What is Stretch2Engage?

A contemporary set of best practice principles to guide the engagement of people using services and their friends and families in service design and re-design in Queensland’s mental health, alcohol and other drug sectors.


I can’t afford to say yes to all my client’s desires, but one thing is certain –
I can’t afford the outrageous cost of not listening to their requests.

Adapted from John Yokoyama, When Fish Fly

Flipping the thinking

Stretch2Engage is founded on values which acknowledge engagement of people with a lived experience, their families and carers as a human right fundamental to citizenship. This value sees engagement as being important in its own right while acknowledging the benefits to services who engage effectively.

To give effect to these values, the project’s principles require organisations to think and act differently. They call on services to think about engagement activities by asking the question: ‘How can my organisation more effectively engage?’ This question differs significantly from the usual approach of asking ‘how we can enable people with a lived experience, families, carers and friends to engage with us?’

This flips the engagement approach and puts the emphasis on organisations to build up their capability.  The change of focus influences how engagement is viewed, funded, assessed and evaluated, by organisations.


We can’t sit in our offices and decide what customers need. They’re always changing. They’re constantly becoming something else. They adapt. They learn. They grow. They’re not simply passive consumers; they’re actually dynamic collaborators and authors of their own futures.

Adapted from Michael Shrage, What Do You Want Your Customers to Become?

The Value Domains

The framework identifies seven value domains:

  1. Stretch2Be Curious: Eager to know or learn
  2. Stretch2Be Clear: Initiatives are transparent in their reason and are easily understood.
  3. Stretche2Be Champion: Vigorously lead, promote and support the organisation in their engagement initiatives
  4. Stretch2Be Creative: Use of imaginative methods to evoke new ideas
  5. Stretch2Be Collective: Intentionally seek out and engage people from diverse backgrounds and experiences
  6. Stretch2Be Comprehensive: Willing to explore all aspects and embrace divergent views
  7. Stretch2Be Committed: Pledge to ongoing service engagement initiatives

These value domains are used to identify Stretch2Engage practice principles and how they can be applied in engagement activities.