NDIS Readiness and Beyond

The NDIS and pressures on service providers to become NDIS-ready has been making news in the last week following the release of the Productivity Commission report in to the scheme’s costs. Our submission to the Commission focused on new ways to help providers become ready to better the needs of people with a disability, based on our recent report NDIS Readiness and Beyond.

Download the NDIS Readiness and Beyond Report

Download our submission to the Productivity Commission

Jamming Globally

Matt Ryan and President Markel Olano

The TACSI team travelled far and wide in October presenting and speaking at a number of conferences and venues.

Matt Ryan our Director of Public Policy and Strategy, recently travelled to Spain where he presented on his experiences in engaging citizens in the development and delivery of government policies and services. CEO Carolyn Curtis spoke at the 7th International Careers Conference in Adelaide as part of Open State and the Victorian Council of Social Services Conference Australia – creating the future we want 2030, sharing the TACSI vision of Australia as a leader in social innovation, addressing the big issues with solutions that match the same of the problems.

Senior Innovator, Lucy Fraser, visited Colombia to speak at the Global Goals Jam hosted by LABCapital, the Public Innovation Lab of the city in Bogota. Joining her were social innovators from around the world including Charlotte Pothecary from Snook, UK, Miguel Melgarejo from Cirklo, Mexico, Maarten Terpstra from MediaLab Amsterdam, Nina Narelle from XPlane, USA and Javier Guillot from Feeling, Colombia.

The Jam focussed on four of the Global sustainable development goals – poverty, health and wellbeing, education and sustainable communities. While over two days, teams made up of the general public, design students and public servants ‘jammed’ their way through a condensed design process. The teams utilising their own experience as social innovators interviewed people on the streets of Bogota in order to ideate and design solutions around a hypothetical finally sharing these in a group session that highlighted the influence our backgrounds have on what people share with us and how we think as innovators.

October was also colloquially coined Spring-fest in South Australia with a host of international and national speakers lined up for Open State 2017. Our own Dr Ingrid Burkett shared a stage with Architect and Innovator, Indy Johar who discussed innovation within service design in ‘New Foundations for Social Change’ by challenging and adding context around the difficulties faced in Dandenong Victoria within the unemployment and service system, and how to address the often-complex relationship between skills, training, wages and Employment Services.

Harnessing the share economy to tackle homelessness

Older people struggling to find affordable housing are being paired with lonely baby boomers who own their own homes in an Airbnb style project aimed at tackling both homelessness and social isolation.

Our Place is a program developed by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation and is a finalist in the South Australian Government’s Share Challenge, which invited ideas for a business or social initiative that uses share economy principles.

The Share Challenge was started in March this year in response to pressing social issues facing the State – with a `pitch’ event being held in October to decide the eventual winners.

TACSI Director of Public Policy and Strategy Matt Ryan said Our Place was combining the general principles of accommodation site Airbnb with those of relationship apps like Tinder to bring about an innovative social solution.

“Divorce, unemployment and unaffordable rents are leading to increasing homelessness among older people,” Mr. Ryan said.

“At the same time, there has been a rise in sole-owner houses, which has led to an increase in isolation and loneliness among baby boomers.

Our Place is aiming to match people who are seeking an affordable home with people who own their homes and have space to share.

But it’s more than matching people with affordable housing – we are aiming to build connections between people who would like to share a home in the long term.

It’s about building stronger and healthier communities.

We believe that we can work to pair like-minded people to support each other and both reduce homelessness and address some serious health and well-being issues that are facing our community.”

Homelessness increased by 27 per cent for people aged 55-64 from 2006 to 2011, according to “Housing Boomers report on housing” published by Shelter SA on February 2016.

The demand for affordable housing for older people will increase dramatically as the proportion of the population over 65 increases from 14% in 2011 to 20% in 2036, “Housing Boomers report on housing” published by Shelter SA on February 2016.

Meanwhile, the impact of loneliness and social isolation on health and well- being amongst the elderly has been equated to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is twice as harmful as obesity. Beer and Faulkner 2013 university of Adelaide.

Our Place participant Sue of Semaphore said she was no longer comfortable living alone. In her late sixties, she has lived in places all over Australia with her family. Now she has returned to Adelaide and is living alone. In her words, her children now have their own lives, but she sees them occasionally and they talk often on the phone.

She is divorced and currently rents a unit on her own provided by a local aged care provider which she describes as adequate in terms of layout and space. However, she says it feels ‘soulless’ and ‘empty’ to her’. She’s tried to fill it with mementoes and pictures and things she cares about, but stills finds the overall environment lacking.

Sue has tried a home sharing program that SA government offered in the past, but it didn’t work out for her.

