Preparing for a reboot in January 2021

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It’s been a challenging few months for Design Club. As you may know, we’re powered by generous volunteers who give their time and expertise for free, going into schools and community spaces to run design workshops with children from all sorts of backgrounds.

At Design Club, children work through design thinking projects. This helps them nurture empathy, collaboration and problem-solving skills. And mentors learn and have fun too.

Life in lockdown

Since schools and other venues started closing in mid-March, all our mentor-led clubs have had to stop. It’s a shame, because we felt like we were just gathering momentum :)

In March, we wrote about changes to Design Club (and how we’re adapting) due to Covid-19. We wanted to help parents and grownups to get children doing design thinking projects at home. We’ve run some experiments, but have lacked the resources to develop what we wanted. …


Organisations are having to re-orientate in order to reach the people who matter to them. Design Club is no different.

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I guess we’re lucky. Design Club is run by a lean team and we’re super-responsive. We’re used to digital ways of working and good at iterative development.

How Design Club normally works

We support volunteer mentors (mostly people who work in design or a related industry) to run after school and weekend clubs. But schools are closed and weekend clubs aren’t feasible. No-one knows when the situation will change.

How Design Club will work for the next few months

We’re going to do everything we can to help parents and grownups get children doing design thinking projects at home.

Part of this involves creating content for parents and carers who may never have worked with design thinking before: last week, we wrote an introductory post to running a Design Club mini-project from home. …


Definition and development of a functional prototype, testing the concept of a digital brief building tool for charities.

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General details

  • Outcome area: Support
  • Phases: Definition & Development
  • Timeframe: March — May 2019
  • Doing the work:
    CAST — To support design and development of the prototype
    Dev Society — Engineers with good domain knowledge and fit with work

Summary of work

Working in partnership with Dev Society, we created a functional prototype over a two week development sprint. We built an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to help us gain insight into how charities brief digital partners.

More on this work

Here is the Development Playback (Google Slides).

In short, the proposition of a brief building tool tested well. However, the tool (or MVP) needs work. People want templates, they want guidance, and they want to be able to collaborate with colleagues to create a brief. …


Discovery into how charities and digital partners develop relationships and do great work together.

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General details

  • Outcome area: Support
  • Phases: Discovery
  • Timeframe: Jan — Mar 2019
  • Doing the work:
    CAST — To gain a better internal understanding of the problem space, so we can figure out what needs exist before planning further work.

Description of work

Research into how charities scope out digital work and start positive relationships with digital partners.

More on this work

Here is the full Discovery Playback (Google Slides).

The biggest finding was that agency procurement is often opaque, secretive, lacking reality of working together, and unequal. However, good working relationships require transparency, trust, openness and equality. This slide highlights an often glaring misalignment in the procurement process.

Intended output

Discovery Playback, pulling together existing challenges, needs and behaviours when charities and partners work together on digital projects. …


We made a newspaper. It’s a review of our first year and a bit since setting up as a Community Interest Company in April 2018.

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Here’s what the first page says

(all the other pages you can see below)

Welcome to our first review, covering activity from April 2018 to September 2019.

We reflect on Design Club’s vision and the experience we’re creating for children.

We recognise our lovely mentors and the wonderful clubs they’ve started.

We assess our impact and our potential.

We talk about our funding and show appreciation for your support.

Thanks for being part of the journey.

Design Club x

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Spreads from the 18/19 Review
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Thanks Newspaper Club for printing these for us. Love your work. 🗞

❤️💙💚💛💜


We’re giving special credit to the mentors who’ve been quietly helping to build the Design Club community

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Super Mentors Geri (far left), Anne (second left) and James (far right) with Jemima from Design Club at our Supporters’ party last month (photo: Christina Li)

We launched Design Club in April 2018

Since then, over 11,000 people from more than 100 countries have visited the Design Club website.

About 800 people have registered their details with us. They’ve either signed up to volunteer, access our resources or both (since early 2019 our resources have been freely accessible — no need to submit an email first).

More than 200 people have signed up to our London Meetup group, and many of these have come along to our Mentor Meetups to hear more about running design thinking clubs for 9–13 year olds.

Around 100 people have volunteered at popup events and used our resources in design workshops and sessions with children. …


What we learned and why we think other small charities and social enterprises should apply to TFN

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Our third quarterly update in super-duper note form!

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A few quick notes

1. Inspire more children

Introduce at least 1,000 more children to Design Thinking activities

  • Q1 update: we reached 200 children
  • Q2 update: 300 children
  • Now: we’re at about 350 children

Note: Our target has shifted from number of children reached to number of volunteer-led after school clubs started. We aim to start 50 in 2019.

We have 4 after school clubs running right now. We hope that 10 more will start in the summer term. We’re working hard. …


Founder of Design Club. Service designer at Apps for Good and CAST. Noam wants mentors to dive in and be brave :)

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Tell us a bit a about you

I’m a designer. I mix strategy, product, service and UX design. I enjoy making stuff. I’m happiest when I make something that makes a worthwhile or positive difference for someone.

I co-founded Mint Digital in 2004 and left in 2016, looking for new challenges in the ‘tech for good’ space. I started creating Design Club in 2017 and ran a pilot after school club that year at my daughter’s primary school.

I work part-time for Apps for Good and CAST. I feel blessed to be a designer and work with great people doing worthwhile things.

Why did you start a Design Club?

I just wanted to teach design thinking to kids. I wanted to nurture empathy and show kids how to turn ideas into reality. I was actually running a Code Club at the time. It was great, but I started thinking: we have enough coding clubs. We don’t all need to code. …


Month-by-month happenings and the plan for next year

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Summary

2018 was a good year. Some things went to plan. Others didn’t. We built on what we did in 2017. Over the last 12 months, we have:

  • Reached more than 500 children
  • Seen more than 200 people register to run a DC or access materials
  • Started running mentor Meetups
  • Become a Community Interest Company
  • Developed lesson plans for volunteers to run after school Design Clubs
  • Raised money through two crowdfunding campaigns
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January

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February

About

Noam

Co-founder designclub.org.uk & sidelabs.org. Working with thecatalyst.org.uk & wearecast.org.uk. Before: Co-founded mintdigital.com.

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