One of Service Design Academy’s standout moments of 2023 was when we helped to co-design a unique lived experience tartan at CanDu Cancer Dundee Support Network’s conference at the V&A Dundee
People living with cancer, clinicians, health and cancer support specialists came together in November to share and learn about the value of lived expertise.
Everyone listened to stories about the physical and emotional challenges that people living with cancer and their families face. A thought provoking Q&A facilitated by Dundee and Angus College’s Claire Mackay brought a wide range of voices together
We learned that although cancer treatment is world-class, patient empowerment for mental and emotional wellbeing needs to be explored and elevated. Empathy is good, but it can only go so far. Space needs to be made for people’s lived expertise to be really heard. Collaboration is critical.
Design has an important part to play – not making assumptions about what people living with cancer need, but asking questions and listening to understand what the problems really are. Making sure that everyone’s voices are heard will shape future cancer services for the better.
In the afternoon participants local designers Linsey McIntosh and Gary Kennedy asked participants to think about:
💙 Why sharing lived expertise matters
💛 What practical and emotional needs must be met.
Thoughts and ideas were woven together as the warp and weft of a magical tartan.
Kim Anderson and Robbie Beautyman from Service Design Academy are now working on giving the lived expertise tartan a lasting legacy. They will analyse data gathered to synthesise into themes. This will help Dr Julie Wardrop and the CanDu team to share and continue to action with the Cancer Support community in Dundee and beyond.
Thank you to everyone for making this a unique day.
Peter Nurick Alison Connelly, Vicky Reid Gary, Linsey, Claire, Robbie, Kim, Aleksandra Daszyńska
There were some tears, some shared frustrations and lots of laughter with a fantastic sing-song to end the day with the fabulous Maggie’s Centres Dundee Choir
Thanks to all the partners and people who supported this event.
Our lead consultant Katie Murrie was delighted to join expert colleagues and service design practitioners at the Service Design Conference at the beginning of October.
Bringing the best in our industry together to share service design knowledge and new cross-disciplinary methods and thinking The Service Design Global Conference more that met its promise of two days of interactive learning, keynote presentations and in-person and virtual networking.
The theme for this year’s Service Design Global Conference was Catalyst for Change. Our world is undergoing radical, disruptive changes at an accelerating speed. Innovation, digitalisation, and technological and environmental shifts are changing the way we live and work, transforming industry and reshaping consumer demands. Service transformation is at the heart of this change with impacts being felt through new and innovative service experiences that serve people, the planet, and the invigorated organisations that deliver them.
The conference speakers addressed the question – how can service design be the ingredient that not only increases the rate of transformation but also improves its quality and impact?
Attending SDGC was an absolute delight. It was an incredible experience. The venue was quirky and inspiring, the speakers were top-notch, and the people were amazing.
Surprisingly, despite our strong relationship with SDN (Service Design Network), this was the first time I had attended the global conference in person. I can confirm that it was worth the 6 year wait.
From start to finish, the entire experience, was just a design dream and I cannot thank those involved in organising everything enough – I can only imagine the orchestration that went into creating such a wholesome experience for those in Berlin and those online, using the immersive platform Hopin.
One of the best things about the conference was the line-up of speakers. They came from all over the world and covered a wide range of topics related to SDN. The talks were informative and engaging, and the panel chats were particularly insightful.
But the real highlight of the conference for me was the people. I had the chance to meet and connect with so many talented and passionate people from the SDN community. It was inspiring to see how many people are passionate about what we are doing.
I’m excited to share more about my experience and reflections on the conference in a future post. Follow me on LinkedIn to stay tuned.
As we get ready for a programme of scheduled and customised training into 2024, we reflect on the importance of knowledge and skills gained in our workshops making an impact back in the real world.
We believe that our service design training should always be focussed on how it will be implemented and put into practice. Our learners and customers know we are all about action!
Building skills and knowledge should improve not only capability for individuals but the capacity for organisations to use service design. Not all our learners will change their job title to Service Designer, but everyone will have evolving mindset and confidence – focussing on people by asking questions, listening, and collaborating to design better services.
