Health Innovation Kent Surrey Sussex (Health Innovation KSS) has been working in partnership with e-wellbeing at YMCA DownsLink to co-produce a checklist for developing innovations targeting children and young people.

Children and young people are often missed when innovators develop and design their product or tech solutions. Innovators have said that this is because they don’t know how to engage with children and young people. However, in order to be successful, it is vital that innovations are co-designed with their target audience.

To help innovators know where to start, Health Innovation KSS and e-wellbeing at YMCA DownsLink have been working with young people to gather tips, resources and ultimately produce a checklist on how to engage best with young people. Roxanna Pomplun, a PHD candidate from NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Kent Surrey and Sussex, also worked with innovators to identify what support they needed in this space and identified good practice.

Shivani Lamba, Technical Founder and Lead Engineer, Brightlobe, said: “The guidance looks brilliant and I’m thrilled that we were able to participate and provide some feedback.”

One young person who was interviewed as part of the project said: “I feel that organisations can make me feel that my voice matters by emphasizing the importance of my voice, highlighting the positives that me bringing my opinions gives to the company, gives to the people around them…Feeling like a team, feeling you’re part of it.”

Becca Randell, Children and Young People Mental Health Implementation Lead, and Jenny Partridge, Innovation Manager, at Health Innovation KSS, said: “We know innovators want to understand the real challenges faced by our populations and how best to help create solutions, so guides and checklists like these, and the insights from young people in how innovators and researchers can best engage and seek feedback from them, are incredibly valuable and ultimately help develop solutions which better meet local needs.”

The checklist contains a step-by-step guide to working with young people including preparation prior to a meeting, how to implement and how to evaluation insights from engagement. It also features videos from young people sharing their insights and best practice case studies from organisations who have successfully engaged with children and young people.

The toolkit it free to access nationally and can be accessed, alongside videos from young people, here: