TACSI’s approach to innovation evolves as we try new methods and learn what works in practice. In our experience effective social innovation is the result of projects, teams and leaders that enable five things to happen.

1 Shifting assumptions

Any innovation is based on assumptions about the current situation, what’s possible and what will work locally. A good innovation approach improves assumptions about the current situation and widens assumptions about what’s possible. This requires a team open to learning and an organisation willing to be challenged. Practically this means teams working “in-the-office” to make assumptions explicit and then testing and refining these assumptions “out-of-the-office” through qualitative research and prototyping.

2 Learning from people

Social innovation is about people and people are the best experts in their own lives. Good innovation draws on people’s real life expertise at all stages to build solutions that work for them. Practically this means teams skilled in listening and seeing thing from other’s perspectives. Organisationally this takes leaders who can make people and outcomes a priority.

3 Blending diverse thinking

Breakthrough innovation comes from the application of new thinking to long standing problems. That takes teams able to draw on a wide set of references and capabable of recombining their knowledge to develop new solutions. At TACSI’s we build our teams to blend thinking from design, business, social science.

4 Experimentation

Good innovation gets to solutions that work more quickly through experimentation. Practically that means prototyping – trying things out at a small scale and making mistakes early to reduce the risk of failure at a larger scale. This takes leadership that is willing to invest in short term risk taking for long term benefit and management that is comfortable with a degree of uncertainty.

5 Commitment to implementation

Significant social outcomes can only come from solutions that are implemented and grow to match the magnitude of the social problems they address. Practically this means thinking about scale and designing for implementation from the start. This requires leadership willing to comit the resources to embrace a rigorous approach to developing, testing and spreading solution that work.


We help organisations do social innovation

TACSI help organisations develop, test and spread effective innovations in practice, in services, in systems and policy. We build the capability of organisations to find opportunities, design solutions, trial solutions and spread solutions.




Find Opportunities

Succesful innovation starts with informed strategic choices. We help organisations understand problems and test assumptions with on-the-ground evidence. We use methods such as rapid-ethnography, semi-structured interviews, storytelling and strategy workshops.

Design Solutions

Good innovation means creative solutions that deliver on-the-ground results. We help organisations work with people to co-design solutions that are attractive and reduce the risk of failure though through prototyping. We help design user experience, staff experience, supporting systems and business models.  

Trial Solutions

We help organisations run trials of promising solutions to generate evidence of social and financial benefit.

Spread Solutions

We help organisations spread proven innovations within their organisation, and to other organisations, by designing implementation support and strategy.