Services Overview

Overlap offers a suite of services that drive transformational change in organizations. 


Services Overview

Overlap offers a suite of services that drive transformational change in organizations. 




meaningful, collaborative engagement that leads to rich insight.


Overlap excels at helping organizations understand external stakeholder and customer needs at a deeply insightful and empathetic level. In other words, we design public participation that works.

Our process includes qualitative research that ensures all relevant aspects of a person’s life can be explored. This allows us to present data in multiple ways—driving deeply insightful patterns and surfacing design principles.


WATCH: Designing better services and experiences through deep engagement with people. 



This shouldn't be so hard, but talking to customers, patients, the public—continues to be something that organizations are afraid of. But unless we deeply understand the experiences and problems of the people we serve, we'll never really 'get it'. Great design work starts by talking to the people who experience the problems—it's then our job to find ways to fix it. Good data is crucial to making better decisions and getting better results.


When employees working in your organization make decisions and plan projects without knowing the needs of their end-users, they increase the likelihood that they'll get it wrong. You can't align employees around organizational goals and big vision without giving them the data they need to support better results. Human Insight is about gathering qualitative data from end-users and turning that data into need statements, design principles and patterns—the necessary foundation of game-changing ideas and consistent decision-making.

Overlap’s Design Thinking approach has had a profound effect on our understanding of those we serve and on our organizational culture. Design Thinking as practiced by Overlap, places the highest value on the needs and insights of the end user. This uncompromising focus on the person receiving services fuels the passion that staff and decision makers have for making a difference in the lives of people.
— Fred Wagner Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin

Patient Engagement

"I need something to take my spouse's mind off of his discomfort."

We can help you put your patients at the centre by using creative, effective, and human qualitative research techniques. We'll help you get to know your patients—what they need as they receive healthcare, how they want to feel in your service, and how to make that happen. Maybe it's as simple as something to take their mind off of the pain they're feeling, or maybe it's establishing a set of universal service standards that provide a foundation for all organizations in your healthcare system. Whatever it is, we'll help you find out. 


"I just got out of jail and the library is the place where I'm going to figure out the rest of my life"

We believe that meaningful community engagement is all about meeting your community where they're at and asking the right questions while we're there. We can help you build the capacity to engage with your own communities or we can conduct engagement on your behalf. Our creative platforms for engagement drive deep, actionable insights that ensure you remain a vibrant and resilient community space.


We build comprehensive engagement plans to include a wide array of stakeholders using tailored, fun, and effective methods for gleaning the insights you need for your foundation. Whether you need a deeper understanding of a complex problem you've chosen to tackle; you are trying to plan ahead for a future where you're unsure of the needs of your community; or you need to undergo an organizational redesign and you need input from within—we have experience and we're here to help.


What sets Overlap apart is how we bring the content to life for our clients. Collecting data is just the beginning. Our team specializes in synthesizing session and survey findings to identify emerging themes. We sift and study all the session outcomes in order to understand the issues, priorities and opportunities. We don't like reports and would rather give you a toolkit of items that help you activate the research. (We can, of course, write reports.)




Envision and Implement a vibrant future together.

Build a plan for a future that your entire organization enthusiastically supports. Link the experiences of your beneficiaries, staff and volunteers at a deeply meaningful level to the strategies that will move them toward a bold, exciting future. We work with you to gather input from every corner of your organization, build a collective vision, and translate that vision into actionable goals. Include beneficiaries and front-line staff to ground the board and leadership discussions in the good you're delivering—the reason you exist, and the realities of doing the work that you do. We open up a space for you to think boldly, and then we work with you build a plan for implementation that works for you.


Strategic Planning

As the context of your organization continues to grow and change, charting your course to remain dynamic and relevant is crucial for success. We set you up to envision the best future possible for your organization given your changing environment. We help you include all of your relevant stakeholders and create an end product that takes a form that makes sense for you—all to ensure its enthusiastic implementation. 

Action Planning

Sometimes an initiative gets stuck in the area of overlap—that space between a new external vision and old internal thinking. Overlap’s Action Planning services helps propel the initiative forward. Get all of your team members on the same page, working towards a unified goal. Instil your team with a new sense of ownership for the tasks ahead and a new appreciation for the people they serve on an everyday basis. Get "unstuck". 





