We’ve been hearing from our network that you’d like to hear more ways people are responding to the current crisis—and let’s be honest—I’m happy to share how we’re helping organizations through this.

I think our biggest reflection for folks is to keep going. Panic and uncertainty can be paralysing and it’s challenging to take the next step, to move forward when you can’t imagine the destination. But that’s what design and complexity are all about. Take the next step. Trust the process. Co-create with people and if you can’t get together in a workshop setting, find ways to bring those perspectives into your work. Set-up online creative spaces, call people, use zoom or google hangouts. Send out a worksheet and have people take a picture and send it to you.

We are going to be changing a lot about our organizations, how our teams work together, how we design our days, and how we rapidly create new team norms and social contracts with each other. Using a human-centred design approach has never been more important. Keeping and radically fighting for a deeply human perspective in a time where we’re physically removed from each other has never mattered more.

The top things folks have reached out about so far:

Remote Facilitation

Top5ThingsHeader_V1-02_RemoteFacitilationI mean, this makes sense, Overlappers are fantastic facilitators and we’ve just run a webinar which we will be running again for some associations that want their members to participate. We’ve been working remotely and facilitating workshops virtually for years with certain clients that have a huge geographic reach and need to engage stakeholders. We are being asked to facilitate meetings, strategy or planning sessions—we use a combination of Zoom and Miro, two tools that support Digital Online Creative work—the usual stuff in unusual circumstances.

Scenario Planning

Top5ThingsHeader_V1-03_ScenarioPlanningTied to our foresight work (which has often highlighted future scenarios like this unfortunately) we’re being asked by clients to help them quickly work through scenarios for the next month, 3 months, 6 months and so on. We have solid tools to help groups think through the implications of what’s happening right now and plan scenarios, including what signals to watch for in media releases and statements being made. This current situation won’t be done in 3 weeks and having ways to be responsive to the changing dynamics and conditions are critical to good decision-making and navigation.

Building Digital Services

Top5ThingsHeader_V1-04_BuildingDigitalServicesOne of our client’s is trying to scale a volunteer app that can help government agencies and communities capture people willing to volunteer, their skills and match them with needs in the community. Our UX team is looking at rapidly building an app to facilitate the “transaction” between people and have a way to capture and monitor the data by organizations in the system. This one is rapidly evolving, it’s sort of like Tinder for helping each other, and it could be a big deal in responding to the enormous caring and generosity coming from the public. We’ll see an increased need for digital services.

Training for Teams

Top5ThingsHeader_V1-05_TrainingForTeamsPeople have suddenly been asked to work differently and team dynamics matter a lot. We’ve had numerous requests for our training (which we deliver through Zoom virtually) to help teams quickly get up to speed on new methods to communicate and think together. How Great Teams Work, Creativity, Tools and Methods—these courses all help teams gain a new shared language and introduce tools that encourage visualization and modelling of ideas, concepts and research—which enhances and speeds up communication.


Top5ThingsHeader_V1-06_CommunicationsNot a regular service typically, but this isn’t a regular time. We have great communication chops, many of us have come from creative agency backgrounds at Overlap and we know a lot about communicating in compelling ways. We’ve had some clients just need some extra help getting a communication crafted, some thinking around communication strategy or some graphic design help. It’s not something you might think of Overlap for, but we’re jumping in to help our clients as the needs and asks come up.

Are you working on something in this list? If anything in this list sparks your interest, or if you would like to share what you’re working on, get in touch. We would love to hear from you. 

Upcoming Webinar

On Thursday, April 2 at 10:30am EDT we’re hosting our next Webinar: Designing to be Responsive: Scenario Planning. We’ll explain core concepts around scenarios, how to create them based on the information you have right now and what to watch for as things unfold so that you can be responsive to the conditions around you. We’ll go over our approach to developing a variety of possible future scenarios and how you can plan for them.

Please let us know what else we can share that would be helpful or informative. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.

Brock Hart and the Overlap Team