The Challenge of Progress

Neighborhoods change and evolve over time whether in good ways, or in bad.

The sometimes by-product of this evolution is that people can be left behind, are often not included in progress, and sometimes not part of solutions. When whole groups of people feel disenfranchised, ignored, or overlooked that is the opposite of progress.

The Solution – Meaningful Engagement

Meaningful engagement is an inclusive research, design, and community engagement process developed in partnership with our clients to solve the need to get community input, engagement, and consensus. We use our research and development process called exerciseShift – a customized workshop and engagement tool that involve all stakeholders to find solutions to problems. We implement a process that stimulates engagement, allows for communication to identified constituents early and often, and addresses mechanisms for buy-in and inclusion in community development.

Meaningful Engagement uses a proprietary community outreach strategy that’s built off of consumer market research, creative brainstorming processes, storytelling, and technology.

The Meaningful Engagement process is guided in four distinct ways


We start by identifying the problem or problems that you are trying to solve using Meaningful Engagement. What is the end game, what do you hope to achieve?

Design the Process

After we understand the challenges, we develop a research methodology to guide the engagement process. We will use a blend of tactics to implement engagement such as: branding, exerciseShift, World Cafe, WordFabric, design principles, popups, press relations, or town forums, focus, groups, online surveys.

We identify a diverse audience to engage with during the process. We implement strategies that allows various constituents to have input into a real estate development, service, or product. This is an inclusive process. We don’t talk at the community, we let them talk to us. We utilize people on the ground, in-person, and face-to-face engagement augmenting those tactics with technology solutions to reach more people.

Collect and Connect

As we engage with various constituents we are collecting bits of information, each piece of data with a defined purpose from our methodology. The data and input collected is synthesized into actionable insights.

We look at the language, similar word usage, and tonality to develop patterns and document commonalities on the feedback we collected from the community.


We relate the input we gathered and dissected to your problem or issue defined in the methodology. We connect the community input with the work that you do.  We will use the data gathered to create illustrations, infographics and to tell stories of people and businesses that will be impacted or influenced by your work. Each meaningful engagement comes with a hard copy and digital report that documents the entire process.

Let’s Connect


The City of Pittsburgh engaged with us to conduct research around the feasibility of a municipal ID card for the City. We also developed a name, brand, and communications strategy. Our work included community outreach and engagement, brand development, communications strategy, and technology assessment.

UpTo Know Good logo

UpTo Mainstreet is a one-week pop-up event staffed by independent creative professionals. During the pop-up event, we provide marketing, design and communications services at affordable prices. We offer affordable prices to both carry on our mission and make sure businesses have stake in the game. If they don’t we know they won’t value it. Businesses know they are getting below rate costs for these assets, but we teach owners about the real costs so they can get to the robust marketing budget needed.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership promotes and markets Pittsburgh’s great urban center to millions of people as the region’s premier destination to do business, to call home, or to visit for the best in shopping, dining, and entertainment. We collaborative with the Partnership by doing design, public relations and other communications strategies.