Designing SDN’s Children’s Services so Educators and Families can Thrive

  • 2022

  • Design Strategy

Commissioned By:

SDN Children's Services

Designed In:


SDN Children’s Services is a not-for-profit organisation delivering early childhood education and care, children’s therapies, and family support services for more than 100 years. SDN needs to disrupt to survive an increasingly complex environment and continue to build on its vision for a world in which all children thrive.

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  • Changes in the market and government policy lead to the need for this 115-year-old not-for-profit to differentiate. SDN needed the tools to redesign family experiences based on customer empathy to ensure that SDN's difference was defined and lived. Including Understanding what families value and how to deliver this in a way that is consistent with its values and purpose. Understanding and supporting the complex and changing needs of SDN’s educators who deliver SDN’s services by forming lasting family relationships. The design challenge was to create tools and frameworks that enable continuous relationship building between Educators and Families.

  • We began by understanding the psychosocial factors that drive families’ decision making. We complemented this by researching SDN educators’ perspectives, uncovering the way families and educators engage and relate with each other. These insights formed a foundational suite of tools and frameworks unique to SDN's ecosystem, designed to - Equip and empower service delivery staff, building their capabilities to support the emotional experience of families. - Equip SDN with a common language - Equip leaders with the knowledge to make informed strategic decisions guided by deep insights. - Equip the CX team to design services around the unique needs of its families and educators.

  • It was clear that to survive, SDN needed to differentiate meaningfully. Aligning the experience of Families with the experience of Educators through the design of services founded in empathy, connection and trust moves SDN from just another children’s services provider to a village where everyone belongs. The tools and frameworks developed have equipped teams to design services unique to its Families' needs. SDN’s brand difference is not just spoken about but consistently delivered with empathy across all its childcare centres during the moments that matter most to families.

  • A selection of the tools, frameworks and maps designed included: - Family and Educator Mindsets - designed to be used in services. These tools represent the needs and emotional states of Families and Educators. The mindsets recognise that both groups are complex and that their thinking and needs may change over time based on circumstantial factors. - A Decision-Making Model - detailing the practical, emotional, and conceptual factors that interplay in families' decision-making as they consider what's important to them when choosing providers in light of their own circumstances. - Journey maps - that support identification of the moments that matter across the family journey from first contact to the last day.