World Attention to Mississauga, Ontario


BuildingsA simple online design competition in 2005 generated an innovative structure that has lifted Mississauga, Ontario to worldwide attention.  Mississauga’s Absolute World Towers achieved global acclaim as winner of the Emporis Skyscraper Award, the world’s most renowned architecture prize for skyscrapers.

“Innovation is all around us.  It is generated by those thinking beyond the traditional.  The Absolute World Towers are examples of thinking beyond the traditional and a visual representation of innovation in the heart of Mississauga,” said Ken Tencer, CEO, Spyder Works Inc.  “As an innovation enthusiast and thought-leader, I couldn’t be more proud that they are in my own backyard.”

Skyscrapers are commonly built on straight lines with each floor being the same as the one before.  The Absolute World Towers were designed to be more natural, more human, with none of the 428 condo units being exactly alike.  “By considering how to uniquely appeal to today’s consumers, and not simply repeat the standard, brands can bring innovation to their concepts thereby keeping your business fresh and customers coming back,” stated Tencer.

“The way the two structures twist organically by up to 8 degrees per floor is not just a superb technical achievement, but also a refreshing change to the set forms of high-rise routine,” stated the Emporis Skyscraper Award panel of experts in explaining the choice of the pair of towers.

The Emporis Skyscraper Award is the only prize for high-rise buildings awarded annually and on a global basis.  Award winners are selected by a panel of architecture experts from around the world.

Ken Tencer, and co-author John Paulo Cardoso’s latest book, Cause a Disturbance explores winning through innovation.  It’s about surprising and delighting your customers and solving their problems.  Are you ready to cause a disturbance? Pre-order your copy today at


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Google Art Project and AGO Collaboration a Masterpiece

Innovation Insights
One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO


A crucial part of the whole innovation process is celebrating the wins. Recognizing a brilliant idea can spark others’ imaginations and turn innovation into Win-novation™.

Is it possible to replicate the feeling you get when standing in front of a compelling piece of art? The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is willing to try. The Gallery has chosen to differentiate its brand by participating in the Google Art Project. This project gives viewers high resolution access to exhibits in more than 150 museums in 40 countries around the world. Currently the AGO is the only Canadian institution taking part.

Visitors can surf into the Gallery using Google technology and view artworks with brushstroke level detail. Creating a unique offering for users, the tool successfully reinforces the idea that the AGO is a fun place to visit filled with beautiful works of art. Google Art Project takes the best the Gallery has to offer and makes it accessible. It takes advantage of a visual technology that wasn’t even available a few years ago to completely re-define the appreciation and accessibility of fine art.

What innovative lesson does Google Art Project and AGO collaboration teach us? To me, it’s an artful example of innovation begetting innovation. Someone invents ultra high definition visual technology and Google realizes that the subtle genius of the world’s great works of art are suddenly visible to the virtual eye. And the innovation will continue. My guess is that there are emerging artists being amazed and inspired right now. We may see a revelation revolution.

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The right vision can inspire innovation, passion and pride

Originally published on May 23, 2012 as a Special to Globe and Mail Update

the globe and mail canada

As Canadians, many of us understand the enormous power of a vision. Just imagine holding the Stanley Cup over your head. Millions of fans share a passion for the quest for hockey’s greatest trophy and we continue to believe that the right people, with the right plan, will someday make it happen for our team.

In the corporate world, your goals may not be summed up as neatly as they are in a single gleaming trophy. Nonetheless, your vision for your organization must fuel your people’s hopes and dreams. Your vision should be more than a bottom line or a number on a sales chart. It should be a tangible big-picture goal that galvanizes your people and exemplifies the pride – and the values – of your entire organization.

Professional hockey players will leap off their sick beds or skate on broken legs to play in a Stanley Cup final, driven by that vision of drinking from the Cup or flashing their Stanley Cup rings. To get similar commitments from your team members, your organization must invest time and energy to create lofty, future-oriented visions that everyone can share.

Crafting your vision statement is more than a goal-setting exercise. The process of envisioning and articulating the future offers a singular opportunity to gather the whole team together to build a consensus around not just the organization’s objectives, but also its purpose. With an aspirational vision that goes beyond the company and the immediate needs of its customers, you can create a powerful new springboard for growth and innovation.

To me, the responsibility of articulating an organizational vision belongs to the CEO. As the boss, you are your company’s chief innovation officer. Through the creation of a specific and compelling vision, you can also become chief inspiration officer. Consider Jack Welch, who reignited people’s passion for the behemoth known as General Electric by announcing that GE would exit any industry in which it could not be the clear No. 1 or No. 2 in the market. He focused the company on eliminating waste, trimming bureaucracy and upgrading its products and processes in order to serve customers better – a much more tangible goal than his predecessors’ objective of increasing shareholder value.

With the right mission and vision, you too can tap the true creativity and passion of your people; those deep reserves that most people don’t bring to work unless they’re fired up and striving for meaningful goals.

As an entrepreneur, you have an advantage as an inspirational leader. It was likely your vision of creating something new – a product or service that was much better than anything that came before – that spawned your organization in the first place. Keep that vision alive. Update it and share it. Your singular vision will bolster the energy and clarity of your whole team. It will act as a beacon to guide future decisions and rally others – customers, suppliers, and other potential partners – around your mission.

My advice: Keep your vision lofty. Of course it must be doable – but maybe it shouldn’t be too easy. To drink from the Stanley Cup, your team must win four hard-fought best-of-seven playoff series against equally fired-up opposition. That’s what makes a vision so powerful; who knows when you will have a chance like this again? Make sure your vision appeals to the highest and best values of your team – and keep the pressure on.

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