Evelina Bereni1 October 2023

In the spotlight with Inclusee

Imagine it’s your usual Saturday evening. Except you live on an isolated property in Toowoomba and you’re 72 years old. Your kids moved to the UK and Canada many years ago chasing their hopes and dreams. You’re happy for them but you wished they called more often. Especially because your beloved life partner passed away two years earlier. You feel alone. And you’re lonely. 

This is just one of many stories familiar to the team at Inclusee whose mission it is to enhance the lives of older Australians who are vulnerable to loneliness and isolation. It’s no simple task and CEO Rachael Cook recognised that it was going to take a passionate team and some innovation science to achieve their ambitious mission.

Let’s take a look at some of Inclusee’s innovation journey with Inventium! 

What problem did you want to solve when you first came to Inventium? 

We’d just received additional funding to extend our programs and services and we were looking at doing something a little different with our existing group connection service. Whilst we moved fast to get the ball rolling, the initial uptake of the programs was slow, and we really wanted to kick it off with a bang. 

We were introduced to Inventium through a board member and we saw this as an excellent opportunity to test our innovation using a variety of team members and external stakeholders. The process was to really think differently and to stop finding reasons why something wouldn’t work. 

In addition to your work with Inventium, what else did you do to solve this problem?

At Inclusee we consider ourselves very innovative. We’ve learnt that even with the best plans, you need to constantly change and adapt to get the perfect fit. Before Inventium, we tried to innovate ourselves through our usual processes, working with the same people/teams, and trying slightly safe ideas. We didn’t get the immediate results we were seeking. 

With huge changes to our industry and pressures on performance, we knew we needed to try something different. Inventium was the answer to help break the same idea cycle. It also really highlighted the importance of having a very diverse group of minds.

What was the result of these initiatives, including your work with Inventium? 

  • We generated lots of ideas quickly (some great, some not)
  • We spent time cutting down to the top 10 
  • After the session we were energised and knew that we were on the right path
  • Now our programs are performing and we are receiving amazing feedback
  • We also won our first national award with the innovAGING National Awards for Consumer Choice
  • Some of the ideas didn’t get implemented, but we now have an innovation pipeline

What were your biggest learnings in solving this problem? 

  • You need a diverse group of people to solve a problem.
  • Include all your stakeholders in major changes.
  • Don’t knock back ideas immediately – sometimes go crazy you never know what you will find.
  • Take the time to book innovative thinking into your calendar, we do not spend enough time focusing on this.
  • If you fail, keep trying.
  • Thinking differently is fun.

A big shout-out to Rachael Cook, CEO of Inclusee and her amazing team for continuing to make an enormous difference in the world. We’re so chuffed Inventium could be part of it!


Want to know more about Inclusee or know someone who’d benefit from their services? Brisbane-based not-for-profit, Inclusee are leaders in connection and are eradicating loneliness amongst older Australians. They came 3rd in the AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list for the Government, Education and Not-For-Profit category in 2023, and are a national award winner for the innovAGING Awards for Consumer Choice in 2022.