We’re working with forward thinking organisations who have different motivations for taking a service design approach – digital transformation, continuous service improvement, effective project management and customer engagement. They all share the purpose of becoming more focussed on understanding and defining problems by speaking to people, to then design better solutions with them.
This is demonstrated with the innovative project we are currently delivering in the South of Scotland with Dumfries and Galloway Local Employability Partnership. This has the critical goal of developing support services for families who continue to be adversely affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
Service Design Academy is training the workers involved directly in service delivery to connect with families to fully understand their challenges to then develop new ideas together with them.
We are energised by this service design for everyone approach. By building skills in how to listen to families, to gather and analyse data to evidence what change is needed, means this is a sustainable way of developing new services. The new skills and confidence grown through this training will benefit not just this programme but drive change in the future.
To ensure that training is sustainable and will make an impact, we are designing learning pathways with organisations in diverse sectors including IT Services, Higher Education, Health and Social Care. Each organisation is focussed on ensuring that their investment will reap positive rewards in delivering better, efficient and effective services.
30th November and 7th December
09:30 – 13:00
This course meets a growing demand for a comprehensive introduction to the mindset, approach, and principles of service design.
This course is for anyone who wants to learn how service design can help them engage with people, solve problems, and bring ideas into reality.
Find out more about the course here
Book your place here
This interactive online introductory course has been designed for you to grow our knowledge of the value of service design. You’ll learn how to use the process to understand problems, to then work towards solutions.
You will explore the relationship between information about people (data) and insights (the things we can learn).
The Professional Development Award starting on the 22nd January, is live and online with interactive learning labs. It offers you the benefits of one-to-one support with our expert team, learning resources in a dedicated digital space and the value of sharing your journey with other people developing their service design practice.
Every Professional Development Award delegate also benefits from a full membership with our partners’ Service Design Network for a year.
Find out more about the only accredited PDA in Service Design and apply here:
The best part? The feedback from the stakeholders involved has been very positive!
One of the major advantages for me as a leader in these initatives is the active involvement of stakeholders from the initial design phase right through to delivery.
Quality & Academic Standards Development Manager
Univesity of Dundee
We are delighted to launch our new 14-hour online course Service Design for Data Professionals running over 4 sessions from November 2nd.
This is part of The Data Lab Data Skills for Work programme – a skills-building programme has been designed to support the development of key data and digital skills and prepare people for the changing world of work.
Thanks to funding from the Scottish Government through the Tay Cities Deal Digital Skills Project, we are excited to be working with The Data Lab on this new service design training opportunity.
Anyone who loves working with data and is looking for ways to solve problems beyond purely technical solutions will find this course useful to enhance communication, storytelling, curiosity, and critical thinking skills.
Data and service design work together closely. Data analysis and insights inform service design decisions around people – their behaviour, preferences, and needs. At the same time service design can be used to design processes that capture relevant user information to improve products, services and experiences.
Learning more about how data and design work together means that we can understand the relationship between information about people (data) and insights (the things we can learn).
We’ve been inspired to design this course by our learning partners the Data Lab’s purpose:
Learning how service design can be used to solve problems with (not just for) stakeholders, delegates will learn how to communicate and effectively engage people in the story and context of data, helping their organisations to make data-informed decisions.
The course will them help to think through issues and problems and develop techniques and confidence to undertake user research, analyse and synthesise qualitative data, generate ideas, and create prototypes for testing and communication.
Lead consultant Katie Murrie explains “A key outcome for our learners will be a shift in mindset. They’ll learn what they do is a service that supports others within and outside their organisation. We’re passionate about offering a hands-on experience of service design as an approach to understand the issues and needs of people to collaboratively problem-solve.
We are incredibly grateful to The Data Lab for giving Service Design Academy the opportunity to be part of a fantastic programme which will contribute to building new skills and confidence for people in Tay Cities.”
We highly encourage those living or working in Dundee, Angus, Perth & Kinross and North Fife to take advantage of this valuable opportunity and apply for a funded opportunity to upskill.
To support under-represented groups in Tay Cities area, fully funded places are available for learners meeting the eligibility criteria.
