Q1 update for Founding Supporters

Welcome to our first quarterly progress update

Jul 27, 2018 · 7 min read
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Before we start, a few notes:

  • We were going to share this update for our Founding Supporters via email. But then we thought, let’s make this public. (Inclusivity is one of our values, after all.)
  • This update covers progress made against the 10 goals listed on our Founding Supporters page — and repeated below.
  • We define our first quarter (Q1) as 20 April to 20 July 2018. That dates from the day we officially incorporated as a CIC.
  • As ever, we’d like to say a big thank you to our Founding Supporters for helping to fund our work. 🙌🏼

1. Inspire more children

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

Since the start of April, we know we’ve reached approximately 200 children. The breakdown:

  • 50 children at CoderDojos
  • 60 children at the iOi Lab Live: Future Me event
  • 60 children across two “Design Days” run at different schools
  • 30 children at other events (Token Dad & BMJ)

However, this metric is not ideal. It doesn’t include independent use of Design Club materials, and it doesn’t factor in impact, which is arguably more important.

2. Measure impact

Develop a mechanism for measuring and reporting impact

We’d like to understand how children are reacting to Design Club materials, which bits they find engaging, and which less so, as well as how their understanding of design thinking is developing, and whether it makes any impression on their lives in the longer term.

We are finding this challenging! It’s notoriously difficult to measure soft skills. We’ve made one or two attempts, but no breakthrough as yet.

  • In-workshop feedback: a key issue is that our workshops are structured to encourage play and creativity, and most measurement techniques go against the grain of this. We are also reluctant to place any additional tasks or responsibility on our wonderful volunteers. But we’re exploring options and will come back to this later in the year.
  • Third party reporting: one thing that will help is the introduction of a registration form on our website. Previously, our materials were openly available; now we’re asking everyone a few questions prior to accessing the resources. This data not only gives us a breakdown of how and where people are using our materials, it enables us to start building relationships with the wider community of design thinking mentors and learn from their experiences.

3. Develop partnerships

Work with 4 new delivery partners to reach a broader demographic of children

Design Education

This month Design Education delivered a “Design Day” at two schools in west London. They used adapted versions of our resources. This feels like a good partnership. We’re looking forward to seeing what happens in September when schools starts again.


In November, we’ve been invited by Wired magazine to run a workshop as part of WIRED Next Generation 2018: The festival for 13- 19-year-olds. We hope this will raise the profile of Design Club and broaden the reach of our work; in particular, we’d like to share learnings with other innovators in the design and edtech space.

Meaning Conference

We’ve also been in touch with Meaning Conference in Brighton and will be running a family design workshop as part of Meaning Fringe. The Fringe runs 12 — 20 November 2018.

4. Create mentor processes

Define and produce a toolkit for on-boarding, training, and coordinating mentors

This area still lacks cohesion, but we’ve made progress on the following:

  • Volunteers can check out mentoring options, and register as a mentor.
  • We’ve created an information pack for lead mentors.
  • We ensure that Design Clubs tracks have at least one lead mentor, so that new mentors are supported when they start mentoring.
  • We’ve started running mentor meetups. These are for mentors to meet and share stories and best practice, and to help design Design Club.
  • We opened up our Slack workspace to mentors, to answer any questions they might have in the lead up to mentoring at a Dojo or other workshop.
  • We started creating delivery cards, containing prompts and questions for mentors to use when working with children.

5. Grow mentor network

Build a network of 150 volunteers to mentor through Design Club

Around 200 people have expressed interest in volunteering. So far, 55 people have registered via our website. To date, around 50 have mentored for at least one Design Club workshop.

We’re not concerned about growing the network too quickly. We still have a lot to do in building partnerships and developing the learner experience, which leads us onto the next goal, products and resources.

6. Prototype new resources

Make and test at least 2 new techniques to improve the learning experience

On reflection, this is a bit vague! This goal is really about designing the learner experience. That all comes down to helping mentors deliver rich experiences using great resources.

We created a new project for the Lab Live: Future Me event, mentioned above. Children were encouraged to design a job that makes them happy. It was a standalone project, but could be delivered as part of a longer programme.

This whole area needs a lot more work. We plan to pilot a couple of after school Design Clubs in September, so we’re focusing on creating new resources for an after school club that runs 10–12 weeks.

7. Design a framework

Create a free and accessible library of Design Thinking tools for educators

We’ve made a start here. We have a resources page on the Design Club site. We share this page once people have registered with us.

Out of all the people who have registered on our website, the vast majority want access to our resources. There is a clear demand here.

We’ve started to create a design thinking curriculum, to help inform what the framework might look like. This is all linked to the goal above, and needs work. This is a priority for the next quarter.

8. Form a legal entity

Turn Design Club into a Community Interest Company

This one is done. On 20 April 2018, we were officially registered as a Community Interest Company limited by guarantee. 🖊

9. Explore revenue opportunities

Generate income from 2 different sources

We have to admit we’ve made little progress on this one. We plan to start making mentoring kits over the next few months. We’ll then explore revenue opportunities around these.

We have a hunch that volunteers and educators are willing to pay for high-quality resources to help run workshops. We plan to test this hunch before the end of Q3.

10. Apply for further funding

Apply for at least 4 grants to help develop Design Club in 2019 and beyond

We’ve applied for one grant so far, through The Fore. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful, but the application process provided useful learning and we’ve been given constructive feedback. We plan to reapply for this grant through their next funding round.

There are one or two more grants we plan to go for. More to come.

Final thought

It’s been a busy few months. We feel we’ve done a lot, but there’s much more to do. We’re looking forward to the next quarter with excitement and anticipation!

Thank you again to our amazing Founding Supporters, Marvel, Unboxed, ustwo, Moo, Red Badger, We Are Human, Pusher, Equal Experts, Novoda, FutureGov, Wonderbly, CAST, Snook, Joylab, Adaptive Lab, Elsewhen, Made by Many, and Zapier.

Design Club HQ

🙌🏼 ❤️

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Design Club

Design thinking workshops for children


Written by


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

Design Club

Design thinking workshops for children, from after school clubs to pop-up workshops. We’re a social enterprise and not-for-profit. Join us.


Written by


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

Design Club

Design thinking workshops for children, from after school clubs to pop-up workshops. We’re a social enterprise and not-for-profit. Join us.