Canada celebrates 150 years of confederation this Saturday, July 1st and Canadians will take part in various celebrations across the country; whether that is going to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, gathering for fireworks in a smaller community or buckling up for the largest funded and highly anticipated projects from the Canada 150 fund like the SESQUI National Tour.

This large-scale activation was initially proposed for $25 million of tax payer funding in 2015 and later approved for just $10.5 million. The organization, SESQUI (short for sesquicentennial), envisioned an Expo 67-inspired dome village allowing Canadians to roam around and experience an original live action film entitled Horizon. Horizon was completed using 360-degree technology to capture and showcase Canadian landscapes and wildlife, diversity of people, and traditions in Canada through 90 scenes in every province and territory.

Being the second largest country by total area comes with its challenges. To tour a large-scale activation nationally in Canada would mean covering thousands of kilometers and millions of dollars. With the $10.5 million in government funding and limited funding from corporate Canada, SESQUI had to pivot.

To pivot in business often means a shift in strategy, perhaps to overcome a roadblock or to respond to specific customer feedback. In this case, it meant managing lower-than-expected funding. To pivot a multi-million-dollar project is like moving mountains; it can sometime feel impossible. It might require major sacrifices and revisions to the game plan or turn to new resources, but the goal is to maintain the overall mission and objectives.

SESQUI’s pivot involved new venues and altered methods of delivering Horizon for as many Canadians as possible. The organizers turned to planetariums and other existing domed-shaped theatres instead of developing and travelling its proposed Dome Village. The pivot also meant a changed experience entirely by introducing Horizon through VR technology in smaller, nimbler locations.

While it seems disappointing that SESQUI could not build the Dome Village prototype that was initially envisioned in 2014, the pivot adjusted the program to be more:

Versatile for touring purposes, carrying less hardware overall and optimizing the film’s adaptation capabilities for planetariums, dome-shaped theatres and VR headsets. In future, SESQUI could consider selling licenses to high-quality VR technology companies across the world to use Horizon as both a demonstration video and a promotional tourism video.

Scalable for the different communities and audience sizes across Canada to support the mission of showing as many Canadians as possible.

Reciprocating to local Canadian businesses. By engaging planetariums and dome-shaped theatres, SESQUI opens the opportunity for additional revenue sources for local theatre businesses and the surrounding shops and restaurants.

SESQUI has turned into an excellent case study of pivoting an originally $25 million idea into a program with half the funding but the same message and mission of connecting with and inspiring as many Canadians and tourists as possible.

We at TACK10 are excited to the see the execution of SESQUI’s dome (or adapted dome) and the live action film over the later half of 2017. Check out the SESQUI Canada 150 Horizon film through VR technology at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto this August!