreneurs possess a variety of management skills that go far beyond innovation. You need people who are more interested in solving problems than starting a new division.
  • Creativity is all you need.Instead of looking for radically new processes or products, your best bet may be to improve what already works for you. Innovative ideas may spring from unexpected sources when you’re not even looking for them. Focus on what will help your organization grow, and be open to innovation without necessarily trying to force it.

Feng Shui Your Space

Every home office space has the potential to help us stage our own success. According to the simpleshui website, here are eight ways to feng shui your office:

Assume the power position. The ideal placement for a desk is to face the doorway– a little off to the side instead of directly in line with the door. Ideally, when arranging an office, we want the solid support of a wall or heavy furniture behind us, like it’s “got our back.” This also allows you to see anyone entering your space.

Have your own back. A high-back chair says executive; a lower-back chair suggests managerial. In fact, these are often the design terms for filtering the stylistic difference – so choose accordingly.

Boost support. Horizontal patterns and shapes hold energy in place so use this to your advantage when starting a new project or job. Hang horizontal art and use square baskets or trays as a catch all. If you have an affinity for stripes, make sure they run horizontally to unify your energy.

Keep clutter off the floor. Whether or not the feng shui belief that a messy floor weighs down new business holds any truth, it is also a tripping hazard.

Climb the career ladder. Flank tall bookcases behind your desk, if possible. In addition to being a form of protection and support, their shape suggests upward mobility.

Go the distance. An open landscape print on a facing wall brings in nature and can be liberating.

Find your flow. Moving water represents prosperity, abundance, and steady flow. You can bring this idea in with actual water: fresh flowers, a fountain, a coffee maker, or even imagery of moving water. Make sure the water moves into your space. If the water “flows” toward the door, so will all that potential.

Clear the desk every day. When a workspace is bogged down by paperwork, guess how we feel? Always leave your desk looking organized at the end of the day. Take one guess as to what ritual top entrepreneurs around the world have in common? Yep… a clean desk!


Harvard researchers have found that children who sit down and eat dinner with their families are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables.

Eating dinner at home means kids are less likely to consume junk foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

The study included more than 16,000 children between the ages of nine and 14.

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Canadian Inflation (Apr) – May, 2020

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 0.2 per cent in April year-over-year, down from a 0.9 per cent gain in the previous month. This was the first year-over-year decline in the CPI since September 2009. Energy prices were the main drag on inflation due to the drop in global demand, excluding this category, national CPI rose by 1.6 per cent year-over-year. Prices were also down for transportation (-4.4%), clothing and footwear (-4.1%) and recreation and education (-0.7%). In contrast, prices (3.4%) for food accelerated in April. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation fell 0.1 percentage points, averaging 1.8 per cent in April. The CPI was negative in all provinces except for Quebec and BC.

In BC, CPI was flat in April year-over-year, following a 1.2 per cent increase in March. Gas prices continued to fall (-19.6%), along with prices for clothing and footwear (-7.4%), transportation (-2.4%), and goods (-2.2%). Clothing and footwear retailers had to drop their prices to clear inventory, but were restricted to online sales which meant fewer sales. Meanwhile, prices grew for health and personal care (0.9%), household furnishings (0.4%) and alcohol/tobacco/cannabis (0.3%). As BC begins to re-open retail stores and food service establishments, we hope April will represent a floor on price declines.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Canadian Retail Sales (Mar) – May, 2020

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales fell by a whopping 10% in March to $47.1 billion. The largest drop since the data became available in 1991. About 40% of retailers closed their stores mid-month due to the pandemic, while in the clothing sub-sector 91% closed. Sales were down in 6 of 11 sub-sectors, representing 39% of retail sales. Leading the drop were clothing stores (-51%), auto dealers (-36%), and gas stations (-20%). In contrast, sales were up at grocery stores (23%), health and personal care stores (5%), and general merchandise stores (6%).

The shutdown of physical stores caused many retailers to shift or expand their online presence. E-commerce sales were up by 40% in March year-over-year at $2.2 billion, accounting for almost 5% of total retail sales. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.

