Designing the Future Service Offer for Civic Disability

How Civic Embraced Service Design Innovation to Transform the Internal and External Experience



The introduction of the NDIS brought disruptive change to the disability sector by changing the funding model for disability supports.

With a vision to realise people’s potential by providing the right support at the right moment, Civic Disability Services saw this market shift as an opportunity to work alongside people with disability and the community to redefine the future of disability supports in Australia and grow in this new environment to cater to demand.

Our challenge was to support Civic to build a sustainable Human centred design framework including a vision, strategy, capability and service design funnel of initiatives designed to deliver community impact. We followed our unique innovation framework process, training a team of 10 champions on an immersive action learning project.

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We worked alongside Civic’s leadership team to define their overarching Ambition by stepping them through our Innovation Framework process. Together we clarified the vision, capability gaps, ‘think tank’ model as well as multiple strategic internal and external opportunities to strengthen impact.

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Our findings lead us to recommending a discovery project focused on the carer journey to help illuminate, prioritise and inform a number of other projects. While internal and external user/‘client’ service needs had to remain a primary focus, the work undertaken led us to discover that addressing the carer experience would significantly impact the client experience.

Working through a four-stage process, it was essential that we gain the trust and collaboration of carers/parents and self-advocates working in tandem with support staff. We mapped carer, client and staff experiences through in situ sessions, interviews, site visits, clinical consultations and informal group sessions.

One by-product was a clearer definition of carer and client segments and their needs, pain points and rules of engagement.

Ideas were explored rapidly through iterative development and frequent test-and-learn sessions.


Because we moved between the holistic and granular view of our client and carer needs, we were able to develop an organisation-wide client-centric solution – the Civic Care Commitment.

The key issues identified by clients and carers throughout the process revolved around:

  • Confusion and frustration of onboarding to the NDIS (from a process and trust-building perspective)

  • A desire for more personalised communications/feedback

  • The challenge of addressing holistic wellness (physical, mental and emotional)

  • A desire for greater support in independence and life smart curriculums

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The Civic Care Commitment that we co-designed with Civic staff, clients and carers entailed several tiers of service delivery through internal process/behaviours, communications, a new life skills curriculum and an integrated well-being blueprint.

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How to Impact immersed themselves in our Not for Profit disability world to truly understand the complexities of our business and our need for transforming the way we approached and responded to a disruptive NDIS market. The How To Impact team worked side by side with us (from front line direct Care Workers to Senior management) to develop a Civic ambition to think creatively, change our work behaviours and enable us to use human centered design in our responsive to providing services to new markets and most importantly co-designing our services to meet the needs of people with a disability to live their lives the way they want.
— Kate Smith, General Manager - CIVIC