Teachings from the Digerati at Invoke University

Just like there’s no such thing anymore as a job for life, there’s no such thing as an education for life either. Getting by on a degree for the lifetime of your career is yesterday’s thinking, and the digital world is guaranteeing it.

Vancouver’s Invoke Labs is addressing the education gap with a new initiative, The University of Invoke.

Invoke Labs’ Duncan Blair said that while there are some incredible events and educational opportunities in Vancouver, “we identified a gap around practical workshop style events that equipped participants with actionable plans.”


The U of I is offering a range of practical half-day workshops. The intent is that they’ll equip individuals with the knowledge and tools that Invoke Labs uses to help the companies. As a business-building company that equips new digital ventures for long-term success, they have a good template to work from.

With more than 25 staff providing key services to ambitious entrepreneurs, they focus on helping craft compelling products that solve real problems. Companies that have benefitted from Invoke Labs expertise include HootSuite, Foodee and BrightKit.

As well, they have recently agreed with BCTIA to mutually promote each other’s education offerings. This includes giving each others program members preferential ticket pricing.

Thus far they’ve held two workshops, Social Media 101: Creating a Social Media Strategy and Startup Marketing 101: Growing from 0 to 1000 Users. These workshops are where practicality trumps theory.

With Startup Marketing 101, they know that finding the first wave of users can be one of the most frustrating elements of a new venture. No one knows you, no one’s invested in or talking about you, and no one trusts what you’re offering, free or paid, yet. You’re operating with zero budget, and have to grow. They delivered a session digging into well tested lo-fi and hi-fi tactics to drive significant community growth.


Megan Grittani-Livingston commented that, “I got a lot out of the University of Invoke Social Media 101 class. It gave me valuable new ideas to strengthen our approach to social media in general, and left me feeling energized and inspired with specific new techniques and ideas to help us improve and grow,” said the communications manager from Special Olympics BC.

Crystal Henrickson, Invoke Labs head of community management offered that “all workshops include follow up one on one consultations. These are an integral and valuable part of the experience, allowing us to hold attendees accountable, and delivering practical insights for the plans they created during the workshops.”

These workshop are not just geared towards the startup community entrepreneurs, and Henrickson shared, “it’s been all about bringing together professionals from different fields has created a cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives. Our first workshop had attendees from organizations ranging from social commerce platforms to non-profits.”

The next class is Design for Non-Designers. There are a handful of tickets still available. You can register here.

Blair said  “We have been encouraged by the positive response to our first two workshops, so much so that we plan on ramping up to offer two or more workshops a month throughout 2014.” For the lifelong learners and those driven to succeed in business, the combination Invoke University and the BCTIA is offering to add some nitro to the personal growth gas tank.


John Gray

John Gray is the co-founder and CEO of Mentionmapp. As a writer, John cares about keeping the humanity in our stories and conversations about technology. He has a B.Ap.Sc. in Communications and a B.A. in English, both from Simon Fraser University.

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