Together with Big Lottery Fund and a range of partners we are co-investing into a six month development phase to do some further research on key aspects of our proposed two year programme.

We are inspired by the work of Helsinki Design Lab’s Ageing Studio and want to ensure our experimentation sits alongside a wider systematic enquiry around the future for children and families in Birmingham. The next six months is to help us build a two year programme to explore, imagine and invest in childcare innovation. The #RadicalChildcare programme aims to take a slower, broader systems approach and move away from fast paced accelerators that are often only accessible to a narrow demographic, and instead put citizens and a range of actors, not just start-ups and ventures at the heart of complex challenges.

There are five stages to the development phase; four are focused experiments across the city, underpinned by a system enquiry. Our timeline of activity is mapped out below and you can find out more in our most recent blog.

Development Phase Timeline

Parent Membership Launch

In January 2017, we launched our Parent Membership which offers parents the same benefits as our Mission Birmingham membership, including 2 days access to Impact Hub Birmingham a month, with an additional 12 hours of co-creche (co-working and creche) a month. This has built a strong community of parents / guardians who help embed the mission of #RadicalChildcare into the Impact Hub Birmingham community.

Mini Activists Programme

A five part series of afternoon workshops during the month of August with a focus on youth activism, community and creativity. To find out more about the Mini Activists programme in full visit

#RadicalChildcare Development Phase Launch

Work will begin on the pilot projects. These include citizen engagement, exploring parent-led innovation and research into the impact of short term childcare on childcare.

#RadicalChildcare Pilot Projects

This is an important first step for families locally to organise autonomous childcare and could eventually lead to more formalised and full-time provision. With investment from the Big Lottery Fund we would develop, co-design and deliver a co-creche series with a community in Birmingham. The aim of this is to understand the opportunities, barriers, challenges faced so we learn how to effectively invest in these ideas in the future.

Through a range of facilitated workshops using the open inquiry methodology, we will actively listen, test our assumptions, sense check our language and positioning as well as feelings around the shift in the political landscape, and growing a wider collective intelligence and insights into the challenge and opportunity.

Planning the 2 year programme

Drawing together our learnings, we will complete the second stage proposal for the two year #RadicalChildcare system accelerator to Big Lottery Fund. We will also be building a network of other funders and partners who wish to join the ambitious experiment.

Children + Families System Design Studio

This will be a period of intense, focused work to create dynamic systems mapping approaches to clarify the multiple relationships between different factors and actors underlying current outcomes for Birmingham’s children and families. For a focused period, we will be working with some of the world’s foremost systems change experts to build a broader picture – inspired by Helsinki Design Lab’s Ageing Studio.

Show + Tell

The final show and tell will share the work and outcomes of the developmental phase, an opportunity to convene #RadicalChildcare’s growing community. It will build upon our values of sharing learning, collective intelligence, participation, advocacy and transparency. This will be an open opportunity led by the team and participants from the development phase, and include stakeholders from the wider community who are working on childcare innovation.

Some of the focus areas still have working titles, but we've outlined what we will be prototyping and welcome partners who would like to join any part of the journey. For more info on where we're headed, view our full project proposal. For transparency you can also download the development plan that we submitted to Big Lottery Fund.