Housing Solutions Labs

When challenges are complex and we need to collaborate to find workable, innovative solutions
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A “Housing Solutions Lab” brings together stakeholders in a variety of sectors to grapple with sticky problems related to housing challenges and test potential solutions for scaling.

For example:

  • What can we do with housing to increase social inclusion and community sustainability in Canada?
  • How might we best apply a rent subsidy to create the best impact for a particular vulnerable population?
  • How might we make a variety of housing options more affordable and accessible in Ottawa?
  • What do we need to do to adapt and scale solutions that worked in Europe?

Our team co-designs and facilitates both macro and micro Housing Labs along with client organizations, and use a variety of tools and methods to deliver results.

The National Housing Strategy provides a unique opportunity to bring together the public, private and non-profit sectors to ensure that Canadians have access to affordable housing. The Lab process allows participants to see the housing system from different perspectives, identify key issues and barriers preventing innovation, and jointly prioritize and implement actions. The Lansdowne Consulting Group works directly with groups, organizations, and all levels of government on issues affecting citizens’ well-being.

We apply Labs as a way of organizing people and efforts to create a safe environment and test ideas from lived and shared experience. We have worked on affordable housing issues with builders, policymakers and service delivery organizations through initiatives from the GTA Housing Action Lab to the federal Actions for Housing Now, and Ottawa’s A Way Home initiative.

We have worked with persons who:

  • cannot find adequate housing;
  • face social and economic barriers;
  • struggle to make ends meet financially;
  • are integrating or reintegrating into the local community;

  • are first responders or deliver security services;
  • are developers or builders;
  • are public servants who design government policy and programs;
  • implement or deliver programs or services.

We offer unique capabilities to engage large numbers of individuals, organizations, and governments on complex issues. Our team includes:

  • experienced and energized facilitators who work at the community, institutional and policy level on design, prototyping and implementation of a large number of initiatives;
  • subject matter experts in sustainable development, data analysis, gamification, innovation, evaluation, housing security, and Inuit issues;

  • internationally recognized researchers;
  • experience working extensively with all three levels of government;
  • connections to an extensive network of government and not-for-profit organizations involved in housing.

We apply a rigorous project management and risk discipline approach to all initiatives. We have a strong direct experience in both housing and related fields, including skills and training, integration, addictions, conflict with the law, domestic violence, exclusion and minority cultures, security and risk assessment, and science-based sustainability analysis.

We engage people directly to bring ideas to the open innovation processes that Labs promote. Our approach is to ensure that all elements of the system get involved and promote co-created solutions that build on what works.

The purpose of a Lab is to create the space where ideas are nourished as small “safe to fail” experiments that can be scaled into solutions.

We are recognized for our ability to engage large numbers of through distributed and citizen ethnography. We use state of the art narrative software to analyze information. This serves as input to the Lab’s design phase and allows to evaluate Lab outputs throughout the project.

Toolkits – Tools and Methods

Our consortium uses a variety of tools and methods to design and deliver Labs in a way that meets client needs. Our strength is creating Labs and Lab processes that fit the needs of those involved. Below are a few examples:

Understanding the issues:

  • Structured and unstructured data analysis;
  • SenseMaker®: Distributed ethnography for large scale capture of local experience relevant to subjects of interest;
  • Social network mapping using data visualization (Kumu);
  • First Principles Thinking Canvas

Ideation and Design:

  • Collaborative Transformation, World Café, StrategicPlay® using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, Appreciative Inquiry, Unconferences using Transformation Architecture (large group method – +500 participants), Design Thinking, Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition Canvas


  • 3D Modeling using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, Design Thinking, Graphic Facilitation, Safe to Fail approach, Rapid prototyping methods


  • Evaluation (developmental, formative, summative, collective impact, others); the science-based Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD); e-Engagement and Online Consultations using Survey Monkey, PowerNoodle; Gamification

Other management processes:

  • International Association of Facilitators certified; Project Management Institute and Prince2 certified Project Managers, Certified Risk Management Professionals


More questions? Contact us!

Lansdowne Security and Emergency Management

Lise Clément

Principal/Consultant Team

Lise is a dynamic management consultant with 17 years of experience bringing together key stakeholders from all levels of government, private sector and non-government organizations nationally and internationally to successfully deliver complex projects, resolve issues, build consensus, engage leadership and build accountable governance. Through highly collaborative lab processes, Lise has facilitated the development of sound and practical strategic plans, transforming vision to concrete action, building productive teams, and measuring success.

Fiona Wright

Principal/Consultant Team*

Fiona Wright is as a Strategic Facilitator, Researcher, and Business Management Consultant with a background in Sustainable Development and Environmental Science. She has been designing and facilitating micro lab processes and supporting macro lab processes over the last 11 years. She holds a Masters in Strategic Leadership toward Sustainability (MSc) and a Bachelor of Environmental Science (BSc(Env)). She is also certified in Prosci change management methodologies and tools, and as a Lego® Serious Play® facilitator. *Note Fiona is on parental leave until July 2019.

