case studies

case studies

our stories of change

Festival of Change

Four lighthouse initiatives from Bourke NSW, Doveton VIC, Logan QLD and Kabulwarnamyo NT have joined forces as part of a collaborative, three-year process called the ‘Festival of Change’.

Supported by Dusseldorp Forum, these groups come together to distil what works and why, share evidence and resources, and build a greater collective voice to advocate for the system changes required to shift long-term outcomes for vulnerable children and communities.

The shared wisdom of these initiatives has been captured in a collective narrative called Our Way. Our Way outlines the challenge of persistent, locational disadvantage in Australia and the social change movement to address it. It shares the collective principles of the movement and the significant results that have been achieved at this early stage. Most importantly it highlights what’s required to sustain this important and exciting work, so that more children and families throughout Australia have the conditions to thrive. Learn more here. The lighthouses have also developed case studies that communicate their individual, ground-breaking work and how they are achieving change. You can read their case studies here

Fiona McKenzie has worked with the Dusseldorp Forum since 2017 to codesign the Festival with participants and to lead facilitation. It is a privilege to be part of the Festival again in 2019 as the collaboration furthers conversations, connections and impact.

What it means to walk alongside: a unique government, philanthropy and community partnership

Working in partnership with the local community, local schools, local council and other local service providers, Our Place is creating an integrated resource that delivers improved educational outcomes for children and families.

First established in Doveton in 2013, the Our Place model is now expanding to a further 10 sites across Victoria over the next 10 years. This has been made possible by a landmark partnership agreement signed between the Colman Foundation and the Department of Education in 2017.

Better understanding the journey and the evolution of the partnership underpinning Our Place will help to inform ongoing implementation and impact. To this end, research is being undertaken to document Our Place as a case study of what it means for government, philanthropy and community to truly walk alongside each other as it scales from one site to several.

This research is being led by the Our Place team, in collaboration with Orange Compass. Findings will be published later this year. Stay tuned! For more on Our Place, please visit:


The purpose of the Waste Not project is to identify if and how it would be possible to intervene in the Australian waste system (broadly defined) in order to significantly reduce waste volumes for improved environmental, social and economic wellbeing. The project is being led by the Australian Futures Project and is funded by the Gourlay Charitable Trust. To create a common understanding of the challenge, Orange Compass was contracted by the Australian Futures Project to conduct a rapid assessment of the Australian waste system to draw out underlying structures, processes, incentives and drivers.

Through interviews with experts and a review of case studies and literature, it was found that the Australian waste system is stuck in its current state due to a number of factors. Or particular importance are mental models and the deep need for changing mindsets, reimagining the language of waste, and shifting the focus from recycling the reuse. Ideally a paradigm shift to a circular economy would also help to change what and how we measure value. There is also great scope to rethink the structures and processes that govern waste systems and the need to unlock new patterns of behaviour. This goes beyond the waste industry itself and must involve entire supply changes particularly where product stewardship and design rules could make a massive difference.

Informed by the findings of the assessment, the Australian Futures Project intends to convene a workshop of key stakeholders and partners to explore promising interventions in the third quarter of 2018. Further action will be scoped out with potential supporters, partners and stakeholders. To learn more, please go to 

WorkUp: Breakthroughs that make a real difference

Orange Compass is proud to be working with the NSW Government's icare foundation on its WorkUp initiative. WorkUp has been specifically designed to partner with organisations to help injured workers across NSW. We’ve worked with the icare foundation to identify key challenges around maintaining or returning to work after a workplace injury and then design a tailored investment process that includes codesign and coaching for applicants.

The process is purposefully collaborative, innovative and a pathway to trusted relationships with new partners. A key element is codesign where, together, partners will co-create new solutions to help those who need them the most get back up and participate in work, and more essentially, their community. WorkUp is a forum to explore, share, challenge and create – where difference is celebrated, everything is considered and a wide range of skills are tapped into. 

Importantly, WorkUp is based on a recognition that prolonged unemployment during the productive years of life impacts on the quality of life of affected individuals and their families. It acknowledges that, in some cases, a return to life is required before a return to work.

icare received a fantastic response to the public WorkUp investment call in June 2018, with more than 90 not-for-profit, business, academic and government organisations applying. 13 teams were selected for the six week codesign phase, which ran from August-September. Three full-day co-design workshops were facilitated by Orange Compass and icare in collaboration with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation and Clear Horizon.

Eight teams have now been chosen as finalists. A total pool of $5 million is available to develop solutions for impact. Stay tuned!

A Wayfinder’s Guide to Systems Transformation

On 30-31 August 2017 in London, 14 participants from around the world met to explore the question of ‘how might we approach transformational change for complex challenges in the future?’  The workshop was convened and co-facilitated by Fiona McKenzie (Director, Orange Compass) and Megan Seneque (Associate, Orange Compass). Participants included a mix of practitioners and academics in systems and design thinking, innovation, and the social and physical sciences. They represented a diversity of sectors, disciplines, and geographies. Participants were:

  • Dr Yannick Beaudoin, Chief Scientist, GRID-Arendal
  • Julie Birtles, ‎Founder, Beyond Excellence
  • Paul Chatterton, Founder and lead, WWF Landscape Finance Lab
  • Sarah Gillinson, Chief Executive, Innovation Unit
  • Sandy Killick, Managing Director, Focused Facilitation
  • Dr Adrienne Mannov, Social Anthropologist, World Maritime University
  • Dr Fiona McKenzie, Co-Founder & Director of Strategy, Australian Futures Project
  • Julie Munk, Network & Project Manager, Social Innovation Exchange
  • Alex Roberts, Innovation Specialist, Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, OECD
  • Valmae Rose, Director, Future By Design Australia
  • Megan Seneque, International Development Advisor, Co-Facilitator, WE-Africa Lab
  • Dr Andrea Siodmok, Head of the Policy Lab; Deputy Director, (UK) Cabinet Office
  • Dr Katherine Trebeck, Global Research Policy Advisor, Oxfam
  • Dieter Van den Broeck, Landscape orchestrator and science/education, Commonland

Participants shared a common commitment to achieving genuine systems transformation and, cumulatively, possessed a wealth of experience in empowering such change - and change makers - in complex contexts.  With this spirit, the workshop involved two days of discussions that featured case studies of participant projects, reflections on lessons learnt, and insights into approaches for creating transformational change.  Despite the diversity of their work, participants found they had common experiences of the joys and frustrations of systems change. They had all been through times of professional loneliness and impatience, times of the exhilaration witnessing a ‘window open’ or minds changed, and we all shared the sense that this work is vital if the future is going to be one of human and ecological wellbeing. The discussion was captured in the publication A wayfinder’s guide to systems transformation: 18 insights for catalysts and convenors. The workshop has also led to a series of new collaborations amongst several of the organisations represented. It also planted the seed about the importance of a new type of navigation for complex systems, out of which the organisation Orange Compass emerged. Given the strong response to the first publication, the group is now considering the creation of a new Wayfinders Guide 2.0 in 2019. Stay tuned!