Tim Hobbs, PhD


tim.hobbs@dartington.org.uk | 07856 686820 | @tim_hobbs_lab | DEVON

Tim is responsible for shaping the ideas and strategic direction of the Lab and for the general oversight and running of the charity.

Tim has spent over a decade working with public systems, charities and foundations to help shape a series of bold investments and experiments designed to improve child outcomes. He is passionate about fusing science-based and user-centred design approaches to system reform and service design.

Tim joined the Dartington Social Research Unit as a researcher in 2004, later becoming Head of Data and Analytics. He was appointed as the first Director of the Dartington Service Design Lab in April 2017. He holds a first-class BSc in Psychology and Criminology and a PhD in Social and Policy Sciences. Alongside Nick Axford, Tim is a recipient of the Kammerman and Khan Award from the International Society of Child Indicators. He is a 2016 Clore Social Fellow.


Jenny North


jenny.north@dartington.org.uk | 07833 734717 | @JayEeeEnn | LONDON

Jenny joined the Lab in November 2017 from Impetus where she was Director of Policy & Strategy for five years. Previously, she held roles at Relate, the Maternity Alliance, and New Policy Institute.

Jenny has written and spoken extensively on how organisations can improve outcomes for those they serve through better service design and data-driven management. She is particularly interested in how organisational and system leadership can empower the frontline to adapt delivery and continually improve services.

Jenny is a Fellow in Practice at the Government Outcomes Lab at the University of Oxford, a Leap Ambassador, and a Non-Executive Director and Trustee of the Social Investment Business.


Brian Warren OBE


brian.warren@dartington.org.uk | 01803 762400 | DEVON

Brian joined the Lab in 2014 and is responsible for the Lab’s finances, HR, governance, IT and operations as well as providing similar services for small, like-minded charities.

In a varied career since graduating from Bangor University in North Wales with a BSc in Maths and Oceanography, Brian enjoyed 30 years in the Royal Navy spending time predominantly at sea, including command of two warships, and undertaking a diverse range of appointments in the UK and abroad. After hanging up his sea boots in 2009, he became CEO of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, where he was responsible for over 1000 acres of farmland, a show-ground, hotel, exhibition facilities and operating the charity’s trading subsidiary.

More recently, in 2011 he returned to his roots in Plymouth where he led the delivery from application of a brand new technical academy, ‘UTC Plymouth’, which successfully opened in September 2013 with 150 students.


Kate tobin


kate.tobin@dartington.org.uk | 01803 762400 | @katetobin_ | GLASGOW

Kate leads the Lab’s work in Scotland, and specialises in service design. She works with organisations who are committed to improving their impact through good design and rapid cycle testing of innovations.

Kate joined the Dartington Social Research Unit in 2009, moved into a Service Design Specialist role in the Lab in 2017, and become Director, Scotland in 2019. Over the last ten years Kate has worked on randomised controlled trials, implementation of evidence-based programmes, place-based reform efforts, epidemiological projects, and supported charities to help improve their impact. She is committed to developing human-centred, science-informed design approaches.

Kate has published in School Mental Health, Children and Youth Service Review, International Journal of Conflict and Violence and Child Care in Practice. She holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology and MRes in Research Methods in Psychology from the University of Strathclyde. Kate has been trained in Design Thinking and innovative design methods by the IIT Institute of Design, Chicago.

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Keira Lowther, PhD


keira.lowther@dartington.org.uk | LONDON

Keira leads the Lab’s work on service improvement and optimisation. She works with organisations who are committed to improving their impact through good design and rapid cycle testing of adaptations and improvements.

Keira works mostly on the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) ADAPT programme, where the Lab are working in collaboration with the FNP National Unit to design and test adaptations using a rapid cycle testing methodology. She leads work that combines the latest ‘what works’ evidence with user views and data on implementation to design adaptations that are relevant, effective and acceptable to a local population.

