Project Heart: A collaborative exploration of the future of engagement

Engagements, such as roundtables, working groups, committees, and councils, that include Persons With Lived Experience (PWLE) are becoming more common across governments and other sectors. Yet, engagements often focus on what the engager needs to achieve – and little focus is on understanding of the needs and desires of those being engaged.

Project Heart, a Health Canada funded project, set out to understand engagement from the perspective of those being engaged (PWLE) and how engagements can be approached so they are meaningful, inclusive, and impactful for all involved.

The project brought together collaborators from both internal and external to government, including CDTRP’s Patient, Family, and Donor Manager, Manuel Escoto, along with PWLE, and was grounded in design thinking, design research, and participatory design. Together, they co-designed desired futures of engagement, prioritized them, and produced paths toward this ideal future state.

  • “Engaging persons with lived experience is critical to improving public policy, research, and knowledge dissemination efforts. Meaningful engagement is challenging and takes time, but Project Heart has outlined a pathway for achieving meaningful engagement drawn from current best practices and supported by the many PWLE project participants.

    I challenge readers to read the report recommendations, reflect, and plan on how their spaces could allow for engagement – the opportunity is there; all that is left is your commitment to incorporate these principles and recommendations into your work.”

    – Manuel Escoto, CDTRP Patient, Family and Donor Partnership Manager & PWLE

The final report, that you can download below, outlines four preferred approaches and 46 recommendations that could lead to more meaningful engagement experiences pre-and-post engagement.