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Innovating using citizen-focused design thinking

Vivo is more than a recreation facility based in North-Central Calgary, it is a movement - a cause committed to inspiring Calgarians in Canada of all generations to achieve their optimal health whether they're at home, school, work, in the community or at the facility. Vivo embraces and celebrates diversity, community and the common thread that unites us all - life.

Challenging how we think about and use community facilities, Vivo set out to design spaces that have purposeful flow and connection, and are modern, flexible, fluid and engage the outdoors. They approached Dooley Social Change* in the fall of 2018 to assist with their marketing research.

The challenge was to get the people who would be using, or potentially using, the facility energized, thinking, strategizing, and implementing healthy living in new and innovative ways. Making innovation work is hard work—and it all comes down to understanding the audience. Our research utilized citizen-focused design thinking, participative design, actor engagement and co-creation. Focus groups in combination with visual exercises were used to gain validation for existing healthy living drivers and to discover new drivers that would inform a Vivo architectural expansion plan and new brand experience.

As a result of the research, there are now updated brand drivers and several architectural elements are being considered. Most importantly, Vivo is implementing a new brand strategy to innovate healthy living on the users terms. Vivo is now using strategic research insights to plan programs, strengthen brand messages, reduce barriers to cost, connect people in new ways, and update architectural expansion plans to ensure they are aligned with community needs.

Learn more about Vivo at

*In partnership with Lemonade Innovation Tank.

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