Keira joined the Dartington Social Research Unit in 2014, after completing a PhD in HIV and Palliative care in Kings College London, where she won the Elsevier award for outstanding doctoral thesis. She holds a BSc in Nursing Science and a Masters in Public Health Nutrition.  She previously worked as a paediatric nurse in the NHS in London and internationally as a nurse-nutritionist for Action Against Hunger.


Shreya Sonthalia


shreya.sonthalia@dartington.org.uk | LONDON

Shreya develops models that help understand the dynamics of public systems and predict the effect of different system reform strategies.

Shreya is committed to influencing policy and practice through research and data analysis. She joined the Dartington Social Research Unit in 2014 as a researcher, working on various reviews of evidence and cost-benefit analysis of evidence-based programmes. She also helped manage a feasibility study and pilot randomised controlled trial of a dating violence prevention programme, bringing together users and evidence. In April 2017 she took up the position of Modelling Specialist at the Dartington Service Design Lab, where she works on building system dynamics simulation models of complex public systems and contributes to wider analytical work of the Lab.

Shreya holds an MSc in Evidence-based Social Intervention (Distinction) from the University of Oxford.


Deon Simpson, DPhil


deon.simpson@dartington.org.uk | BIRMINGHAM

Deon has a background in health programming and population health research. Her work at the Lab centres on the use of rapid adaptation and evaluation methods to improve the impact of social and healthcare interventions. 

Deon joined the Lab in 2018 as a service design specialist, and works across projects supporting organisations to design, implement and test their programmes.

Previously, Deon worked in Jamaica developing and implementing policies and programmes related to maternal and child health, including the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. She also worked as a research coordinator in an academic setting where she managed a randomised controlled trial aimed at reducing sexual risk behaviours of Jamaican adolescent girls and their female care-givers. She has a DPhil (PhD) in Population Health from the University of Oxford, with an emphasis in perinatal epidemiology. She also has a MSc in Human Nutrition from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, and a MA in International Public Health from the University of Leeds in England.


Maria portugal


maria.portugal@dartington.org.uk | LONDON

Maria is a designer by training. She applies a design process and her skills and experience to service design and system reform efforts as well as the communication of the Lab’s work to a diverse range of audiences.

Maria is passionate about a bringing a designer’s approach to collaboration, interdisciplinary working, public engagement and producing elegant proposals for complex matters. She is a PhD candidate and the co-founder of the student-led platform: PhD By Design.

Maria joined the Lab in July 2017 as Communications and Design Specialist. She previously worked as lead designer for a cancer research project (bridging medical knowledge and patient experience) and as a designer/researcher and lab manager at the School of Arts and Design in Porto (ESAD, Portugal) where she also completed her BA and Masters in Design.


Daniel ellis


daniel.ellis@dartington.org.uk | @drawnwithdata | DEVON

Daniel works across Lab projects to ensure data is put to the best possible use and is communicated effectively.

Daniel has spent the last 7 years working with data from local authorities, charities and service providers. Through these data he provides insights about child and family well-being that inform decision-making in strategy development and service design. He works closely with our partners to understand the requirements and functions of data, how it fits with an organisation’s wider strategy, and how to best present it given the questions asked and intended audience. His passion is for finding ways to make the presentation of data, at the right time and in the right way, an intervention in itself and not just a measurement tool.

Daniel joined the Dartington Social Research Unit in 2012 after completing a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Forensic Psychology. He took up the position of Data and Design Specialist for the Lab in April 2017.


Finlay Green


finlay.green@dartington.org.uk | LONDON

Finlay provides support on the Lab’s service design initiatives, contributing to everything from data collection and analysis to facilitation and project management.

Finlay is passionate about identity politics and social justice. Since joining the Lab in 2016 Finlay has managed the implementation of the ChildrenCount Well-being Survey (9-16) in Torbay and South Devon and supported the development of The Confidence Framework. He currently works on FNP ADAPT, a project using Rapid Cycle Innovation and Testing to develop and refine the Family Nurse Partnership service.

