Recipe for ‘Unlaunches’ and other Unlikely Gatherings

In answer to the question, “What’s an unlaunch?” here’s a favourite recipe.

  • Find a local sponsor willing to become an alchemist – sharing, blending, experimenting…
  • Choose a room that will enlarge people’s spirits
  • Decorate the room with flowers, branches, boughs, rocks, candles, paintings, balloons…
  • Involve local singers, musicians, poets, spoken word artists, dancers, comedians…
  • Select 4-6 local change-makers. Turn them into storytellers, Give them 7 minutes to describe the heart (not the detail) of their work
  • Limit the formal (performance and storytelling) part of the evening to 90 minutes
  • Leave at least another hour for mingling, meandering and munching
  • Serve food, beer, wine, soda… even popcorn
  • Secret Sauce – ask your children or much younger friends what grabs their attention. Follow their suggestions especially the ones that make you uncomfortable.
  • Sprinkle with joy.

Can be used to breathe life into all kinds of events and gatherings, even meetings. Careful, fun might break out.

This recipe doesn’t belong to anyone. It was given to me, I give it to you. Only a guide, only a skeletal framework. You must fill in the flesh according to your nature and desire. Creativity runs through you. Your kindness, your true loves become the event. This cannot be taught. You already know. (adapted from Tassajara Bread Book)


To see an artfully baked “unlaunch” in action check out this recent one in Kelowna. (thanks KenGauthier) Check out Erin Scott’s irreverent spoken word take on my book Impact. Cheeky!

Also, here’s a short video clip of the Halifax ‘unlaunch’ held in a pub. Accompanied by the beautiful Gaelic singing of Cape Bretoner, Mary Jane Lamond.


Try.                  Play.               Trust.             

Take a leap of faith!

Something will emerge…

imagined for you, for me, for us.

     – composed by poet Meharoona Ghani for the Vancouver ‘unlaunch’

Music selection is Converge the Realities by Charmie Deller & Renée Ashanta Henry which brought the audience to their feet at the Toronto ‘unlaunch’

Such determined individuals

Some say they’re nuts.

But by definition nuts are seeds, really.

Seeds of hope, for clean air, for homes,

jobs, food and schools.

But changing the world is the work of fools.

Have determined fools and nuts ever changed anything?

Why yes indeed, in fact.

They’re the only ones that ever have.

– excerpt from poem composed by Richard Lett, national slam

poetry champion during Toronto ‘unlaunch’


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