design director, creative strategist, engagement specialist, convenor, and foodist.
process designer | storyteller | facilitator | educator | association executive | board member | emcee and host | community activist | trained cook | lifelong learner | good conversationalist | ordained priest (ask me about that) | husband | dog lover
I am a director in an interdisciplinary design and architecture firm called HCMA where I help lead strategic initiatives, experiments, investigations, and interventions (we call this TILT Curiosity Labs) that help our team fulfil its mandate of maximizing positive social impact. I have the coolest job where I get to play the role of “constructive disruptor” by watching for patterns, gaps, connections, and opportunities that might help creative professionals step away from their comfort zones and daily tasks, and away from the traditions and habits that might hinder its ability to explore the many perspectives in the world, so that they may lean into discomfort and discovery and finds ways to move from “what is” to “what if" and more freely dream about a world that could be. A particularly rewarding aspect of my job is designing, curating, producing, and hosting gatherings, and meaningful dialogue-focused events such as the free monthly breakfast lecture series CreativeMornings which builds connection, conversation, and capacity of the creative community. I am also a lifelong food fanatic and cooking and cuisine is an important way that connects me to people, places, and culture.
Some trivia about me
⇨ “There is no truth. There is only perception.” (Gustave Flaubert)
⇨ I love being wrong (when it leads to learning and correction)
⇨ I collect probing, often uncomfortable questions (can you handle being vulnerable?)
⇨ I have been called a “limbic energy machine” (i.e. I give and feed on energy)
⇨ I have studied the culinary arts and love cooking for others (more than eating even)
⇨ I have a coulrophobia-level dislike of clowns (I don’t that’s useful info, but anyway)
⇨ I am an ordained Dudeist Priest and can perform marriage ceremonies (Seriously, Google it)
Like so many who have been generous with me in my life/career, I want to “send the elevator back down" by providing limited one-on-one access to like-minded creative people in my network (and beyond). I derive reward and meaning when I get to enjoy radical open-mindedness and thoughtful discourse with folks seeking new perspectives and paths forward. I am particularly keen to help the creative community in Vancouver connect and increase its capacity, but I tend to get inundated by requests to connect, so my hope is that this platform will help me serve others while maintaining what's little of my time and sanity. ;-)
I love shift disturbers and community changemakers. My tribe tends to be creative professionals, community organizers, and curiosity junkies seeking ways to increase their effectiveness and impact. I really enjoy connecting with humble, driven, high performers keen to do the work required to shift norms, disturb patterns of mediocrity, and make positive change in their lives, careers, and communities.
What I am currently working on
Industry trends, insights, observations & opinions
My current role & responsibilities
My salary, rates, income & benefits
My education, training & qualifications
My biggest challenges, successes, failures & lessons learned
What success means to me
How I got to where I am today
What I enjoy most/least about my career
What it is like working for my company & why I chose to work there
What it is like to live and work in my city
Recommendations for anyone entering my career or industry
Recommended books, articles, blogs, conferences, tools, apps, etc.
Whose content do I consume regularly
Daily practices, habits, and strategies
Issues I care most about right now and why
My values, beliefs, philosophies and/or political views
My love story
⇨ I have been a director at an interdisciplinary design and architecture firm with three offices and over 100 employees.
⇨ I founded and managed a successful brand strategy and communication design consultancy for 20 years.
⇨ I founded, produce, and host the Vancouver chapter of CreativeMornings, a popular monthly free breakfast lecture series on creativity.
⇨ I have process designed and facilitated numerous workshops and retreats for leaders, companies, and organizations of various kinds.
⇨ I have been a design and communications instructor and mentor for many years.
⇨ I am obsessed with the intersection of culture and cuisine, and the only thing I enjoy more than eating is cooking for others.
If you haven't experienced CreativeMornings/Vancouver yet, you are missing a magical community experience. Let me know and I can make sure you get a ticket as my guest. http://www.creativemornings.com/cities/van
I believe the world does not need more events, it needs BETTER events, rooted in meaning, purpose, and impact. I've been producing engaging community events that are designed to create connections, conversations, and capacity for decades. Join me!
I've been figuring out ways to find order in the complexity of the creative process for over 30 years, so it's likely the challenge you are facing is something I've worked through years ago. Let's chat.
One of my favourite things is to design engaging and effective gatherings, whether they are meetings, workshops, retreats, or whatever. I am really good at this, but I bet if you and I collaborated we could create something special.
I adore hosting conversation, whether in circle or around a meal. In fact, my goal is for someone to call me a skilled deipnosophist (Google it).
Over the past five years I have produces and hosted dozens of popular events, some in-house at HCMA, many in venues around the city. These have been insightful speakers, presentations, workshops, screenings, performances, workshops, and much more.
Maybe you're struggling with a pitch or a talk you have to give in front of an audience. Storytelling is a sort of passion hobby of mine and I bet I can help you understand how to construct an effective narrative that captures your audience's attention and delivers your message! Let's scheme together1
I have spent more than two decades helping organizations and their leadership identify the power of identity design, storytelling, and messaging. There are lots of examples of projects I helped lead on my design consultancy's website, and you can hire me and my team to help you with your brand and identity design. See my brand audit offer.
As part of HCMA's TILT Curiosity Labs, I managed an artist in residence program which was an amazing way to connect various perspectives and forms of craft and making with a team of designers yearning for new ways to create. Plus we helped support the arts and culture sector which was terrific.
Over the years I've written a metric shit tonne of opinion pieces for various publications, but many of the design, marketing, and strategy related ones can be found on Industrial Brand's website:
I sometimes get asked to go on podcasts and such and talk about the various things that I'm passionate about. Here is an example of a conversation about designing for community you might enjoy (or maybe not). ;-) https://pricetags.ca/podcast/mark-busse-on-the-underlying-confidence-that-we-can-design-for-community/
I love studying the culinary arts and love cooking for others even more than eating, but I hate being called a "foodie". If you were a serious piano player, would you want to be called a "pianoee"? Of course not. This is why the food and media collective I co-founded is called www.foodists.ca. Check it out.
Holy cow guys. From beginning to end this has been not only a delight but so deeply useful to both me and my business's internal compass.
Long story short. Mark is helping me and my team come up with the foundation of our companies creative manifesto. So far my cofounder and I were asked to each answer a series of thought-provoking questions separately. Then we got to read each others answers together. Then we went through a really creative deck of cards as a group that helped us land on 8-10 words to describe what we are and what we are not. And we are now in the process of pulling it all together into a powerful document that will lead us and others that join us in ALL sorts of powerful ways. Overall this has been such an enlightening, fun and valuable exercise.
Mark is REALLY good at deep creative work. I recommend bringing his Brain in wherever and whenever you can. Be prepared to be creatively worked on. He's like a deep creative tissue massage.
Mark was energetic and super open to my ideas for a Diversity Festival I am producing. He was encouraging and offered great advice. I was invited to pitch my event at a future Creative Mornings event to gain more exposure. On top of that, we found a lot of things in common -our love of people and our dogs, this city, and good food. Amazing conversation overall and I feel like a gained a new friend or at least a boodle fight co-host =)
Mark is a wealth of knowledge and connections. If he can't help you with something, he knows the person that can. He is well connected in this city and very generous with his time and insights.
A spirited conversationalist with a pension for enthused appreciation and sharing. A joy to be in the company of this man.
Mark is helping me place a monetary value on myself and my experiences that have led to the growth and valuation of my consulting career. Thank you Mark.