Our approach

We believe in we believe in life-changing human services. We’re also system-thinkers, designers and change experts who know that no one organisation can go-it-alone. The result is that we work hard to carve a course through both the complexity of the real world, while balancing the need of our clients (and their clients) to be able to use what we produce.


A particular speciality of the Primitive team, we believe in life-changing human services, and measuring outcomes is an essential starting point in the journey of designing and improving programs and systems.

At Primitive we’ve undertaken significant multi-year evaluations, and our statisticians and data scientists love rigour and crunching numbers. But we’re increasingly choosing to work with clients who understand that evaluation and measurement is the starting point for change and improvement - an evaluation is rarely an outcome in itself.

We also believe strongly in “hands-off” evaluation and impact measurement. In our view, this is a “client-centred” approach for human services, because we don’t think that clients of services should be bothered by surveys and focus groups unless absolutely necessary. Clever quasi-experimental designs and administrative data can often produce useful evaluation and improvement results when scrutinised well.

Research and synthesis


In this era of client-centred care, it is becoming increasingly important to involve service users or potential clients in design and evaluation. We specialise in handing over power and letting people do their thing, and we’ve done this with clients from all kinds of backgrounds. We work with your stakeholders to design unique experiences to produce clear, meaningful and helpful output. We also specialise in the synthesis of evidence and user voice to design programs and approaches.

Teenagers, young People & consultation

A lot of our team started working with teenagers. We still bring the fun to everything we do, and we've led the industry in engaging with teens and young people. We have written best-practice youth engagement and participation guidelines, and involved thousands of teenagers from diverse backgrounds in youth-led or participatory approaches. We specialise in training/coaching parents, up-skilling schools, and talking to them (read: designing consultation and engagement mechanisms).