A focused division within DrawHistory, Counterbrace is a social research and learning lab that goes where others won’t to investigate and evolve the unjust systems holding society back.

Counterbrace (formerly known as SynqUp) is the evolution of a practice Kosta Lucas has led since 2016. We combine rich social research with grounded community practice to understand and address complex and polarising challenges — from extremism to climate anxiety. For more on our journey, read our blog post.

Our Approach

How can we develop civically-minded communities that prevent harm and prompt participation?

How can we strengthen traditional institutions as their memberships continue to decline?

How can we make space to build a common understanding of each other, our goals, and our communities?

How can we know if truth is important to our communities?


We have a collective approach to problem-solving that starts with the diverse people we’re designing for and ends with new solutions that solve real problems. Each inquiry starts with understanding that solutions lie in the communities where the problem is experienced.

Guided by lived experience

We believe that organizations and individuals should realise and recognize the prevalence of trauma, understand how trauma affects all individuals involved in a community, and respond by putting that knowledge into practice.


We know that research is always part of the context in which it takes place. Our team holds space to account for power imbalances in order to allow multiple nuanced perspectives to manifest through our work.

What we do
Decoding attitudes and actions

We seek out useful revelations about people and the world we live in to craft local and global cultural fluency.

Guiding community traction

We develop strategies for community leaders and their organizations through comprehensive analysis of relevant social issues.

Humanizing online data

We identify and excavate patterns of data on current and emerging behaviours through forensic investigation of online content.

Training for collective impact

We provide moderation, tools, advisory, and resources for capacity-building across organizations in the name of collective impact.

Research & Insights

  • Future Foresight
  • Trends Forecasting
  • Generational Research
  • Semiotics & Cultural Insights
  • Segment Discovery & Illumination
  • Consumer Behavior Insights

Community Engagement

  • Consultation Design and Delivery
  • Community Program Development
  • Non-traditional Stakeholder Management
  • Dialogue Facilitation and Moderation
  • Community Education Resources
  • Activation Planning

Organizational Strategy

  • Organization Vision & Purpose
  • Process & Program Design
  • Change Management & Socialization
  • Capacity-Building Training and Tools

More is needed to move forward. Our workshops help you navigate pressing social issues in today’s world.

Talking Taboo: A Guide To Facilitating Brave Conversations

Talking Taboo is a two-day workshop about unlocking the power of group conversation to explore sensitive issues and allow this interrogation to make way for breakthroughs. On Day 1, we seek to first understand the nature of taboo, why it exists, its function, and why it’s something that can impede progress in community settings but also reveal opportunities. Approaching Day 2, we examine the role of facilitators in group conversations and use archetypes and mental models to embody the learnings of good facilitation.


Read more

The Fundamentals of Advocacy Strategy Design
Contact us today

Ready to connect with our team?

The future waits for us, even now, as we interrogate community rituals, pathologies, and celebrations to find the way forward.

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