The body of work on SI is growing. The following resources are essential reading in understanding what makes this community led approach so unique.

As Community Four’s work in community strengthening continues, so too does the development of the Symbiotic Innovation model.

In this definitive document on the ground breaking approach, our CEO and founder, Gavin Ackerly, explores how we can create environments where social challenges act as catalysts to unite and strengthen our communities.


Gavin Ackerly’s two presentations at the 2015 Oxford Refugee Studies Centre Humanitarian Innovation Conference. Gavin speaks on Symbiotic Innovation and how the work of the humanitarian agency is to understand how nodes in community networks play an important role in building bridges between emerging and more established communities.



Gavin Ackerly’s thought leadership series on Symbiotic Innovation and community led social change

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‘This Churchill Fellowship Report: Humanitarian Symbiotic Innovation explores world’s best practice in service user led humanitarian innovation. It is a significant extension of my previous work on the Humanitarian Symbiotic Innovation (SI) model. The Churchill Fellowship enabled me to achieve a profound shift in my understanding of the practical applications and possibilities of SI as a legitimate alternative to current humanitarian and development approaches. The report begins with an explanation of the SI theory and the 8 principles of practice. Beneath each principle there is a section “Methodology of Practice – learnings from the Churchill Fellowship” where I detail the relative methods of practice used by the organisations I visited.’

– Gavin Ackerly, Founder, Humanitarian Symbiotic Innovation

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Summary of Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre report on Humanitarian Symbiotic Innovation. The full report ‘presents an in-depth case study of the new Innovation Hub at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne, Australia, where a radical approach to humanitarian innovation has been developed and is in the process of being adopted. The ‘Symbiotic Innovation’ (SI) concept encapsulates a new way of conceiving of the organisation-beneficiary relationship. SI fundamentally challenges the mindset of the traditional humanitarian organisation and establishes an environment for co-creating solutions with people seeking asylum (the ASRC’s target population) rather than on behalf of them. This case-study documents the evolution of SI at the ASRC.’ – Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University, UK.

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Gavin Ackerly writes about the birth of the Humanitarian Symbiotic Innovation model.

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“For every refugee who experiences long term unemployment or under employment, is one person who is unable to utilize their fullest potential for the betterment of Australia.”

Gavin Ackerly contributes to an UNHCR Innovation article written by MOULID HUJALE on the concept of successful settlement.

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‘Bringing the Right Stuff’ Gavin Ackerly speaks to The Age Newspaper about the development of the ASRC Innovation Hub.

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Gavin has been instrumental in the formulation of Bunifu model.
Daniel Muhwezi
We are really proud of the achievement we have attained in the short period of time working with Gavin and Community Four.
Mohamed Nabe
The Secretary  - Southern Rivers Community Services
Community Four is vital to our plans to execute what we want to do in a sustainable and effective way.
Leon Kennedy
General Manager  - Proud Mary Coffee Company
We proudly support the work of Community Four in building the capacity of community-led organisations such as ours.
Gavin’s workshop was fundamental in helping our social enterprise project get to the next level.
Elle Morrell
Community Development Manager  - Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre
Community Four have provided valuable education to our staff and industry on how to engage with diverse communities.
Jack Henty
Football Development Manager - South East  - AFL Victoria
Innovation that does not involve the people it is meant to assist is not innovation – it is, in fact, part of the problem.
Gavin Ackerly
CEO  - CommunityFour
Gavin quickly earned the trust of our organisation through his ability to listen and learn from our staff and community members.
Nail Aykan
Executive Director  - Islamic Council of Victoria
The group looks forward to continue working with (Community Four) to develop the Symbiotic Innovation model through applying it to an Information Systems Social Impact context.