Fully funded places are available to individuals who meet both parts of the following eligibility criteria.
You live or work in Angus, Dundee, Fife (North East), or Perth and Kinross.
You identify as belonging to one or more of the following groups:
We have been working hard to plan our new courses starting in August 2023. Here’s a rundown of what you could be learning in just over a month from now!
Our flagship SQA accredited course
5 day short course
Five six-hour online sessions over six weeks.
Each week you will join others in an online, learn-by-doing environment. You will learn and experience the service design process, making use of a core selection of tools and methods for problem solving.
I’ve been in the core team for the Professional Development Award since we started designing the accredited six-month course in 2018.
I brought academic and practical design experience to the Service Design Academy, having worked with V&A Dundee as the Design for Business Research Manager and teaching design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Dundee & Angus College.
My career with the Service Design Academy was sparked initially from my curiosity.
I came along to some introductory taster events and quickly realised that I wanted to work there. I loved the warm atmosphere and quirky sense of fun – it felt like a special place to work and support learners. When an opportunity came to join as a training consultant, I jumped at the chance to come onboard!
Just like service design itself, people are what makes the Service Design Academy.
The team brings different experience and specialisms so that our courses meet learners needs. We also have to be organised, knowledgeable and adaptable to streamline ways of working together, so our learners have the best possible experiences.
Not long into my new job, I had a really eye-opening experience on how service design makes change for good.
I joined a week’s mission to Helsinki and learned how design is engrained there from the grassroots up. Design is a way thinking from creating aesthetically appealing environments to the practical development of services.
In Helsinki, participatory budgeting is the norm for citizens, who have a genuine say in how services are delivered.
Service design is in their DNA, embedded across local public services and public bodies. Seeing this in action has been a driver for me to build design skills and knowledge with others.
I helped to develop our very first Professional Development Award and started delivery in 2018. I’ve seen it grow in popularity not only in the UK but across the world.
With the move from face-to-face delivery to online, I’ve seen how effectively collaboration can work using digital tools. This shift doesn’t mean a move from our values – we always make sure our learners are supported fully.
I think the secret of our success is the support we offer – it’s so important to me to demystify and uncomplicate.
I meet with learners before they start the course. It always interests me on why they want to build skills in service design practice. Some people want to learn how to do their jobs better, others want to get the accreditation, and some see it as a stepping-stone to grow their confidence and skills to do new jobs.
I speak to people who have been given a service design remit but want to understand what that means.
Others see our PDA as continuing personal development opportunity to solve problems, innovate and transform – these are the revolutionaries in the workplace!
There are challenges to balancing work and other commitments when you take on study.
The assessments need proper time and attention to complete. You’ll need to set up workshops and encourage others to give their time to attend and participate.
With 5 weeks to every unit, time is precious.
My advice is to be organised from the very beginning, think ahead to plan events, and get dates in your colleagues’ calendars. We’ll support you with choosing a project of the right scale and scope to make sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
I’m constantly reminding learners that nothing needs to be perfect.
If your projects don’t go to plan that’s perfectly ok. Its reflecting on what happened and demonstrating your learning that matters. We offer coffee shops at the start of each of the 4 units where we will go over what’s expected and in 121 chats we’ll coach you on mapping out plans.
You’re never on your own in the PDA,
You have a fellow buddy on each unit and can keep in touch with a group of peers who will support you with feedback and advice.
Your reward from your hard work will be a portfolio which demonstrates that you can work through a design process using tools and methods in the right way.
You’ll understand how to adapt your learning to meet your needs. Your portfolio is something that you can use to showcase in your organisation to build conversations to support change, or even use to demonstrate your practical skill and experience in job interviews.
The impact that the course brings to learners is nothing less than amazing.
Most are apprehensive to start, but their confidence builds as they appreciate the possibilities that service design brings. They can make a difference, improving services, communities and transforming the way they work. Every time I see this happening, I’m reminded of what a rewarding job I have.
We are delighted to have received a high confidence rating on all quality assurance criteria for our Professional Development Award (PDA) in Service Design.
