Session type:

Case Study

Presented by:

Rhiannon Creasey


Peter Jacobs


Irit Pollak


Session time:

17 Sep 14:00 15:00

Session duration:

60 minutes

About the session

This is our story of how a small, multi-disciplinary team is working in partnership to tackle entrenched issues in children’s social care.

We will talk about how we are trying to change the care system for young people – both practically and systemically.

Our case study will explore our experience of service design and product development with a systems-change lens.

Participants will get an opportunity to hear about our learnings, biggest challenges, and how we are overcoming them.

The problem: There is a gap in the measured outcomes for care-experienced and non-care experienced young people. For example, care leavers aged 19–21 are less likely to be in employment, education or training, than non-care leavers. Barnardo’s has invested significantly in trying to understand why the gap persists, and what we can do about it from both a practical and systemic point of view. This programme of work is called Care Journeys.

Our ambition: The ambition of Care Journeys is to ensure that young people who are care-experienced are as, or more likely, to be in positive destinations — a much more holistic measure of doing and feeling well — compared to their non-care experienced peers.

Our approach: In the Barnardo’s Innovation Lab we acknowledge there is no one perfect solution to these issues, so we have several pieces of work tackling the same problem from multiple perspectives.

We are working in partnership with a number of local authorities to test and learn using an agile service design methodology, grounded in research; co-designing solutions with care-experienced young people themselves.

Participant takeaways:

  1. This work should feel very different – rebalanced power dynamics, new skills, changing roles, discomfort and uncertainty, disrupting organisations’ hierarchies and cultures.
  2. What is the role of a designer in this process? – is it to listen, respond and be an advocate for young people’s ideas; or is it to challenge, interpret and elevate their thinking? What is the tension between being youth led and being design/organisational led? E.g. is an idea for a youth centre innovative?
  3. Co-designed ideas can be limited to the world that young people have experienced so far. Co-production is what creates the point of difference if young people are truly part of creating the service in detail.
  4. Trust the iterative design process to develop and bolden your ideas. Your first version of any idea may feel too tangible or obvious; but testing and learning helps co-design groups explore the nuance of underlying themes. E.g. An idea for a welcome pack is really about how you enter the service. An idea for youth groups is really about how professionals support young people/investing in peer-to-peer support.
  5. How blending product development and service design approaches creates a cross-pollination of learning

This session will be:

  • Delivered:Live
  • Recorded:No
  • as a participant number cap: No

Themes: Strategy, Innovation, Systems thinking, Learning, Product Design, Service Design, Co-design, Co-production

About the speaker(s)