We learn through doing – you can find out about our current and recent projects and partners here.




Rapid cycle design and testing and Service Design

Harvard Center on the Developing Child

In 2019, we are working with the Harvard Center on the Developing Child to bring their Frontiers of Innovation training to the UK. Aimed at all those working in early years services, this training will support services to improve their design, delivery, and use rapid cycle testing.




Strategy development and Evidence Review

Save the Children

We have worked with Save the Children UK and partners to create an evidence-informed Toolkit to support local system change activities aimed at improving children’s early learning outcomes. This is underpinned by an evidence review and extensive co-design with local partners. 



Early Action

Public system reform and Service design

Renfrewshire Council, Engage Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership and the Ariel Trust.

We are working with Renfrewshire Council, Engage Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership and the Ariel Trust to undertake a three-year System Change  initiative to promote young people’s emotional wellbeing and to address emotional coercive control in adolescent relationships.  It forms part of the National Lottery Community Fund’s Early Action System Change Fund tackling the root causes of inequality.   




Rapid cycle design and testing

Family Nurse Partnership

The Family Nurse Partnership is adapting its home visiting parenting programme to enable their highly trained Family Nurses to deliver a more personalised programme to their clients, who are first time young mothers. FNP site have also designed some changes to the clinical content that they deliver that is also being tested.   



Keeping more children safely at home

Public system reform

Derbyshire County Council, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, North Tyneside Council, and Blackpool Council. 

We are using system dynamics to help local authorities get to grips with the system behaviours operating within their children’s social care services, to help improve policy, process,  and practice and  ultimately  keep more children safely at home with their families.   



Positive Destinations for Care Leavers

Public system reform and Service design


Barnardo’s, the Lab and the Local Authorities in Plymouth and Brent are collaborating to support more care-experienced young people to be in employment, education or training by the age of 19-21.



ThE #iwill  Fund Learning Hub   

Strategy development and Evidence review

#iwill Fund 

Dartington Service Design Lab are the lead partners in the #iwill Fund Learning Hub.  We’re working with Match Funders, delivery organisations and evaluators to maximise learning and develop knowledge about how to fund, deliver, and sustain high-quality youth social action that can benefit young people and their communities. 



My Future

Rapid cycle design and testing

Chance UK

A project aimed at improving a child mentoring service  using rapid cycle design and testing. We have partnered with Chance UK to  improve the design, implementation  and continuous monitoring of  the My  Future project:  a 9-month child mentoring service delivered to  50 children in Camden and Southwark, London. My Future started in October 2018 and will conclude in June 2020. 



Creating the Best Start in Life in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Strategy Development

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Councils

Dartington Service Design Lab are partnering with Collaborate to build and operationalise a strategy for the Early Years with the local authorities in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire. We are bringing local data, research evidence and professionals and service user views together to create a solution that responds pragmatically to local need.



Service Mapping in Southend

Public system reform and Data analytics and visualisation

Southend A Better Start and Public Health  at  Southend Borough Council

We are  currently  working with Southend  A  Better Start and  Public Health at Southend Borough Council to map the services  currently  available to families with children from conception to age 19.  This is to understand the current service landscape in Southend and aid future system reform 



Your Voice, Your Way 

Service design

Renfrewshire Children’s Social Care and Snook

We are working in partnership with Renfrewshire Children’s Social Care and Snook to transform the way young people’s experiences are heard and acted upon within the care system. Key to the project is the co-design of a feedback tool that can be mapped against a new young person-centred quality assurance framework.




Data analysis and visualisation

Renfrewshire Council, A Better Start, Perth and Kinross, Dundee, Angus and North Ayrshire Council

The ChildrenCount Wellbeing surveys have been designed to capture data from children, young people and parents about a range of Key Developmental Outcomes and Risk Factors as they current experience them. Data has been collected from across England and Scotland to help inform strategy in local authorities. 



Making  SafeSkills  evaluation ready  

Data analysis and visualisation

Ariel Trust

We have partnered with the Ariel Trust for almost 7 years in various forms. This latest work sought to standardise data collection from children participating in the SafeSkills Child Sexual Exploitation education programme so that Ariel could monitor and evaluate the delivery, and possible effect, of the programme internally. 




Public system reform and Service design

Surrey County Council and the six associated Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

We are working with Surrey County Council and the six associated Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to inform the redesign of the emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people in Surrey.   



Hothouses for Innovation

Service design


The Hothouses for Innovation initiative is a  partnership with  Crisis, the national homelessness charity.  It is a service design initiative aimed at improving  services and outcomes  for those who might benefit from Crisis support, employing design thinking and rapid cycle testing methods.   




Public system reform

Action for Children, Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, South Lanarkshire Council  and  Big  Lottery Scotland.

Inclusion as Prevention is a system change initiative that seeks to collaboratively re-shape the design and delivery of preventative services with children and young people who are at risk of or involved in offending. The interagency partnership - involving social work, education, police and the voluntary sector - are working to shift practice from reactive and crisis driven approaches, and instead identify and intervene at an earlier point in the lives of children who are at risk of becoming involved in future offending.



System Mapping Homelessness  

Public system reform and Data analytics and visualisation

Center for Homelessness Impact 

We are working with the Centre for Homelessness Impact to make sense of the complexity of homelessness. With experts in the field we are building a system map that charts the inter-related causes and consequences of homelessness to guide action in a complex world.