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Ms Rachel Wood

Rachel Wood Open University Research Student Image

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Professional biography

I first joined the Open University as a part time undergraduate in 1998, which started a lifelong interest and passion for the Social Sciences, Criminology and Psychology


Practice Experience


I am experienced in leadership and management in service, systematic and organisational design, and strategy, as well as user and customer research, and evaluation. I have a proven track record in central and local government, strategic partnerships, and the charitable sector.


I have practice skills in frameworks development, and design best practice (e.g., co-design, discovery research, communities of practice, and e-learning), social policy and strategy development, as well as customer and user experience (CX/UX)


I am committed to telling the story of real people lives and needs through customer journeys, service blueprints and patterns, user story development, personas and other design tools and techniques which make a real positive difference to communities and individuals


I also have evidenced experience in service improvement projects, and programme management, business case development, change readiness and management, policy and bid writing, training, facilitation, coaching and mentoring (NLP Practitioner)


Through my own lived experience of disability, I have gained a real understanding of the difference that accessible and inclusive technology, and services can make. This has given me a fresh perspective on the impact that designing for services can make on those that need them the most


Research and Educational Experience


Alongside my current practice experience, I am also a part time mixed methods PhD Researcher in service co-design, and a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society


I joined the Open University Design Group in October 2022. My previous educational experience is as follows:


  • BSc in the Social Sciences with Social Policy (Open University)
  • BSc in Psychology (Open University)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Leadership (National Professional Qualification in Leadership) (Middlesex University)
  • MSc in Forensic Psychology (Coventry University)


Orcid ID:


I am passionate about designing justice, outcomes in the early years, trauma informed and participatory practice, the economics of prevention, parenting education, and behavioural and improvement/implementation sciences



Research interests

  • Service Design
  • Codesign
  • Systems and Behavioural Design
  • Social and Forensic Psychology
  • Designing Justice
  • Mothers and families who have experience of the Criminal Justice System
  • Parenting and Prison Education
  • Improvement and Implementation Science


Impact and engagement

The journey to service co-design – Design@Open

Wood, R. (2020), ‘Inside Mum’ – A thematic exploration of public attitudes towards women offenders being offered parenting education, Unpublished MSc thesis, Coventry University