Service Design for Children and Families

The Children's Society is one of the UK's leading national charities for children and young people. In face of the challenges affecting the charity sector (increasing demand and reduced funding), The Children's Society recently initiated an internal transformation programme, aimed at building an organisation better equipped to tackle its strategic priorities: reducing child poverty and adolescent neglect.

Over a period of 6 months, the Innovation Unit worked with The Children's Society to develop its internal capacity to design radically different, better and lower cost services, and to make innovation a core capability of the organisation by:

1. Developing bespoke innovation methodology.

Co-designed with a diverse group of internal stakeholders, including senior leaders, managers and delivery staff, this methodology builds on the Innovation Unit's expertise of leading public sector innovation and service design projects, while reflecting the specific needs of the organisation. This was complemented by a set of recommendation for how to best implement this methodology, including a description of supporting roles and capabilities, and an innovation methods handbook.

2. Applying and testing the methodology to develop a new local offer.

At the same time as developing a methodology that works for the whole organisation, across teams and services, we worked with a local team in Oldham, Greater Manchester, to define how to maximise The Children's Society's impact locally. We tested a process to design a new service approach, co-produced with the local community and with local partners. What was learned from this pilot will inform the development of Children & Family Zones nationally.

3. Coaching a diverse group of internal staff to become innovation ambassadors and service design experts.

Throughout the 6 months, they took part in facilitated learning conversations, during which we introduced them to service design methods, and involved them in research and co-design activities. This experience enabled them to embed innovation within their own practice, and empowered them to diffuse their learning within the organisation.