Design skills such as Design Thinking, strategic design and service design are seen globally as skillsets that can help to innovate business, social, health, and environmental sectors in the 21st Century (see Martin, 2009; Mootee, 2013; Brown and Wyatt, 2010). However, there is a difference between the perceived value of design in design practice versus academic design research. After decades of philosophical and conceptual discussions, design research has not yet found its academic position among the science and arts (see Faste and Faste, 2012; Jonas, 2012; Krippendorff 2007). Focusing on design based research, this paper proposes the Integrated People-Centred Design Model as the means to contribute new knowledge that navigates the common ground between practice and academia. This model has been generated from an industry funded research project that explores design as the means to unpack and provide possibilities to complex service delivery challenges in the disability sector. The model explores the value of design through the lenses of experiential, behavioural, procedural and functional innovation. The objective of this paper is to explore ways to bridge the gap between the value of design in practice and academia. This paper also discusses an on-going PhD project that applies the Integrated People-Centred Model, that has to date, bridge the gap of value between design practice and academic research.