Contact us

Magpie Meets… Barnardo’s!

Written by: Safeia El-Jack | 24th August 2023
6 min read

Magpie Meets is a unique exchange programme which exists to fulfil Magpie’s volunteering time and professional development needs through exchanges with a diverse range of change-making organisations. Participants of the programme are invited to join Magpie to solve a behaviour change communications challenge using behavioural science, creativity and collaboration. 

The process involves an in-depth briefing, a cultural immersion activity and an exchange workshop which encourages Magpie to transfer knowledge, understand change-making leadership at multiple levels and bring creative and academic practices to problem solving.

In June, Magpie met with Barnardo’s, the UK’s leading children’s charity supporting over 357,000 children, young people, parents and carers a year through over 790 services and partnerships.

The brief

Heads from the solutions and change management teams at Barnardo’s selected a culture change brief relating to a new progression model the charity is introducing across its 7,000+ employees. 

Magpie set about designing a workshop to co-create an approach for cultural change with those responsible for delivery, resulting in a behaviour change communications blueprint and journey map to guide the organisation on this imminent and large-scale programme of work.

Meeting the team 

‘Magpie Meets… Barnardo’s’ began with a series of briefing calls with senior leaders to explore and define a relevant brief. During these calls, Magpie was able to gain a more rounded understanding of their vision for change, challenge the brief and hone in on what success might look like.

For every Magpie Meets programme, a hand-picked project team is selected with relevant skills matched to the challenge set by the beneficiary. The team for this exchange included co-founder Ged Savva, Managing Director – Kim Somerville, Lead Behavioural Insights Consultant – Dr Julie Van de Vyver and Digital Journalist – Safeia El-Jack.


After the briefing, came the immersion stage of the programme. This consisted of changemaker interviews and a retail immersion day at a Barnardo’s Donation Centre in Leeds. Here, members of the Magpie Meets project team had the opportunity to interview the Area Manager, learn about the working culture, review systems and processes and get involved in sorting donations which provided a deeper level of understanding the culture change brief.

Magpie’s Digital Journalist, Safeia El-Jack, said this about the immersion experience:

“Getting stuck in with an immersion day really gave us an opportunity to see what working at Barnardo’s is like. Our interview with the area manager gave us such a deep dive into the brain of Barnardo’s and helped us craft an even more tailored brief.”

Exchange day

On Monday 5 June, the Magpie Meets project team arrived at the Barnardo’s workspace in London for a visionary day of co-creation.

In attendance were 13 stakeholders from across the charity, each representing different areas of the organisation. Roles spanned Business Solutions, Change Management, People and HR, Programme and Policy leads, Systems leads, Children’s Services and Internal Comms.

The primary resource was the ‘co-creation canvas’ which would act as a one-page strategy for taking this change forward beyond the session, enabling the team to focus the outcomes of the sessions and ‘lock in’ actionable phases of work.


Together, Magpie and Barnardo’s defined the behavioural outcomes Barnardo’s aims to achieve as a result of their culture change project. Magpie’s lead behavioural insights consultant introduced an academic literature review with key findings for comparison and benchmarking, used the COM-B behaviour change framework to discuss the barriers and facilitators to change, and developed a communications approach for the internal behaviour change intervention work most likely to be effective.

The sessions resulted in a blueprint strategic approach, giving the organisation focus and an outline plan for taking change forward. Attendees said their key takeaways included:

Feedback and impact

Barnardo’s attendees were given the opportunity to fill in a post session feedback form which revealed the following results:

Delivery of the exchange was rated between 9 and 10 out of 10 at the ‘excellent’ end of the scale for facilitation.

The length of the session was rated as ‘just about right’ with a small percentage of attendees wanting an even longer session.

Our ‘flexibility’ and the opportunity to introduce more ‘context’ at the start of the session were highly valued by attendees.

The majority of attendees rated the behavioural science lens between ‘very relevant’ and ‘highly relevant’.

Comments included:

“For an initial session, you all owned it, you allowed us room whilst I think learning yourselves. Your nature as an organisation came through, we were a good fit in that sense.”

“Thank you for facilitating so well. I thought Magpie’s contributions made it easier to talk about the difficult issues and my thinking shifted during the course of the day. I have already shared my thoughts with my team.”

“Thank you for a very useful and thought-provoking day!”

Magpie attendees said the session enhanced their professional development in the following ways:

Safeia El-Jack, Magpie’s Digital Journalist, said: 

“I got a true insight into the academic work of behavioural science models such as the behaviour change wheel and saw how it gets put into practise.”

Dr Julie Van de Vyer, Magpie’s Lead Behavioural Insights Consultant, said: 

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to apply our behavioural insights expertise to a new and large-scale (organisation-wide) challenge. It was fantastic to work directly with and hear from the team at Barnardos – a true co-creation session”.


Magpie is currently planning the calendar of Magpie Meets activity. If you would like to be considered as a beneficiary for our next Magpie Meets programme, please get in touch and a member of the Magpie team will be in contact.

Back to top