Bring Design Thinking into your organization.

Overlap offers numerous courses that have been designed to build capacity in organizations. Bring us in for a 3-hour Design Thinking Workshop with your team, or sign up as an individual for one of our courses—regardless, you’ll gain tools and skills that will make your work more agile, more risk-capable, and more human-centred.

See our courses page for more information.

Develop high-impact solutions to complex problems.

As the concept of co-design becomes more and more ubiquitous across the service industry, we offer you the platform and support for co-designing effectively.



So you know you have a problem, and you know what the problem is, but your typical approaches to problem just aren’t cutting it… What now?

In a design lab, you will experience a process of agile co-design that quickly produces new and testable ideas informed by the people at the core of the problem. We guide your team and your relevant stakeholders through the design process: first understanding the problem; generating ideas; prototyping those ideas; and testing them.

ENGAGEMENT + Solutions

Take on a complete design process by both investigating the problem and co-designing solutions.

When you begin by engaging with your product or service users, you build out the problem space to help you identify where you can make maximum positive impact, and you gather valuable insights to inform the ideas you create and test in the design phase. We facilitate that process for you, start to finish.

Visit our project website to learn how the Canadian Mental Health Association in Waterloo Wellington and Dufferin is putting clients at the centre of their service experience, facilitated by Overlap.





Meetings can be fun and effective.

Our facilitation helps you make the most of the time you have with your teams—we get people beyond just talking. We bring strategies to life by developing quicker group alignment through a sharp, empathy-led focus. Our thoughtful session design and proven facilitation techniques prompt ideas, solutions, and action plans while getting teams excited about new possibilities and directions. 

The facilitation process used by Overlap was remarkably effective. Their creative approach was engaging and allowed for all members of our team to have a voice throughout the process. As many of the topics on the agenda had been previously discussed without resolution, we were pleased to find that we had genuinely moved forward in our conversations.
— Stephen Lewis, Co-Director of AIDS Free World and Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation



Innovation Programs

Innovation Programs


Invest in your team’s capacity to design solutions for your toughest challenges.

Overlap’s Innovation Program leverages our experience solving problems to help your organization do the same.

  • Implement strategic innovation projects, together
  • Training and development in design thinking
  • Ongoing support in your space

Solve big problems together with a different way of working. Use design methodologies, systems thinking, foresight, and other proven approaches to increase your team’s capacity to respond to both current and future challenges.

You have the subject matter expertise. We provide the tools, processes, and educators to maximize your impact—all delivered in your office.


Whether your work focuses on an existing plan or a new challenge, Overlap helps you reach your goals from planning to implementation.

Does your team feel stuck? Have you encountered the same problems again and again as you work toward your goals? We help your organization work differently. Our Innovation Program breaks down organizational silos to harness a wide range of perspectives. The work happens in your space and aligns with your organizational mission, vision, and values.

We bring in Design Thinking and Agile methodologies to enable your existing processes to respond to the needs of your stakeholders.
Activate your team to make notable progress toward your organization’s goals.

training and development


Building your team’s knowledge in design methodologies will position your organization for success, now and in the future.

The Innovation Program’s training and development component teaches your team new skills with real-life applications. Your team will learn how to use a human-centred approach to address daily tasks as well as big challenges.

Any number of courses, led and taught by Overlap, can be integrated alongside your program. You’ll remain on track because course content is tailored to your specific organizational goals and challenges.

Learn more about our human-centred course offerings.


Through every stage of the Innovation Program, Overlap is on hand to support your process and professional growth.

You won’t have to solve organizational challenges alone. As your team tests out new approaches, Overlap provides support through regularly scheduled Office Hours held in your space. Team members can stop in for coaching at a time that works for them. Whether your team is co-located in one office or spread across the globe, you can still benefit from our Office Hours by using remote coaching solutions.  

You will also receive a suite of tools and resources designed to increase your team’s ability to address challenges and achieve your goals. Overlap provides worksheets, facilitation notes and guides, as well as practical instruction on how to use them. Throughout this iterative process, you’ll equip your organization with the skills and confidence needed to lead transformational change. You’re not just solving one challenge; you’re building a team that can solve internal and external challenges as they come.

Better is possible.