Sales were down in all provinces, leading the decline were Ontario (-9%), Quebec (-16%), and Alberta (-13%). In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were down by 4.6% at $7 billion in March. Looking at the non-seasonally adjusted change shows a different picture. Retail sales in March were up by 5.3% from the previous month, notably at grocery stores (31%), building and garden material stores (26%), and at electronics and appliance stores (23%). Compared to the same time last year, BC retail sales were down by 3%.

Given that retailers were closed only starting mid-March, it is expected that the April decline will be higher. Advance estimates provided by Statistics Canada for April indicates retail sales declined by 15.6%. As some provinces begin to re-open, we can expect retail sales to gradually return, but the magnitude will largely depend on consumer demand, which has been cautious in other countries that have started to re-open. Moreover, unemployed individuals and individuals who have had their working hours reduced will likely not be making non-essential purchases in the near future.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Failure is not the Same as Quitting, and Change is Not the Same As Failure

I consider myself to be fairly successful in life. I’ve worked hard, I’ve been smart, and I’ve pushed through when the going got tough. I know that success is not always a straight road and that along the way, there can be unexpected changes.

Three months ago, none of us would have guessed the extent to which all our lives have changed and reorganized. I still believe that success occurs when we learn something different and do something different.

Sure, I know that sometimes there are detours… but we need to keep going towards our destination, rather than turning back or quitting. I believe that failing at something is merely a setback, and that failing is not the same as quitting!

You might be familiar with the quote by Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, who said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

I think one of the greatest gifts we can give our friends and family members, including children, is the capacity to publicly endure difficult change. They witness our strength to persevere, so they aren’t allowed to quit… and they begin to recognize the capacity for resilience within themselves.

As I look back on the first half of 2020, I am satisfied that I’ve succeeded overall, but recognize that I’ve also failed a few times. I’ve learned things I didn’t know before and am a better person–and a better resource for you.

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The Contest That Didn’t Exist

In a small mountain town, one family was finding it harder and harder each month to make ends meet. One day, they came up short at the register so the youngest, a little girl about eight years old, was sent to put a couple of items back on the shelves. While she did so, her mother apologized to the person behind her in line, but the gentleman just smiled and replied that he was in no rush.

About a week later, the family was notified that their receipt had come up as the winning number in an ongoing drawing for a $200 shopping trip. Shocked, they turned up at the store the next morning, still disbelieving their good luck, but ready to stock up on some much needed groceries.

When they reached the register and told the cashier that they were there to use their winning receipt, a look of confusion came over her face. She said she was unaware of any ongoing drawing, but stepped away to check with the store manager.

The manager returned along with the clerk a few minutes later and cheerfully swiped a gift card through the register till. The mother breathed a sigh of relief, had the children pack up their groceries, and repeatedly thanked the manager as she left.

It was only after the family left that the manager told the cashier the truth: the man who had watched the family struggle to pay for groceries a week earlier purchased the gift card out of his own pocket. He had asked the manager to present the situation as a store drawing, with the understanding that their full bags of groceries would be thanks enough.

Housing Market Slows, but Resilient in Response to Pandemic

Vancouver, BC – May, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 3,284 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in April 2020, a decline of 50.8 per cent from April 2019. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $737,834, a 7.8 per cent increase from $684,430 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in March was $2.4 billion, a 46.9 per cent decrease over 2019.

“We expected to see a sharp drop in sales for April as we confronted the COVID-19 pandemic,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “However, buyers and sellers are adapting to a new normal, and activity should pick up as the economy gradually re-opens.”

While home sales were down by more than half compared to this time last year, the supply of homes for sale, which normally rises through the spring, was down close to 10 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis and down 23.7 per cent year-over-year. That slide in total active listings means that prices remained firm despite the sharp fall in sales.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 9.6 per cent to $15.3 billion, compared with the same period in 2019. Residential unit sales were down 1.7 per cent to 20,164 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 11.6 per cent to $758,614.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.