Founded by David Usher, the Human Impact Lab at Concordia University is a creative studio focused on exploring and developing projects and platforms that reimagine how we tell the most important and urgent stories of our time. The Lab works at the intersection of art, technology and data and engages artists, designers, game developers and interactive programmers to visualize solutions to big data social impact problems. We are an idea accelerator that uses startup methodology to bring ideas to scale. The Human Impact Lab is an independent non-profit supported by Concordia University. We work cross vertically and look for partners in: education, arts, technology, government, business, non-profit. Our primary focus is on Climate Change and the Second Machine Age (artificial intelligence, robotics and computer automation).

Climate Change

The science has been done and the data is clear. Climate change will disrupt everything about how we live with catastrophic effects; but what the science and the data have failed to do is win over the public mind. There is a disconnect between the big data problem of climate change and the perception of how people believe it will effect their lives, within their lifetime (and their childrens' lifetimes). The missing piece of the puzzle is Story.

We need to reimagine how we tell the story of climate change and how can we use the data we already have to tell the story in new vibrant ways. We need to move beyond just print and video and start experimenting with the medium, the disruption system and the methodology behind these stories. The time to 2º is short and we are not winning the battle for the public mind. We need to start questioning why.

Why are some of the most amazing, innovative storytellers; artists, designers, interactive programmers and game developers not being engaged to tell the most important and urgent story of our time?

How can we bring the story of climate change to life in different ways both technically and conceptually so people can better understand what all this big data really means? How do we make the big data of climate change local and personal but also take it out of the private conversations and move it into public spaces?

Our Work

Climate Clock

We all now know that the global average temperature passing the threshold of 2° is the point where really bad things start to happen and it becomes much more difficult to slow down the devastating effects of climate change. But if you look online and in the media, it’s very hard to find a good reference for when 2° will actually happen. Presently, the 2° target floats abstractly in the public mind. The Climate Clock acts a public line in the sand and says, “This is the date”. More


The Rising Seas

The Rising Seas is an interactive 3D platform that allows users to visualize the impacts of sea level rise in specific locations. On large touchable screens users can change global emission levels and then see how sea level is impacted as they navigate from an earth view to city view to street view. Our platform is built on Autodesk’s Stingray Gaming Engine and our code is open source and will be hosted on Github. More