This comes from the awarding body – Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) – who made a detailed external review of all our teaching resources, learner support and assessment processes.
From an online visit to the Service Design Academy team in late June, the external verifier summarised:
The visit included discussions with recent learners to understand how they are supported through their journey from application to assessment.
Our PDA learners shared:
Our ongoing activity to continually improve was also recognised as good practice from SQA.
Reviews of our teaching resources are undertaken regularly to ensure they are up to date. Team members demonstrate a strong desire to generate new ideas and ongoing improvement to course delivery and assessment practice.
Our development of checklists and feedback forms ensures that learners’ work is marked consistently, and candidate feedback is clear and concise.
Katie Murrie (our Lead Consultant) and all the team are thrilled to receive such positive validation. It serves as a testament to the high standards we all hold.
Most importantly, it means for our learners that:
For anyone considering learning with the Professional Development Award in Service Design; you are taking your next step in building your service design capability with people who care.
Dear Service Design Academy friend,
Welcome to our May newsletter.
This month we look back on a busy April and forward to the months ahead with details of courses coming up.
These include Professional Development Award August and October 23 cohorts, Design Your People Experience, Backstage and Behind the Scenes for Public Services and Design Your Donor Journey.
We’ll also focus on learn-by-doing” in our professional practice.
April was another varied month for the team, with our latest 5-day Innovation and Impact cohort completing this immersive and intense introduction to service design.
Here’s some great feedback on what our group learned:
We’ve been busy too with customised training programmes
You can register interest in our next 5-day course in August 23 here.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can customise a training programme to meet your team’s needs, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat. We’ll share recommended training programmes with prices to suit your budge
Service Design Academy was delighted to host an online visualisation taster session on the 27th April with Marcus DeVale and the Workvisible team. This had a phenomenal turnout from invited community members, many thanks to all who took part.
Marcus introduced us to what visual thinking is and its value in helping us to remember things in our long-term memory, the ability to communicate in a different way and to provide a high-level understanding and overview, whether that’s for proposals, presentations or the sharing of data findings. Marcus took us through, step by step, on the basics behind visual thinking, and how to use and develop a visual library of simple shapes combined to make icons.
We were all “learning by doing” as Marcus took us through our visual paces. We asked Katie Murrie, SDA’s lead consultant what having a hands-on approach to learning means to her:
“Most of our training programmes are based on design challenges or “how might we” statements. This gives our learners an immersive experience, they will be drawing on their experience to share with other learners, and then to challenge the assumptions they’ve made.
We ask our learning groups to take a leap of faith, trust the process as a starting point and not to worry about perfection with anything they are doing. We create a conducive learning environment to practice, from deciding what questions to ask, tools to use, to implementing new visualisation techniques.
They’ll learn very early on that service design is not a “paint by numbers” linear process; you will grow your expertise through taking learnings from every experience you have. And practise will move everyone towards increased confidence and expertise. Iteration is a key principle of service design, which means that our teaching content and teaching style are always aligned.”
So, what’s the risk of not learning by doing?
In the article How to avoid the dangers of not learning by doing, Amanda Nimon-Peters describes how “Leading your organisation to avoid the “not learning by doing” phenomenon to ensure you are constantly improving your toolkits, rather than simply applying the same tools to new situations.”
Nimon-Peter’s continues, “Learning by doing is effective because we learn what happens from our actions. If a particular solution results in disaster, you become less likely to use that solution again – a pattern crucially important for skill development to ensure we do not need to constantly re-learn basic skills. However, once we feel we have sufficient capability to meet our end-goals, we stop working on improving our skills and instead rely on the tools we have to deliver our results.”
She suggests the best remedy to the not learning by doing is described in Ericsson’s Deliberate Practice described in the bestseller ” Peak” approach. This blog from Ivaylo Durmonskil describes what deliberate practice looks like https://durmonski.com/self-improvement/deliberate-practice-theory/
In a nutshell: How do you Deliberately Practice Something?
Our 2-day live and online Design Your People Experience course runs again on the 1st and 8th of June. This course has been designed for anyone involved at any stage of the employee journey.
