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Housing Solutions Labs

As a Solutions Lab Provider, Overlap partners with organizations to work through complex housing issues and scale potential solutions.

A Solutions Lab is a collaborative initiative to solve complex housing problems using innovative methods and tools. For the organizations participating, a Lab is an opportunity to develop innovative solutions to a complex housing problem, as well as build capabilities for design, collaboration and problem-solving. 

What is a Solutions Lab?

As part of Canada’s first-ever National Housing Strategy (NHS), the CMHC has launched several innovation and research programs to support Canadians in meeting their housing needs. One major NHS initiative is the Solutions Lab Initiative. This initiative provides housing stakeholders with funding and expert innovation lab consultants to help solve complex problems using innovative methods and tools. The goal is to co-develop innovative, bottom-up solutions to specifi c problems that have not been able to be solved using traditional approaches. 

The Solutions Lab Process

A Solutions Lab convenes partners and stakeholders from across the housing system to follow a five stage process of solution development.

  1. Definition—Establish the scope of the problem and reframe the issue from the perspective of people at the centre of it
  2. Discovery—Generate insight through data and user research, understand the  current state of the issue based on a range of methodologies
  3. Development—Co-design new ideas through Solutions Lab stakeholder input
  4. Delivery—Build prototypes to test and refine shared ideas and multiple potential solutions
  5. Roadmap—Communicate a clear path to realize the preferred solution and achieve solution uptake and replication

Lead Contact

Ryan Voisin Director, Innovation Programs


Ryan is the Director of Innovation Programs at Overlap. He designs and delivers programming for organizations to increase their capacity for innovation, facilitating conversations between organizations and their key stakeholders to understand and design for diverse perspectives. Get to know Ryan, see some of his work and engage with his ideas here.

Overlap is a registered Solutions Lab Provider with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Overlap’s role is to coach Lab team members through new ways of working over the course of the Lab. 


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