Robert Barnard has spent more than 15 years decoding younger generations and creating new ventures to engage them. Since 1994 as a founder and now CEO of DECODE, Robert has led a passionate team of decoders to discover new insights and develop innovative strategies for this critical audience. He has worked internationally for governments, NGOs and companies across many sectors. Robert is now the driving force behind Decode Ventures – social ventures that have younger generation focus. Robert is the co-author of the best-selling book on Generation X, Chips and Pop: decoding the Nexus Generation and recipient of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 Award. He is an internationally recognized speaker about generational issues and engagement.
Coolest thing I did as a teenager: I decided to take a year off after high school and travel. Flew to Europe with a friend, leased a car and drove into every country except Iceland and Ireland (for obvious reasons) for seven months before starting university.
First Job/Worst Job: I was 12. I delivered false teeth. really! It was not my worst. Pizza delivery guy took that prize during the 30 minutes or free phase...I got burned.
Craziest decision: Going to Madagascar on my honeymoon knowing that neither my wife nor I had never been to a developing country in our lives at that point. It was amazing.
Born in Ottawa, Matthew showed an early curiosity in the interplay between urban, suburban and rural landscapes and the people that live in them. His interest in the links between practice and place led him to a a graduate degree in human geography, collaborations with journalists and documentary filmmakers, and strong overall mixed-methods research know-how. Working for Decode in the innovation and service design field, Matthew translates his excitement with people and places into insights and strategies designed to facilitate efficient technologically networked social practices. Overall, he brings to the Decode team a youthful attitude and an interest in youth-oriented city-building.
If I could go on a roadtrip with one person I don't already know, it would be: David Foster Wallace (author, essayist).
If I could job shadow one person for a week it would be: Ray Kurzweil (author, inventor, futurist, head of engineering at Google)
If I could hang out in the social group of one historical figure it would be: Simone de Beauvoir. Aside from her own immense influence, her lifelong partner was one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 20th century. She also participated in daily conversations with the leading political thinkers in Post-WWII France.
Mimi joined the team after completing a degree in History and North American Studies at McGill University. Born in Montreal and raised in Toronto, she has been an active participant in promoting cities as diverse and youthful gathering places. At Decode, she is responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly by coordinating participants in Decode projects, aiding in research, organizing and facilitating events and performing general administration.
Fun fact: Attended the same high school as rapper Drake (Vaughan Road Academy, which sadly closed in 2017).
Favourite country visited: South Africa! Visited the northern border area where my mother was working at the time, then through the Mpumalanga region, went across to Cape Town and up the Western Cape. So incredibly beautiful.
Favourite book read in the past year: Bonk by Mary Roach.