Furthering Self-Determination

Collaboration and partnership to support Community-led innovation.

At The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, we know that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have long histories of innovation, systemic thinking, problem solving and resilience.

We believe that in working toward equity, innovation has a role to play in honouring and amplifying Aboriginal-led solutions. We’re committed to walking alongside Aboriginal Communities and working in partnership to help realise a future shaped by First Nation people.

This community mural was created in Lake Cargelligo by local artists in partnership with a local school and business, lower Lachlan community services and the Growing Lachlan initiative – addressing priorities of Community Renewal, Cultural Recognition, Respect and Participation. Through one of our projects, the Regional Innovator’s Network (RIN), TACSI works with the Growing Lachlan initiative and the Community Connector in Lake Cargelligo, Shane Phillips.

We’re committed to collaboration that furthers self–determination and creates better futures for all.

Our approach to partnership is all about genuine collaboration and co-decision making. We work with Aboriginal teams to accelerate innovation work and impact through facilitating a process while community members drive content and decision making. Usually, our partnerships focus on creating new and better experiences, building capability or designing a vision.


We understand that while we must respond to the current pressing needs, often systems and strategies aren’t appropriate or sufficient. We work shoulder-to-shoulder with community to improve the now while planning and building alternatives for the future such as self-determined policy, reform or strategies.


We believe that the best and most sustainable solutions emerge from and are led by communities themselves. We invest in building co-design and social innovation capability in community members or teams to identify critical issues, develop and implement appropriate responses.


We appreciate the vast amount of research that has been done to date as well as the knowledge that the Aboriginal community holds about what will work best. Alongside Aboriginal staff and service users, we help communities develop new and better service experiences or adapt existing programs to be safe.

What we’ve learned from Aboriginal community about partnership:

Further Self-Determination

We believe projects should be driven, governed and owned by community; we respect data sovereignty and cultural IP.

Relationships first

We seek to earn trust and setup work to be flexible with timelines and pace

See the connection

We aim to respond to needs of the now and plan for a sustainable self-determined future.

Strengthen what’s been started

We will recognise diversity, listen to experience and build upon existing evidence.

Tell great stories

We will create space for visual learning, tactile sharing and storytelling.

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Co-designing Initiatives to Reduce Over Representation in the Criminal Justice System

“For too long Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia has been treated as being infantile compared to non-Aboriginal Australia. Truth is there is 65,000+ years of knowledge and wisdom, with a long history of innovation, systemic thinking, problem solving and resilience.”

Aunty Vickey Charles

Aunty Vickey Charles

Social Innovator: Families and Cultural Connections

Meet the Furthering Self-determination team

Changing real lives

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