Our challenge

Some services were designed ‘from the top down’ and need adapting to better meet the needs of the children and young people who use them. 

It would be impossible for a central service design team to be involved in designing all our new services and improving up to 1000 existing ones, so we need to support local services to develop design thinking.

We often see there's room for improvement but don’t always know what needs to change or how to change it. Sometimes, we don’t know where to start.

Our solution

Front page of First steps guide on developing a problem statement

We’re creating First steps: practical guides for when you’re about to take on a project outside your usual day-to-day job. They’re designed to make it easier to challenge the accepted norm, do research, try out new ideas and develop services that work for children and young people. 

Using the guides will help build our awareness of design thinking so we have the confidence to:

  • identify a problem

  • work out what we need to know about it

  • prototype a solution

  • test it

  • improve it

First-step guides in practice

Front cover of First steps guide to digging into research problems

We’re already prototyping guides for:

  • developing a problem statement

  • designing a user research plan

  • choosing research methods

  • digging into research problems

  • co-designing with young people

For example, one of our local service teams needed to find a better way to assess complex abuse. Currently there’s a risk that young people who need our help may get further traumatised by having to answer some of the questions in the assessment framework.

The team – who had never done anything like this before –  used the problem statement and research plan guides to help them get the information they need to improve the service. They identified the need to find out how different agencies assess abuse in children and young people, how confident they are in using their methods, and crucially, what the young people think about the assessment process.

Front cover of First steps co-design guide

They’re planning to use further First-step guides to help develop a better assessment process.

Next steps

We’re creating more guides and, at the same time, acting on the feeedback from colleagues using the prototypes so we can make them even more useful.