Finlay holds an MSc in Social Policy (Research) from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BSc in Economics and Politics from the University of Sheffield. During both his undergraduate and masters degrees, Finlay’s research explored the cultural, national and ethnic identities of young people in the UK.


Ben Hartridge


ben.hartridge@dartington.org.uk | LONDON | @benhartridge

Ben works across the Lab’s projects contributing on everything from data collection and analysis to system mapping and evidence reviews.

Ben believes in equipping leaders in public systems with the information they need to make the best decisions for children and young people. Through his work at the Lab, Ben strives to make user’s voice and scientific evidence heard by decision-makers and helps people understand the wider system context in which they act.

Since joining the Lab in July 2017, Ben has embraced the Lab’s intersectionist approach and his work ranges widely across the Lab’s projects and workstreams. This includes rapid reviews of the best available evidence and facilitating co-production workshop for service design projects such as our work with the homelessness charity Crisis. On system reform projects, Ben has contributed on data analysis and systems mapping for work on children’s social care and homelessness.

Ben joined the Lab after graduating from the University of Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. During his degree, he specialised in the economics of labour markets with a focus on the impact of policies that affect people on low incomes. He also took a particular interest in logic and the philosophy of language.


Ella Baillie


ella.baillie@dartington.org.uk | DEVON

Ella joined the Lab in 2016 and supports the Chief Operating Officer with the finance and broad portfolio of support services for the organisation, as well as providing similar services for small, like-minded charities.  

Ella is PA to the CEO and the Charity’s Business Administrator. She works alongside Brian (COO) forming the ‘Ops’ team based in the office at Buckfast. Ella first started as a Business Support Apprentice in October 2016 and successfully completed a level 3 Diploma in Business Administration in late 2017. Since then, she has worked her way up to her current position and has gained a substantial amount of experience along the way.


Leanne Freeman


leanne.freeman@dartington.org.uk | DEVON

Leanne works across the Lab’s projects contributing on everything from systems mapping, rapid cycle design and testing, and evidence reviews.

Leanne has a keen interest in evidence-based policy including research in implementation and the influence of emergent system behaviour. She joined the Lab in the summer of 2018 following her undergraduate degree in Economics with a research project using system dynamics. Since starting, she has been involved in surveying the best evidence across a range of projects and was involved in the system mapping project plotting the causes and consequences homelessness in the UK, working closely with the Centre for Homelessness Impact and providing systems expertise.




india.roche@dartington.org.uk | GLASGOW

India’s focus is on the Service Design components of our projects, especially those based in Scotland, working with the research team to design new interventions and solutions.

India has worked on a range of public and voluntary sector projects. Moving from service delivery into management and consultancy she has spent the past three years focussing on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. She is passionate about combining participatory design with robust research in order to take a systems approach to complex problems.

India joined Dartington Service Design Lab in 2019 after completing her MA in Service Design with the Royal College of Art, where she built upon her background in service delivery to specialise in bringing design methods to real life situations. She’s formerly worked for both Young Minds and City and Hackney Mind and is a fellow of the Charityworks Graduate Leadership Programme.

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Maxwell Murphy


maxwell.murphy@dartington.org.uk | GLASGOW

With a mixed background in research and business, Maxwell brings a diverse range of experience to Dartington service design lab. Having recently completed an Msc in Psychological Studies and holding an undergraduate degree in business management Max finds the opportunity to use research methods and data analysis as a means of guiding practical ground level change exciting and inspiring.

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Rachel Lily


rachel.lily@dartington.org.uk | BRISTOL

Rachel joined the Lab in July 2019 with a wealth of communications experience under her belt.

Trained as a journalist, Rachel has since gone on to work in across many communications disciplines, including public relations, social media management and even filmmaking. Rachel has worked primarily in the private sector. However, her most recent experience working on youth engagement and participation in an international development context has ignited her passion for working in the third sector, particularly looking at solutions to issues facing young people today.