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“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

John Muir

We find answers to the questions you don’t yet have the words for. We live in the place that’s just around the corner.

More than ever our western structures are failing amidst rapidly changing contexts. As our clients’ trusted thinking partners, we help them ask hard questions, connect disparate ideas and imagine the way to a better future.

​Expand your perspective, move beyond old routines and claim new territory.

Ask ​hard ​questions:​

What would it take to make engineering aspirational for girls?


“The Groundswell team is trustworthy, smart, creative and brave. Never before have I worked with a firm that was so talented at creating processes and venues for youth culture to live and breathe without being simplified, exaggerated, or commodified. The insights Groundswell revealed caused a fundamental shift in our thinking enabling us to create more effective, resonant, contemporary strategies.”

Lynsey Kissane
Manager, Strategic Planning and Special Projects Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science Ryerson University

How could we make carsharing natural for millennials?


“Not only was working with Groundswell the right business decision, we were blown away when we realized that more than just a new way of communicating with customers and being relevant, Groundswell had built us a genuine community.”

Kevin McLaughlin
Founder of AutoShare

What could the future of STEM education be in Canada?


In an era of rapid change and technological disruption old systems of education are outdated. But how should we change given an unknown future? Canada2067 is a bold, national initiative that asks just that. We helped bring youth voices to the conversation.

Ruth Silver, Founder & Partner

Ruth is a listener, collector and pattern finder with a knack for making sense of where we’re at collectively and revealing new opportunities for more fulfilling human experiences. Before founding Groundswell, Ruth worked with Annie Liebovitz, Bruce Mau, Urban Strategies and Decode. With a BA in Fine Art & Indigenous Studies from McMaster and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design she’s taught design at the Universities of Toronto and Waterloo, OCADU and Harvard. Her projects have been featured in the Toronto Star, the Grid, MIT news, and extolled by the White House (Obama administration).

Olga Semenovych, Partner

Olga’s profound passion for collaborative governance has led her to Jamaica, Philippines, Ethiopia, Ukraine and to the inner suburbs of Toronto, to support community-led change, economic development and innovation. During her 6-year tenure with the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) she led extensive stakeholder engagement through creative participatory processes. While at the CUI Olga supported the management of federal government-funded projects with annual budgets of over a million dollars that partnered with national and municipal-level governments agencies overseas. Olga now leads the Resilient Communities Practice at Groundswell and has a strong understanding of the needs and challenges of small businesses and start-ups, especially in the context of neighbourhood change and evolving retail industry patterns.


Groundswell brings organizations and the people they serve together. Through design research, community engagement and strategic thinking, we see hidden patterns that inspire resonant outcomes. While our process is consistently rooted in design thinking, our methods, team, and project outcomes are bespoke, because each question we ask and each context we solve it for is unique.

If our clients have one thing in common, it’s that they challenge the status quo in pursuit of meaningful change and community building.

We guide them to live up to their values by seeing the full picture. Sometimes that means addressing things we hadn’t seen before, which can be super hard. Together, we find our way with warmth, humour and integrity.

The future of work, healthcare, education, food systems, financial services….

Autoshare / Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship / Casey HouseDigital Factory / Let’s Talk Science / MasterCard Foundation / United Church / University of Toronto Student Union

Relevant Learning Experiences

Actua / Centennial College / Commission for Environmental Cooperation / National Engineering MonthRoyal Ontario MuseumRyerson University 

Cultures of Wellbeing & Inclusion

Aboriginal Legal Services / Foundation for Jewish Camp / McConnell Foundation / Ministry of EducationOntario Council of Universities / Ontario Trillium Foundation

City Building for People With People

The Bentway / Carshare VermontCity of Toronto / FoodShare  / North York Harvest Food Bank / Toronto District School Board / Waterfront Toronto


If nothing else, let us have new and interesting problems.

Let their solutions demand all of our creative reserves.

Let the destination be ambitious and the route unfamiliar.

Let our travelling companions be curious and courageous.

Let us be truly changed by the time we reach the place we’re headed to.

214 Brock Avenue,
M6K 2L9
Toronto ON