Strategic collaboration on modeling public systems & social services

The Dartington Service Design Lab is entering into a strategic collaboration with the Brown School’s Social System Design Lab at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and PenCHORD in the south west of England. The organisations connected in 2012 when the Dartington Social Research Unit were facilitating a series of gatherings for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on achieving impact at scale. Peter Hovmand, Director of the Social System Design Lab, shared his thinking on the role of systems thinking and complexity, and the connection to Dartington’s work on system reform in the UK was clear. Since then the SSDL has supported the Dartington Lab in skilling-up on system dynamics modelling, and have supported and co-facilitated on work with looked-after children and mental health systems in the UK.

SSDL Project Lead

Peter Hovmand


2016 – present


Devon, UK

St. Louis, MO, USA

Project Partner

Collaboration Goals

  • Advance thinking and practice in relation to understanding the behavior and dynamics of public systems, such as child welfare and mental health systems, in both the UK and US
  • Reciprocally boost skills and capacity within each Lab in relation to engagement and facilitation and technical aspects of system dynamics modeling
  • Share learning, tools and approaches more widely, through the production of open-source materials, simulation models and scientific papers