John Purkis

Principal/Consultant Team

John Purkis is a sustainability expert, facilitator and systems change specialist. He works with all orders of government, businesses and other organizations to generate and implement bold visions for a sustainable future. He designs and facilitates transformational change processes with organizations both in Canada and around the world. Recently, as the Director of The Natural Capital Lab, John lead a group of approximately 40 senior level innovators to explore barriers and policy changes required at a federal, provincial and municipal scale to integrate natural capital into decision making and accounting practices. John also co-managed the GTA Housing Action Lab and was a member of CMHC’s Sustainable Community Planning Committee.

Thomas Townsend

Principal/Consultant Team

Thomas Townsend is a visiting scholar at the University of Ottawa teaching Public Strategy. He provides policy advice and strategy development for the Federal Government, provincial governments, OECD and international clients.

Chris Davis

Housing Security

Chris Davis is a security and emergency management professional with over twenty-five (25) years of experience in the police, security, and emergency management fields. Throughout his professional career, he has worked with public and private sector clients as well as with international partners on various major events and security matters. Current projects are focused on security and emergency management strategy, policy and plan development and assessments, facilitation and advanced training.

James Turk

Innovation Analyst

James’s focus is helping decision makers and organizations become Fit for the emerging Future. With diverse experience in multiple leadership roles (business, social services and military), a grounding in innovation processes and complex adaptive systems (CAS) theory, James offers strategic facilitation, project management, and organizational training. As a SenseMaker practitioner, James provides decision makers with stakeholder insight research and analysis. James holds a M.S.W degree and a Secret security designation from the Federal Government.

Satja Brink


Satja Brink is a Policy research expert with a career spanning 30 years in a range of senior roles in the public sector, academia and international agencies. Demonstrated expertise in social policy covering housing and urban environments, lifelong learning and education, aging, and barrier free environments. Quantitative and analytical skills related to policy formulation on a wide variety of social policy issues.

Laurie Webster

Data Visualization & SenseMaking

Laurie Webster has been involved in creating and synthesizing information for more than 30 years. She worked initially in the public and educational sectors, and then moved to the business world in 1995. Her research, analytical, and computing skills work well to aid decision makers’ goals. She works with organizations to create action plans that can be implemented in the context of the organization and its financial realities, while aiming to achieve long-term benefits. Since 2008, Laurie has worked on narrative research projects using SenseMaker® in areas such as government, marketing, health care, and third-world development.

Jennifer Robson

Social & Housing Finance and Policy Design

Jennifer Robson is a highly experienced Researcher, and Assistant Professor in Political Management at Carleton University. She has also served in the Federal Government as a Senior Policy Research Officer at Policy Horizons, and a Senior Advisor on Financial Literacy.

Dianne Rogers

Urban Inuit Community Issues

Dianne Rogers is a project manager with over twenty-five years of experience as an addictions counsellor, facilitator, and change agent partnering with Inuit people and working on behalf of Inuit at-risk children, youth, parents, families and communities. Dianne has demonstrated involvement with policy development, program and staff management at the local, provincial, territorial, national and international levels. She has planned, coordinated and facilitated meetings, workshops, community assessments at all levels of engagement founded on cultural humility. She understands that solutions rest within the lived experience of community constituents and those with lived experience. She has worked in close partnership with government departments, not-for-profit mainstream and Indigenous organizations in Ontario, Nunavut and across the country. The bulk of Dianne’s work has been with urban Inuit organizations in Ottawa and In Nunavut. Dianne excelled in working with Inuit people on needs assessments and to undertake a number of interventions at local levels merging policies and practices. This work required partnership building with multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral teams to facilitate policy and programming priorities.

Mark Schacter

Governance, Measurement, Evaluation

Mark Schacter has 20 years of experience providing consulting and training services to public sector clients in strategic planning, performance measurement, evaluation, results-based management, accountability and governance. Prior to launching his own consulting practice in 2003 he was Director of Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Conference Board of Canada and a Director at the Institute on Governance. Mark is a leader in the provision of performance measurement, program evaluation and results-based management services to public-sector and not-for-profit organizations.

Saralyn Hodgkin

Developmental Evaluation

Saralyn Hodgkin leads and advances programs, products and services through developmental evaluation of multi-stakeholder, complex projects. She collaborates and engages effectively with key strategic partners from across Canada and the globe. She has dedicated her career to enabling community change efforts.

Nicole D'Entremont

Graphic Communications

Nicole d’Entremont is the founder of Waterwood Communications, an Ottawa-based marketing and communications firm. In 20012, she established the company’s training division, Plainly Speaking. She brings two decades of experience in broadcast journalism, education, training, and government communications to her role as a strategic marketing communications consultant.

JP Thompson

Process Mapping and Modelling

JP Thompson is a Business Analyst with expertise in business process mapping and proposal development.

Karin Torrey

Graphic Designer

A creative studio owner, creative director and project manager with thirty years of accomplished experience working within boutique and top-tiered design agencies in Toronto and Ottawa. Key strengths include a proven ability to motivate and inspire creative teams to deliver creative work under tight deadlines; extensive capacity to engage creative solutions and skillful execution of brand development, corporate communications, event marketing materials and advertising campaigns; project management and business development; extensive competence to maintain long-term relationships with clients in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

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