Projects & collaboration

♦ I’m the creator and curator of Matter, a gathering of creatives who are passionate about doing work that’s community-driven, human-centered and purposeful.

The Vine is a conference that I created and ran from 2006 to 2016. A radical departure from traditional industry conferences, The Vine brought together an eclectic mixture of visionary thinkers to explore the nature—and the future—of community.

♦ Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas is a first-of-its-kind event for the Bay Area—two days of extraordinary thinking across a wide range of domains: science, technology, energy, environment, food, innovation, entrepreneurship, activism, politics and more. Working closely with founder and curator Lance Knobel, I serve as project manager for Uncharted, directing logistics and production from initial planning through onsite execution.

♦ The Idea District is a creative community seeking to challenge status quo thinking in residential development. I served on the group’s founding advisory board, helping design events that provoke and inspire participants and inject fresh thinking into its more traditional (ahem, stodgy) parent organization.

IDEO is a global design consultancy lauded as one of the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company. Working with a team of IDEO designers, we created two daylong salons on Human-Centered Design for The Vine. These events were held at IDEO’s headquarters in Palo Alto and included a behind-the-scenes tour of their space.

Jump Associates is a hybrid strategy firm that helps companies—including GE, Target, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and Nike—create new businesses and reinvent existing ones. Together with a team of Jump executives, we created a one-day Business Innovation Boot Camp for The Vine.

StoneBridge Properties is a real estate developer with soul. (Unlike unicorns, some of these do exist.) StoneBridge cares deeply about the ecology, history and legacy of the land they develop—so much so that they commission books on these topics to help inform their design process. Working with their senior leadership team, I helped the company define and articulate a brand identity for New Brighton, an on-the-boards community designed around urban farming.

Bert and John Jacobs are cofounders of Life is Good, a business that grew from street fair hawking to iconic apparel brand by harnessing the power of optimism. Bert and John have been active supporters of The Vine, where they struck up a friendship with execs from Newland Communities. The two companies partnered to stage a series of Pumpkin Festivals throughout the U.S., raising over $1 million for children in need.

J. Walker Smith is chief knowledge officer of Kantar Consulting and one of the nation’s foremost experts on consumer values and behavior. Walker and I collaborated for many years to produce “The Vision of Home,” an annual keynote report that revealed emerging trends in Amercans’ attitudes about home, neighborhood and community.

Sandra Kulli is homebuilding’s pre-eminent marketing strategist—a catalyst, teacher, nurturer, storyteller and human energy field. My creative partnership with Sandra dates back to the mid-90s, when she approached me about presenting a Harley-Davidson brand case study to an audience of builders—with two 800-lb. motorcycles displayed onstage. My answer to her then, and to each of her wild ideas ever since: “Why not?”

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