The Project at a Glance

The Challenge

Good Sports needed to reach more community clubs across Australia, by taking this flagship programme online.

The Solution

Pilot, design and development of a digital programme with key integrations across ADF data sets and club administrators.

What We Did

Prototyping and User Testing.
Full Design and Python Build.
Integrations with ADF Salesforce platform.

The Outcome

A reliable evidence backed digital service with national reach.

Helping people enjoy sports

The Good Sports programme was established by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) to help Australian sports clubs prevent or minimise the harm caused by alcohol and drugs. By assisting community clubs throughout Australia, Good Sports supports a healthier, safer and more family-friendly culture for people to enjoy sport. Running for the last 20 years, Good Sports is a key pillar of ADF’s strategy and an exemplar of their values which reach millions of Australians.

Good Sports is one of the only primary prevention programs in the world which has been proven to be effective with a 2012 study showing a 37% reduction in the likelihood of risky drinking and a 42% reduction in alcohol-related harm in clubs that reach the highest level of the programme.

Legacy systems with a heavy reliance on staff to operate

ADF provides tools to community sporting clubs to address an increase in risky drinking – a growing culture associated with the sporting world. The programme has been running for over 20 years and is currently used by over 10,000 sporting clubs across Australia. Good Sports wanted to help many more clubs with greater efficiency through an online digital platform – this needed a careful design approach to validate that end users would have an effective and satisfactory experience throughout the programme.


“As with any programme that’s been running for a number of years, it reached the point where it needed both a user experience and technology upgrade.”

– Dotahn Caspi


ADF had no access to data insight that would help identify the areas where clubs were struggling or gauge how well or quickly clubs were moving through the programme. ADF recognised that to maintain and improve the levels of service, as well as meet funder expectations, it needed to make some significant changes.

Dotahn Caspi, ADF Digital Manager explains “We had to consider how to transform Good Sports while maintaining its integrity from an evidence-based perspective. We carried out an in-depth study to evaluate how the programme was operating, where the administration burden was and where the staff overheads were”.

Phase 1: Engaging Ackama to test the digital vision

ADF chose to partner with Ackama because we demonstrated that we had thought deeply about the problems the organisation was trying to solve beyond the technical analysis – “they actually asked us questions!” The multi-phase project would deliver a pilot and provide the capability to scale that codebase into a live service.


“They showed us how they could solve the problems from a UX perspective and their technical response was very strong. The team had experience in the technical architecture we were using and significant expertise in Django – the back-end platform”

– Dotahn Caspi


The vision outlined in the initial brief was to enable ADF to pivot to a self-service model including deep integration between club data and the Customer Relationship Management system. We started with rapid prototyping and user research to test thinking and understand how to design the application fundamentals.

The prototype was trialled in conjunction with the University of Sydney, to measure the impact on engagement from the clubs. Ackama and ADF tested the interface with a number of users to ensure it was on the right track ahead of the full solution being developed. Results showed high engagement from the clubs and a reduction in ADF staff involvement and overheads.

Phase 2: Building the digital model

Phase 2 involved Ackama taking the learnings from the pilot and incorporating those into a client-ready digital solution. “Ackama progressed beyond just recreating the pilot but really pushed it forward from an experience perspective and make it a much more exciting product” says Dotahn.

Ackama worked in rapid development sprints, with the team working holistically for continuity between design, project management and development. The ADF team worked closely with us in sprint planning to review and test that the solution met their needs. This provided context to respond to changes that emerge through a development phase.

Working with a high-level architecture, all suppliers worked with in-house business analysts to deliver ADF’s vision of an online product integrated to the Salesforce data platform. Ackama selected React JS and a Python backend, hosted on the Heroku cloud application platform. Heroku is a Salesforce platform, allowing ADF to manage their CRM and bespoke application.

The project needed to adapt to the arrival of COVID, as many of the clubs were forced to shut down for a significant period. Having a flexible implementation approach meant the technical team was able to work around disruption and deliver for a return of sports after lockdown.

Going Live and Managing the Transition

The biggest change for ADF staff was the transition to a self-service model. To help with this transition, Ackama built a full demo version of the platform to train staff so they really understood the process from a club’s perspective. Feedback from both clubs and ADF staff is that it was an excellent experience and the programme was dramatically improved.


“Working with Ackama has been a great collaboration. They took the initial work done on the platform architecture and, by asking the right questions, they pushed it to a better place. They paid great attention to detail and focused on what the experience would be for both the clubs and our teams.

Documentation from a technical perspective was excellent as were communications which made it easy for me to report on progress to the board and steering groups. The team showed they understood the project and our goals and were totally engaged with the entire process. One of the big aspects for me is the code delivered from Ackama is excellent and the platform is robust – it’s logical, clean and all works really well.”

– Dotahn Caspi


Despite the pandemic, the project has been successful for ADF – there’s a deeper engagement from the clubs around the core resources of the programme with the self-service model. Progress from registration to accreditation is far quicker than before and has greatly reduced the administrative and support burden on ADF staff.

ADF can easily access business intelligence to understand how well the solution is supporting the clubs and delivering outcomes – which provides data to justify ongoing support for the programme and a return on social investment.

View Good Sports