Rapid Cycle Design and Testing: developing an approach for embedding process evaluation in services for children and families in the UK

Date: Thursday 3rd October 2019

Time: 12.45 – 14.00

Location: Jenny Roberts, Tavistock Place

The way we adopt and evaluate complex early years interventions in the UK needs to change. These interventions are increasingly popular in the UK, but many originated in other countries such as the United States, where the social and policy context is different. A common consequence of this difference is non-significant findings from conventional randomised controlled trials of these interventions in the UK, despite significant findings from similar trials elsewhere. An array of methodological issues contributes to this challenge. This includes the lack of a process evaluation that considers whether these interventions are being implemented according to evidence-aligned theories of how they can support outcomes, and how context mediates successful implementation in different complex settings.

In this seminar, Deon Simpson will share how the Dartington Service Design Lab is using an approach called Rapid Cycle Design and Testing to undertake process evaluations in two services in England that aim to improve health and social outcomes for children and families. She will highlight how this accelerated, continuous, small-scale approach to testing is providing fresh insights into how we can define implementation fidelity within a complex adaptive system and embrace ‘trial and error’ to generate timely workable solutions to improve intervention processes.

Dartington Service Design Lab is an independent research charity, committed to improving outcomes for children and young people. We strive to combine the best scientific evidence of ‘what can work’ with the contextual experiences of service users and providers to identify solutions that can create and sustain service improvement.

Deon is a Service Design Specialist and Researcher at the Dartington Service Design Lab. She has a DPhil (PhD) in Population Health from the University of Oxford and has worked in health intervention development and evaluation in England and Jamaica.