Creating an environment for innovation to re-imagine how we deliver quality healthcare for all South Australians

  • The newly created Commision on Excellence and Innovation in Health (CEIH) had to quickly establish itself in an ecosystem with a complex range of stakeholders across SA Health and the health startup landscape.

  • Their goal was to build the capability within the agency to embed ways of working that  were more collaborative so outcomes would have a stronger input from  consumers. 

  • This meant that the agency would need training, tools, and coaching to support them as they built capability in the way they brought people together across their programs of work.


The challenge

The CEIH was set up to support the evolution of new ideas, products, and technologies to industry to drive better healthcare. To achieve this the team needed a model that would help them break through the traditional barriers of bureaucracy associated with government to help them operate faster. 

A great deal of CEIH’s work focuses on continuous improvement and enabling innovation for their health partners. Early on they were dealing with lots of red tape and a team used to working to the beat of a ‘traditional’ government agency. Human-centered design was identified as a means to enable people to shift the way they worked to  ensure that what they were doing started with understanding people impacted by health decisions – health practitioners and consumers. Making sure that they weren’t just working with clinical staff, for example, but actually bringing patients and researchers and all those relevant parties around the table, together.



“Being a government agency, the challenge is that you don’t really have levers to insist that people do things in a particular way. You have to work totally by influence and negotiation – which is hard.”
 Jarrard O’ Brien, CEIH’s Exec. Director of Human Centered Design

The solution

More Space for Light became embedded into the CEIH team over a period of 12 months to build capability for creative and critical thinking for complex problem solving across the agency as well as support CEIH’s partners in the SA Health ecosystem. This was achieved through enabling people to support workshops for CEIH’s ecosystem, one-on-one coaching, and design thinking learning programs.

More Space’s adaptability and agile methods came into play significantly during the program. Healthcare stakeholders are time-poor and often unable to participate in collaborative design processes. To achieve great outcomes a combination of remote, hybrid and in person interactions were designed. People were able to participate and contribute throughout without compromising the integrity of programs or outcomes. 

The other part of the program involved More Space working on the set-up of an innovation pipeline. This type of resource can typically create tension in enterprise organisations, in regards to its impact on existing business models. More Space asked the right questions, helped CEIH establish who the stakeholders were and what they needed, and worked out the value proposition they needed to have at each stage including the partnerships needed. Figuring out how the team would enact change and the process behind it all was also key in the pipeline’s successful set up and execution.

The impact

The More Space program facilitated a key shift in the organisation’s way of working. Design thinking has been embraced and incorporated into all aspects of its BAU – from project management to project cycle. CEIH’s toolkit became part of its workflow and project management framework – and accessible on its website (link here) to both the team and its partners. 

After the training, many of the CEIH team have become facilitators themselves. They’ve embraced a human design-centred mindset, and have the capabilities and the confidence to independently run design sprints, design ideation and problem-framing workshops.  


Jarrard O’ Brien, CEIH’s Executive Director of Human Centered Design

One of our project managers at the time started facilitating sessions after the training and Design Gyms – and she was an incredibly introverted member of staff. For her to do things like that was an example of how it works if you show people how to do it then set them off [on their way].

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