Design Challenges

We help design solutions to society’s most complex problems.

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The Knee High Design Challenge is being run with the support of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth to improve the lives of children under five.

The problem

More than one in four children live in poverty in England. In Southwark and Lambeth the statistic is an estimated one in three. With the reduced provision of preventative services, the rising cost of childcare, the changing structure of families and increasingly disparate communities, the need to act could not be more urgent.

The insight

How well a child develops in the first five years of their life has both short and long term implications for their physical and psychological health. Inequalities that start from a young age can have lasting effects on a child’s learning, motivation, physical health and emotional wellbeing.

Our response

By bringing together service professionals, families, experts in the community and designers, we believe we can find new opportunities for effective and lasting interventions that give children the best start in life.

We spent six months working with local families and professionals to identify where the greatest opportunities lie to make the most significant impact on a child’s early development. We’ve published our results in the Knee High Design Challenge research report. This research will guide our Design Challenge but we hope it will also be useful for anyone wanting to work in this area.

Having published our research we launched an open call for ideas, asking anyone to apply with new radical ideas to improve the lives of under-fives.

The results

We're now supporting 6 teams to turn their products and services into effective and sustainable ventures. The teams are working closely with healthcare professionals, designers and behavioural scientists as well as local families in Southwark and Lambeth.

In October 2014 they will share their results and begin the process of evaluating their impact over the following year.

Project updates

Knowledge & resources