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Barnardo’s Plymouth Care Journeys Design Lab work with local care-experienced young people. The project is run with the aim of co-producing and testing ways to reduce loneliness and social isolation for other care-experienced young people in the area.

The Design Lab team consists of four care-experienced young people, one care-experienced Barnardo’s professional, a service designer, and an experienced Barnardo’s project worker – more background information on the lab is available at Barnados’ Medium.

The Care Journeys Design Lab develops services to reduce loneliness and social isolation for care-experienced young people. Examples of these can be found in previous service recipes.

This recipe concerns how the Barnardo’s Lab team are documenting and sharing their learning experiences in order to evaluate and improve their services.

The openness of documenting and sharing learnings has created a culture of collaboration that brings a number of benefits. One of the primary benefits is that smaller organisations can learn from the work done by Barnardo’s.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since March 2020.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe Barnardo's’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a member of staff, I need to document learnings so that our team can assess how we can improve the services that I am offering
  • As a member of staff, I need to share learnings with other team members
  • As a service user, I need to access learning

Software and tools used

Google Slides

Google Slides is a presentation program included as part of a free, web-based software office suite offered by Google within its Google Drive service.


The service is free to use for anyone with a Google account, which is also free to create.


The service captures the depth of information better than a word document. It is more engaging to read and encourages more regular and creative reflection, as well as use of multimedia (photos, videos, etc).

Google Slides enables collaborative remote work between team members through shared access and editing real-time of online files are accessible from any internet-connected computer or mobile device.

Facebook Workplace

Facebook Workplace is a virtual workplace platform for organisations to connect, communicate, and collaborate.


Facebook Workplace is free to use for education, non-profit, and emergency service organisations.


Facebook Workplace offers different ways of communicating and connecting with colleagues, including video and voice calling, chat functionality, the ability to create groups, and a news feed for broadcasting.


Miro is a cloud-based, collaborative whiteboarding platform that allows teams to work together in a shared space.


Miro offers several tiers of subscription: Free, Team, Business, and Enterprise. The Free plan allows for a maximum of three editable boards and unlimited team members. The Team plan is either $8 (£5.83 approx) per member per month if billed annually, or $10 (£7.29 approx) per member per month, if billed monthly. See the Miro pricing guide for more details.

Miro is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.


Miro allows for group facilitation. 3-5 participants is ideal, otherwise, the session can get confusing.

Miro stimulates collaboration and encourages remote group ideation and reflection.

It is easy to copy and paste post-session actions and documentation. Everyone is working and sharing the same screen so participants can see what others are doing, as well as when the facilitator needs to demonstrate or capture discussions.


YouTube is an online video hosting platform.


YouTube is free to use. A paid subscription model (YouTube Red) is primarily marketed at viewers, allowing ad-free viewing and access to paywalled content.


YouTube provides an easy way to upload and share videos.

Multiple options for privacy functionality are available, which means that videos can be set to publicly searchable, private, or viewable only by people with a specific link.


Medium is an online publishing platform.


Free account and publishing. There is an option for membership at $5 (£3.65 approx) per month or $50 (£36.50 approx) per year.


Medium has good tools for facilitating community building. It is easy for readers to comment, highlight key excerpts, and give reactions

Multiple writers can contribute to a single blog channel. This means that members of staff can all contribute their own writings to the main Barnardo’s blog.

Recipe steps

1. Agree on the fundamentals

○ Who: is everyone in the team involved or is there a lead person?

○ What: how will you organise and what will you capture? This can be divided into three key sections:

■ Key learnings: things you discover through the process, supported by evidence

■ Tension points: complexities that you need to better understand or approach differently, and information regarding how you will do that

■ Changes: these may be tweaks to the delivery of the service (adjustments) or changes that you have noticed as a result of the service (outcomes)

○ When: decide on a schedule

■ Agree how often you will review your living notes

○ Where: decide where you want to store notes and make sure everyone has access to them in a shared space

○ Why: identify why you are collecting notes and establish what you want to achieve

2. Create a new title page for every week

● Include photos, quotes and weekly reflections

● Use visual symbols (such as emojis or pictures) to make learnings, tension points, and impact more visible

● Distinguish one week from the next, which makes it easier to track progress

3. Update regularly

● Create a project journal or ‘scrapbook’ for your project

● The longer you run the project, and the more detailed your notetaking, the more valuable the insights you gain will be


When documenting your learnings, consider what might benefit others in the team now and in the future. For example, you could describe how and why you decided to stop, start, or change a process so that people looking back over the notes will understand why certain decisions were made.

Make sure all communication is open and honest: the best space for learning is within a culture of transparency. This not only applies to documenting where things have been challenging but also in the small details of how you did things, why you made certain decisions, and what the true cost of running the activities have been.

Protecting time for reflection and learning is essential. This has to be an integral part of your practice or else it will be one of the first things that gets squeezed out when time is tight.

Documenting learning and improving services on the basis of what you have learned is a team effort. However, you may decide that someone takes the lead.

It is important that any conflicts are surfaced and dealt with as soon as possible.


When working remotely, it is important to be extra vigilant in your recording of learnings. There is a heightened risk of missing things. It helps to ensure that you’re evaluating things from a 360-degree perspective.

It is vital to secure and maintain buy-in in for the project within your team. Make sure that everyone remains invested in it, even when other duties are more pressing. There is a risk that learning is seen as a luxury, especially at times when you are struggling to meet basic needs.

It is important to create a full and accurate record of the process. There is a risk that only positive or negative lessons are documented, depending on your outlook.

There are also risks to only one person becoming responsible for keeping learning documents. In this case, there is a risk that only one lens is used to look at learning and it becomes biased through a single perspective. Make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Irit Pollak

Sohila Sawhney

Carin Laird


Many thanks to Barnardo's for contributing this recipe.


This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and Barnardo's and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on February 12th, 2021. Last updated August 4th, 2021