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Ms Rachel A. Wood

Rachel A. Wood Open University Researcher Image

Profile summary

Professional biography

Rachel A.Wood (MSc, GMBPsS) - She/Her (Rach-el) 


Leading service, systemic and organisational design | PhD Researcher | Pracademic | Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society


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, and later in human centred design


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 recent lived experience, 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:


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


Accessibility and service design for inclusion, (Gov Blog), Wood, R (February 2024)

Designing the Fry Equation - Design@Open Wood, R (October 2023)

The journey to service co-design – Design@Open Wood, R (May 2023)


Publications and other content:


Wood, R (2024), ‘Inside Mum – A Service Co-Design Project (Scoping)’, International Criminal Justice Network, YouTube [Video Podcast], 22.05.24, Available at:

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‘Inside Mum’ – A thematic exploration of public attitudes towards women offenders being offered parenting education, Unpublished MSc thesis, Coventry University

Wood, R. (2020), 'Inside Dad' - A review of the key issues and themes in attachment based parenting programmes to reduce re-offending in fathers, Unpublished MSc thesis, Coventry University

Wood, R (2019), Who's the Expert? - Innovation in Co-Production and Service Design Conference 2019, A Better Start Publications,

Wood, R (2018), 'Why exchanging knowledge matters', A Better Start Southend Research Blog

Wood, R (2018), 'Mind the Gap' - Why the theory of change matters in service design, A Better Start Southend Presentation

Wood, R (2018), Social and Emotional Strategy: Parenting, A Better Start Southend Presentation,

Wood, R. (2018) quoted in Horne, J. (2018), Practice Special Report: Laying Foundations for Future Attainment. p 42

Wood, R. (2018) ‘Service Design Framework: Applying Design in an Integrated Context to Create Innovation and Impact’, A Better Start Southend

Wood, R. and Wratislaw, I. (2018), 5,000 Reasons to Invest, E-Poster presented at Public Health England Conference 11.09.18, at the University of Warwick

Wood, R (2017-2020 - 32 Editions) Ed.. A Better Start Southend Research Bulletin A Better Start Southend | Research Bulletins - A Better Start Southend

Wood, R. (2014), Happiness is being one of the gang: a discourse analysis of positive emotions, and group membership of an operatic society, Unpublished BSc Psychology Research, Open University

Wood, R. (2012), How multi-agencies and disciplines can work together better in a Family Centre, Unpublished Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Leadership research, Middlesex University

Wood, R. (2010) Foreword in Eds. Evans, BJR and Coe, J (2010), By the Dome It's Home, Grosvenor House Publishing, Surrey [ISBN-10 1907211276]