The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)

Family by Family is TACSI’s most successful programme to date. Image courtesy of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)
Case Study

“Our role is to take organisations in Australia on a journey towards becoming high-impact social innovators.” 

Carolyn Curtis, CEO, TACSI

  • Methods
  • Partnersh- ips
  • Team
Location in government

Regional government

Mission statement

“To build the innovation capacity of Australia’s social change sector and help tackle our toughest problems.”

SIze of team


Annual spend

£2.2 million1

Example of impact

An evaluation of TACSI’s Family by Family programme found it had a 90 per cent success rate in improving family life, with estimated to have saved £7 of government money for every £1 invested in it.2

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) is a social innovation lab with a mission to tackle some of Australia’s most pressing economic, social, environmental and cultural challenges. It attempts to do this by “cracking open the current systems at crisis points”, designing new services and solutions in partnership with citizens and service users.

What it does

All of TACSI’s work is guided by a belief that co-production, where citizens and professionals work together to co-design and co-deliver projects, holds the key to solving social challenges.

One example of TACSI's work is the Family by Family project. This is a new model of family support designed with families to address the growing demand on crisis services and the increasing number that are unable to manage chronic stress and isolation. TACSI worked with more than 100 families to identify causes of crisis and isolation and potential solutions. This led to prototyping and later scaling the Family by Family network, where families that have experienced and overcome hardships and grievances are trained and paired with other families who are currently experiencing stress but are eager to make improvements. 

Interesting features
  • Team: to address the lack of service design and co-production skills in Australia, TACSI recruited internationally to get their first projects of the ground.
  • Partnerships: although it operates as an independent not-for-profit organisation, a key feature of TACSI is its strong partnership with government. TACSI’s initial seed funding from government and the political support from the South Australian Government was crucial in developing the organisation’s proof of concept for its methods.
  • Methods: with inspiration from social sciences, design and business thinking, TACSI has developed a co-production methodology to develop solutions directly with service users and those responsible for delivering them.
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  1. Confirmed in email correspondence with Nesta, May 2014, conversion: (AUD) 0.534812 to £1, as exchange rate on 21/01/2013, taken from:
  2. Community Matters Pty Ltd (2012) ‘Family by Family Evaluation Report 2011-12’. Available online: [Last accessed 4 April 2014]

Photo Credit: Family by Family is TACSI’s most successful programme to date. Image courtesy of The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI)

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Friday, June 27, 2014 - 16:23