Our Services > Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Strong community engagement is transformational. It brings a community together, encourages all of us to see things from new perspectives, and leads to better, more inclusive outcomes.

Understanding what really matters to people enables the change necessary to fix some of our biggest problems. Because people are experts in their own experiences and needs, engagement helps create solutions that work in context. Most importantly, engagement aligns people around a common goal and ensures everyone has a voice in the community conversation.

Overlap employs a robust range of engagement techniques—practical, creative, iterative and  flexible—that invite community members to share their experiences and contribute to a collaborative vision for the community. When you fully understand people’s needs and experiences, community-centric innovation is simpler than you think.

By applying a human-centred design approach to engagement, we open up a range of innovative and leading practices for involving stakeholders through all stages of a project—including understanding initial needs and problems, generating ideas together, and prototyping and testing new concepts. 

Design methods enable us to involve stakeholders as collaborators—leveraging stakeholders’ experience and creativity, and building buy-in as we go. Drawing on the discipline of design, the deliverables we generate from engagement are purpose-built for synthesizing insights about human needs and presenting them in a way that prioritizes action.

Sample Engagement Methods

  • Interviews
  • Stakeholder Labs (In-person & virtual)
  • Surveys & polling (Online surveys, Mentimeter, dot voting)
  • Street Teams (On-site short-burst interviews)
  • Community Events & Forums
  • Pop-up Stations & Museum-Like Exhibits
  • Engagement Committees (Community members co-leading engagement) 
  • Social Media Engagement
  • Engagement Initiative Branding and Communications
  • Diary Studies/Journals, Drawing Activities, Photo Journals (Photovoice)
  • Observation, Ethnography, Guided Tours/Walk-Throughs
  • Collaborative Visioning Sessions
  • Design Summits, Charrettes, Design Sprints, Hackathons
  • Foresight/Futures Workshops
  • Ideation Workshops, Prototyping Workshops
  • Testing/Validation Events & Interviews

Lead Contact

Rachel Hofstetter Vice President & General Manager Overlap Associates Canada


Rachel Hofstetter, is a strong leader with exceptional management, business and people skills. She’s a natural coach who inspires people to work collaboratively toward new outcomes, while developing organizational cultures that support continuous learning and innovation. Get to know Rachel, see some of her work and engage with her ideas here.


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