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Sure We Can's Engagement Strategy

Sure We Can was founded in 2007 in Brooklyn, New York to provide canners a welcoming place to redeem and connect with others engaged in the same endeavor. Since then, it has experienced consistent growth, and in 2015 processed approximately 10 million cans and bottles for redemption. 


Sure We Can supports canners; the people who collect cans and bottles from the trash to recycle them. This activity helps them keep a roof over their heads, provide for their families and also reduces the amount of cans and bottles heading to landfills. From Sure We Can’s collection activities to their education programs, they promote social inclusion, environmental awareness and economic empowerment. 


Worked on this framework as a member of LEAP Entrepreneurship Club at The New School in New York City, USA.


Strategic Design Framework

Project for

Sure We Can






The collaboration between LEAP Entrepreneurship Club and Sure We Can originated with the objective of understanding Sure We Can’s role in the recycling system.


By analyzing how the facility functions through direct observations and background research, the aim was to create an Engagement Strategy Framework for the recycling hub to broaden their stakeholder engagement through a more strategic approach.



The Engagement Strategy Framework outlines the potential growth and impact strategy for Sure We Can to engage with their stakeholders in order to reach their goals as a leading sustainability hub in New York City.



We conducted a workshop at the facility where we learnt about the process of recycling, the stakeholders Sure We Can currently interacts with and what loopholes the management faces in terms of facilitating the space. We also interviewed the canners and staff while observing their daily duties to get an idea of the entire experience.


Ecosystem Mapping

Understanding more about the experience helped us map out Sure We Can’s ecosystem more comprehensively and led us to possible opportunity areas that can be looked into in order to increase engagement between all the stakeholders. We focussed on developing a strategy to make Sure We Can a leader in the sustainable economy.


Journey Mapping

We arranged our observations from the canners and the administrative staff to compare the positive and negative feedback. By doing this, we were able to link different insights to one another to brainstorm possible solutions. We found that the main problems faced by this sustainability hub revolve around creating more storage space for the canners, finding a use for the mixed material and forging collaboration with the key players especially their relationship with their distributers.


Opportunity Areas

The opportunity areas we proposed to Sure We Can complimented their existing programs as well as gave ideas for new initiatives that they might consider taking on. We highlighted the impact of awareness through their education and community engagement programs – and how they could further implement them.

Value Creation

Social media campaigns are the most cost effective way for them to promote the work they do and by collaborating with their distributors, they can endorse them as brands who are sustainable and adhere to the responsible packaging innovation law. Local schools and partners play a very important role in their ecosystem as well.


To maximize storage space at the facility, design students from local design schools could be invited to come up with innovative solutions that will be easy to implement in the existing space. Sure We Can can also collaborate with shipping container companies to provide old containers for storage space.


 Team Credit:  Gonzalo Rovegno Rocha, Harold Padilla Villa, Gautam Chaitanya, Valentina Beltran Garcia, Suma Balaram

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