Design and Innovation

What is a design team doing inside a social services agency?

BACI’s design team works within the agency and with our partners to rethink and redesign services, support our staff’s capacity to innovate, and work with folks with disabilities — to design with them and encourage them to be involved in design and advocacy projects.

What type of design?
Service design!

We are taking a human-centred design approach to social innovation. Service design is about zooming in and out to see someone’s journey through life and designing whatever tool is needed to address issues or improve outcomes. We strive for an equity-centred approach to design and hope to build capacity in our organization and in the community for social design.

How do we work?

a group of people look at sticky notes on a white board

Facilitation and Design Thinking

We support teams to look at problems in new ways. We can do this by visualizing the journey people take through their services, or by doing some research and evaluation. Then we look at ways to understand the deeper problems and brainstorm new solutions.

A group of people sit on either side of a long cafe table covered in stickers, papers and writing tools.

Ideating and Testing

Once there are ideas for how to address issues, we use design methods to sketch and mock up different solutions. We test ideas out and learn as much as we can. Then we look and see if an idea is working and how we might implement it in existing routines.

Two people are sitting at a table using and testing stitched services tools

Prototyping and Implementing

When we have big ideas and projects, we will spend a long time in the prototyping and implementation phase. This means we are designing as we go, learning from what is happening and making adjustments. We never see a project as fully complete and always want to find new ways to improve and enhance our services.

Some of our projects:

Stitched Services

Stitched Particpant and co pilot work in a library

Developing a new co-pilot role and service model to ‘stitch’ together existing services, like BEST Employment, Community Connnectors, Outreach and Kudoz, using a library of new tools.


A collection of newbe artifacts

Testing different ways to welcome new staff, introducing new kinds of opportunities and information into the process. NewBE didn’t stick around but our lessons learned still do.

Rights Handbook

rights and reponsbility handbook front cover and inside

A communication and accessibility project to explore how to better inform and empower folks to understand their rights and responsibilities.

Pod Model

illustration of group of people planning outside what they are going to be doing

An in-progress project to design a new service model for group-based Community Inclusion, supporting the teams in development and research.

LSN Service Mapping

Green poster covered in sticky notes with a dotted arrow going across the top in the direction of the user journey

Supporting the Life Sharing team to visualize their team processes to better understand, document and address pain points in their service journey.

Wider Social Research and Development at BACI

Finding new and better ways of doing things has been part of the fabric of the organization since BACI was founded by families over 60 years ago. 

Since then, BACI has been pushing boundaries, asking lots of questions, and knowing that there is always room to do things differently.  BACI’s commitment to learning and growth has evolved over the years — from shifting towards community-based supports, exploring social enterprise, to new service models. Social Research and Development has always had a place at BACI. This timeline shows the evolution of Social R&D and the projects and initiatives that have come from that journey.

Some of our


Degrees of Change
A partnership in Social Research and Development with InWithForwardKinsight & posAbilities  to create better lives for the people we serve and more engaging work for our staff.

Rick Hansen Foundation
BACI’s Barrier Buster project (installing a strobe light fire alarm system at our Still Creek centre to benefit people who are deaf or hard of hearing) was made possible by The Rick Hansen Foundation Access4All Canada 150 Signature Project, supported by the Government of Canada.

Some Social Innovation Projects and Milestones


Community Connectors

A partnership between 4 agencies to build more caring communities and to connect people with natural supports.


The Starter Project

New partner InWithForward (IWF) moved into BACI housing in partnership with posAbilites and Kinsight.



From The Starter Project came Kudoz — an experience platform connecting people with and without disabilities to splendid things to do, together.


5th Space

A project with agency partners and IWF to bring staff at all levels into the design and prototyping process.
More on 5th Space >


Real Talk

Coming from the 5th Space ‘Ask a Dude’ project, Real Talk is a sexual health initiative aimed at people with cognitive disabilities and their supporters. Our goal is to help people feel more comfortable with having honest conversations about dating, love, relationships and sex. Check out their website for educational videos and events.


Stitched Services

Providing well-coordinated adaptable supports that help people to reach bigger goals. It’s a combination of BEST Employment Services, Community Connectors, Outreach Services and Kudoz. It’s a support that has collaboration and flexibility at its core. We expect the mix of supports to change over time as people learn and grow.


Grounded Space

A social innovation launchpad bringing in 3 Teams from BACI, posAbilities and Kinsight, along with IWF.
More on Grounded Space>


BACI Design Team

After finishing Grounded Space, a formal BACI Design Team is started to pursue new projects inside and outside the agency.


The Design Team doesn’t just work inside BACI — we’ve also supported projects with our partners at InWithForward, Kinsight and posAbilities, such as:

Kinsight LIFE-Based Service Pilot

The Design Team supported the design of tools and the start of a new model at Kinsight which is similar to our Stitched Services.


This posAbilities prototype started during the Grounded Space project as a way to bring soul, creativity and heart to people. The Design Team has lightly supported testing efforts and coordination at BACI.


A digital platform for experiences started in response to the pandemic. Run by the Kudoz IWF team, BACI’s Design Team supported the startup phase and did some research with people who joined calls.

Want to find out more about what we do?

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