“When I came back to Adelaide eight years ago, I still had a network of friends here, but they are pretty well all into couple arrangements, and as we get older, it’s not as easy to do things and see people,” Sue said.

“It helped me reflect what I am valuing in my life and what I am aspiring for.

I don’t want to live on my own – it’s not comfortable. I would be happy to have someone to share because then I could talk to people.”

Our Place was developed as part of TACSI’s Innovation Age project (funded by the Wicking Trust), which aims to reveal insights into housing for the future.

A copy of the TACSI submission can be downloaded here

South Australian home-grown innovation set to scale

With support from the South Australian Government, from the 1st October 2017 Family by Family transitioned its South Australian operations to Uniting Communities, a long-term supporter and investor in Family by Family along with the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development (DECD).

This marked the beginning of a new journey for the social innovation and implementation of the program in South Australia, with the scaling indicative of one of the many successful programs that The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) has implemented since 2008. In 2017 the SA Government increased funding for Family by Family to $3m over two years to support the further development and testing of the infrastructure for scaling the program.

With the increased support from the State Government and the new scaling of operations Family by Family Lead, Vita Maiorano commented,

“It’s an exciting turning point in the Family by Family story, to be scaling with long term partner and investor Uniting Communities – we’re excited and keen to build the scaling infrastructure with such a committed and values aligned team.”

‘This transition signifies an important step toward scaling a home-grown model that makes a real difference for families’.

added Carolyn Curtis CEO of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation.

By working to scale in partnership with Uniting Communities, Family by Family hopes to spread awareness about the program and the impact it has day to day for families, so that ultimately more can thrive across South Australia.

CEO of Uniting Communities, Simon Schrapel, says the organisation is excited to welcome Family by Family into its broad suite of programs.

“A large part of Uniting Communities’ work involves supporting children and families, particularly before they reach a crisis point,” said Mr Schrapel. “Family by Family is a wonderful initiative that extends beyond traditional support methods, empowering families to support and learn from each other. We want to see people living the best lives they can. Families play a vital role in this, nurturing compassion and resilience, so when families thrive, individuals thrive and, as a result, so do our communities.”

Whilst the operations of Family by Family will transfer to Uniting Communities, TASCI will continue to design and test the scaling infrastructure needed to continue to deliver outcomes for families.



Train your organisation in social innovation practices

Training your team in a fast-paced environment is a constant challenge for every organisation. More so in the field of innovation, policy and strategy where an engaged and informed workforce is an asset.

The Australian Centre of Social Innovation has a detailed portfolio of workshops, coaching and seminars that you can access for your organisation.

Social innovation is a growing field, and increasing in relevance for many organisations involved in service design and policy. Our workshops and training sessions are highly practical and immediately applicable in the workplace.

Our services include:

  • Coaching
  • Introductory seminars
  • Foundation intensives
  • Specialist skill development
  • Co-design training

We also have a series of bespoke sessions that can be tailored to your organisation including Systems Innovation by Design, Funding Innovation for Social Impact, Building In-House Innovation Capability, Social Innovation for Leaders and Managers and Social Innovation for Design Practitioners.

Learning is different for every organisation and our tailored training covers approaches for designing service models, business models, policy commissioning and funding as well as systems innovation.

Download the catalogue

TACSI People – Sarah Hurcombe

With a career founded in the UK, Principal of our Sydney team Sarah Hurcombe came to TACSI with a strong skillset and an enviable CV of experience. As a country girl from Northern NSW it was a big change when her first and longest role in London was to support elected members of the London Assembly to scrutinise the Mayor of London’s strategy and policy decisions.

Working alongside both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson talking to and gathering insights and views from ordinary Londoner’s – from young people in the youth justice system, to survivors of breast cancer – was a highlight of this time for Sarah. Bringing politicians face to face with citizens, the users of services and front-line staff continued to be a passionate theme for her work, and, as she is fond of saying “politicians are people too…you’ve just got to figure out what makes them tick” her ongoing drive is to find the things that influencers are passionate about – what will help make a difference, an outcome, and how can action help achieve outcomes. Working with the UK Cabinet Office as part of the Government Innovation group was another highlight, leading a passionate and hard-working group advising the Minister for Civil Society and developing policy and funding for 15 million pounds worth of programs focussed on improving the evidence base of patient and community led health and care.

To this end Sarah believes that social action, and social innovation, is about encouraging individuals and communities to address issues that matter to them, whether through formal volunteering, peer to peer models or through more informal ways. In her work, she strives to bring together the voice of users and citizens with decision makers, funders and deliverers and to challenge the status quo and explore new ways of thinking and doing things.

2017 Upcoming Events