We are entering the last stage of research and scoping for a new Design Challenge. A Design Challenge is typically an open competition that brings talented people together to use design to tackle complex social challenges. We are at the start of creating a new Challenge focusing on the health and wellbeing of children under five. 

Over the past few months we have been conducting different types of research within Southwark and Lambeth in order to identify where the opportunities lie for a new approach to early years intervention. We have called this work the Knee High Design Challenge.

Inequalities that start from a young age can have a lasting impact on a person's later life, health and happiness, we want to see how we can disrupt these inequalities.

The early years of life are widely understood to be some of the most critical years. From the start of pregnancy through to the start of school, a child develops the physical, emotional, intellectual and social foundations for their future. Inequalities that start from a young age can have a lasting impact on a person's later life, health and happiness, and we want to see how a different approach to early intervention might start to disrupt these inequalities.

There are over 40,000 children under five in Southwark and Lambeth, so it felt like a good place to start. Over the past four months we have been spending a lot of time in the boroughs, involving people in various strands of research.

Here's what we've been up to:

We are now at a stage where some themes are emerging, ideas are starting to grow, and the team are busy working up some answers to the difficult questions. Perhaps the most crucial question is: How could design have a role in creating lasting positive impact for children in their early years?

Sign up to our newsletter

Receive news and event updates from Design Council.

Sign up