What’s the difference between employee and people experience? SDA consultant Kim Anderson explains:
“At the Service Design Academy, we like to focus on “people” opposed to “employee” experience. We believe that this subtle change in language can have a positive impact on mindset when creating these experiences. This helps to break down the hierarchy that the use of the word “employee” might have and allows everyone who works at an organisation to be seen as a unique person whatever they do and however they do it.“
In this ½ day course designed for professional charity fundraisers, SDA will share how taking a design approach can help you understand more about your donors’ needs and experience. You’ll leave with tools on how to design better ways to develop your fundraising relationships.
Very limited free places are available for groups of 2-4 charity fundraisers. Please contact Maralyn Boyle for how to join email@example.com
Public services should be designed with customers’ experiences and needs at the heart. This means that we tend to focus on the impact they make from the perspective of external users. But in doing this, we have lost sight of two critical elements – “backstage” and “behind the scenes”. Service design gives the opportunity to make an impact in all three places.
Join Katie Murrie and Kim Anderson to learn:
Early Bird prices until 22nd May! Find out more and book here
We are delighted to confirm new dates have been released for the Professional Development Award (PDA) in Service Design, the leading accredited course for anyone looking to develop their service design practice.
August ‘23 – March ’24 (limited availability)
October ‘23 – April ‘24
The six-month course covers the core skills, tools, and mindsets you need to service design powerful interventions for complex issues. Learners are taken on a journey, a process spanning four learning units over six months with 17 live sessions and interactive content on a live learning environment.
The PDA connects theory and practical applications through a mix of experiences, live online classrooms, watch anytime videos, teamwork, mentoring and case studies.
Our PDA learners:
You can find out more here PDA in Service Design
We hope that you’re having a great start to 2023! The snowdrops are starting to peak through here in Scotland, and Service Design Academy team are looking forward to a busy spring time ahead.
We started 2023 by delivering training courses to help people from different organisations build new skills and find better ways of working together.
If you would like to find out how we can customise a programme of training to meet skills gaps while colleagues work together on an organisational challenge please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Our popular course offers a hands-on, learn by doing insight into the process of service design. Find out what you’ll learn and do in this link:
PDA delegate Molly Northcote Putting User Research into action!
This six-month course is delivered by our expert service design trainers and offers a learn by doing approach where you will:
For more information on our courses or discuss how we can help you build skills and capacity in service design please do get in touch: email@example.com
Our course offering is mapped against Skills Levels aligned to the UK Government Digital Data and Technology Profession Capability Framework and Scottish Government’s Digital Data & Technology Framework
To help us understand more about knowledge, understanding and implementation of service design we’re having 121 cheerful chats with people working in roles in:
What should you expect from service design training? John Lynch’s recent article resonates with the Service Design Academy’s approach, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what you expect from service design training.
Thank you to Peter Byebierggaard for sharing this with us.
Dundee and Angus College’s Service Design Academy designed a user research plan which engaged with College and University students, young people, and youth groups on the future of the city centre. 227 participants (aged 16 – 24 years) got involved over the course of eleven pop-up events and online engagement.
With key themes around public spaces, living, working and connecting, young people in Dundee shared their thoughts, feelings and ideas about the City Centre.
You can read about what we did to ensure that young people’s voices will be heard to shape the future of Dundee in this report: Young People’s Voices to the City Centre Strategic Investment Plan(dundeecity.gov.uk)
We are proud to contribute to the progress and development going into producing this ambitious 30-year plan.
The plan sets out a long-term vision for next 30 years and identifies a wide variety of development opportunities. It includes radical ideas for Dundee’s future city centre, and indicative plans and visuals for seven strategic development opportunity sites.
Thank you to Jennifer Caswell, Alan Brown and Gregor Hamilton at Dundee City Council for giving the SDA team the opportunity to contribute to this important research to the future of the Dundee City Centre.
We’d like to thank all the organisations who supported us including DUSA – Dundee University Students’ Association Abertay Students’ Association Dundee and Angus College Student Association Dundee City Council Education and Community and Learning Development teams.