Foundations in Social Innovation (FINSI) is a six month foundation course based on everything we’ve learnt at TACSI about doing social innovation well.

After 3 years of prototyping with the TACSI team we’re now opening it up to other participants. 

Over 6 months, hosted by TACSI’s Chief Innovation Officer Chris Vanstone, you’ll explore the fundamentals of social innovation – through TACSI’s work, key theory, thinkers, practitioners, and case studies from around the world.

The course is relevant to practitioners, leaders and funders who aim to do, support, or create the conditions for, social innovation. Whilst the course is relevant for beginners practitioners with decades of experience have also found it valuable.

FINSI is based on the principles that guide TACSI’s work:

  • Act in Allyship with First Nations Peoples, Knowledges and Country
  • Think and act systemically 
  • Be rigorous in imagination and experimentation
  • Embrace diversity in decision making 
  • Learn and grow together
Example pages of different tools that are included in this course.

Learning outcomes

At the end of FINSI you’ll be able to answer these questions:

  • What is good social innovation, who is doing it well?
  • Who can I learn from about doing it better?
  • What can I change about myself, my organisation and the systems I’m part of to further social innovation?

What you get

  • 18 x 1hr live zoom sessions with 15 of your fellow learners, including TACSI staff. Live sessions recap on the main learning points, provide a space for personal reflection and feature interactive learning experiences to deepen your understanding.
  • The FINSI podcast – Hosted by Chris featuring thinkers, writers and practitioners from around the world talking about their work. Each episode introduces a module.
  • The Beginners Guide to Social Innovation – A children’s book that doubles as the coursebook.
  • The FINSI coursedeck – Somewhere between a course book and a slide deck the course deck summarises the main learning points, frameworks, and visual references, complementing the podcast and live sessions.
  • Read and watch list – A list of books, articles, videos and films to extend you social innovation learning. With recommendations for each 18 modules.
  • TACSI Academy account – FINSI is all conveniently served up on the TACSI Academy platform.
Example pages of different tools that are included in this course.

The modules

1: What is FINSI?
An introduction to the 2023 course

2: What is good social innovation?
The principles that underpin FINSI

3: Being a social innovator
The emotional work of social innovation

4: Better social outcomes
Defining wellbeing

5: Connecting innovation to outcomes
Introducing program theory

6: Thinking in systems
Systemic vs reductive thinking

7: Modelling systems
Six ways for shared understanding

8: Acting in systems
Options for action

9: Stories of systems
Helpfully communicating complexity

10: Intent, discovery & invention
The 1st half of the innovation journey

11: Implementation & more invention
The 2nd half of the innovation journey

12: The what of participation
The power of participatory approaches

13: The how of participation
Making it happen 

14:An Aboriginal perspective  
On co-design and self-determination

15: Systematising social innovation
Internal and external conditions

16: First Nations recap
Social innovation and allyship

17: What’s good, how would you know?
Putting it all together 

18 Looking back, looking forward
Learning reflections & projections

Your facilitator

Chris Vanstone
Chief Innovation Officer, TACSI

Chris started his career designing biscuits and razors before transitioning into social innovation over 20 years ago.

As TACSI’s CIO, he’s responsible for keeping TACSI at the cutting edge of social innovation, playing a big role in the development of our practice, major initiatives and strategy.

Chris’ goal is to democratise social innovation. He’s always striving to get important concepts into the world in ways that are clear.

Chris Vanstone

Sample materials

Listen to episode 14: An Aboriginal perspective on Co-design and self-determination with Dana Shen and Aunty Vickey Charles.

Timing, pricing and availability

The time commitment is one hour a week podcast listening, and one hour a week live zoom session. 

FINSI 2023 live sessions will start weekly from Feb 17 2023, until end June at 12:30pm-1:30pm AEST

Limited places are now available in FINSI 2023 at a special price of $2,500 per head.

Four free places are currently available in FINSI 2023 for people identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

A second cohort is planned to start mid 2023.

Enquire below.


We wish to acknowledge the knowledge that has been shared by First Nations practitioners, writers and thinkers that is woven throughout this course.