It really is a case of it being the perfect partnership.  Storytelling is such a huge part of service design and the whole design thinking process.  Storytelling can help you in so many ways throughout your service design journey.

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today”

Robert McKee, Scriptwriter

Service Design gives us powerful stories to tell.  

We have been telling stories for as long as we’ve been human – they are an essential part of our day-to-day communications. When done well, storytelling can do wonders for a project: it can create a sense of empathy, generate enthusiasm and win the loyalty and affection of audiences. 

We want to share three ways where you can deploy storytelling to support your service design journey.

Problem, Solution, Impact

The first is to better understand and to articulate a problem. One of the key principles of service design and design thinking is that we need to understand the problem before we can come up with potential solutions and being able to tell the story of the problem is a good place to start.

As service designers we listen and share the human story behind the problem. It could be that people can’t find a service, or that they can’t use it unaided.  It could be that the confirmation email hasn’t been sent, or the explanation in it is not clear. It could be that having to pass between the silos created in organisations means the service becomes frustrating for people.  Whatever it is, there’s a story behind why that service doesn’t work, and why the user is not able to do the thing they set out to do.

All our courses are hands-on, with a learn by doing approach, our learners are required to listen to, and share stories.  When teams come up with their idea, there is a story behind it. Telling this story and the background context lets everyone know why something needs to change.  

And that’s the second part, we can share potential solutions to the problem.  It’s about telling a scenario of what could be possible in the future and if we are trying to get buy in, or help people to understand our solutions then telling it in a story format is going to be much easier for people to absorb and to understand.

“Storytelling connects us, helps us make sense of the world, and communicates our values and beliefs. A good story makes us think and feel, and speaks to us in ways that numbers, data, and presentation slides simply can’t.”

Celinne Da Costa

Thirdly, you can tell the story about the impact you have made.  Going through the service design process means that you will initiate some sort of change, being able to tell the story of that change, tell the story of what it was like before and what it’s like now and the impact the change has had.  This part is not just about the change, it’s the difference that change has made to individuals and potentially the broader community as well.

We’d been thinking more and more that Storytelling had an important part in service design and we wanted to test our idea.  The team got together with Kevin Anderson from The Story Edge for some training.  It struck us how intrinsically linked our worlds are and how important it was for service designers to be able to tell their stories well.  A workshop was arranged with some of our past and potential clients and we fleshed out the idea.  At that time, we were undergoing our Organisational Accreditation with the Service Design Network and Birgit Mager, joined the workshop as part of our assessment. Birgit was intrigued by the idea and saw real value in adding a Storytelling element to our core learning. 

Move on several months and we’ve just introduced 8 self-study videos created by Kevin to the PDA in Service Design.  The short lessons take you through Kevin’s Story Stack model.

When the story is very relatable, like when you’re using real-life examples gathered from user insights, it has the added benefit of making it easier to understand and more memorable as it’s personally relatable, the audience empathises with the character in the story.

Stories provide meaning, create context and evoke a sense of purpose.  Businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of storytelling to better connect with their users, create a connection with their brand and to share successes!

Being able to tell a powerful story can be the start of a service design journey and a tool that will help you through the whole process.

 

We live in uncertain times and now more than ever the tools of service design are helping to find new, creative mindsets and innovative ways to solve our challenges.

The future is bright, the future is …… yellow and blue and white and green

November at the Service Design Academy has seen us very much looking to the future.

The publication of The Future of Service Design, the After the Pandemic Symposium, the launch of our new website and the announcement of increased Flexible Workforce Development Funding are shining a bright light on the road ahead.

Service Design is always aimed at creating a future that doesn’t exist yet

Liat Rogel, Service Designer at Housing Lab

We knew that to move forward we had to  be in a really great place, and that meant a 6 month zig zag journey through the design process which led to the development of our remote delivery courses. Yes that’s 6 months of work right there!

And that means that from January 2021 our Professional Development Award in Service Design will be delivered remotely, so it doesn’t matter where you are in the world you can study for a service design qualification, accredited by the Service Design Network and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.  Find out more and apply here.

Our short course programme for 2021 is now available there’s a range of 2, 3 and 5 day options to suit you whether you’re starting your service design journey or taking that step into learning for the future.

Until the 30th of November you can enjoy an Early Bird price on all 2021 short courses.

… and the streets are yellow, and pink and blue …..

Lady with umbrella walking across the street

When it was announced that a Dundee city centre street was to close to through traffic in May 2020 many were upset and sceptical about the potential benefits.

SDA worked with UNESCO City of Design Dundee and Dundee City Council to facilitate a fast paced, compelling, and responsive engagement initiative with businesses to support the pedestrianisation of the city’s Union Street. Find out what happened when we service designed a city street here

….. and the adverts are yellow and pink and green ….

We have been eagerly awaiting the announcement about the Flexible Workforce Development Fund 20/21 and we weren’t disappointed. This year our funding allocation has increased to over £600,000!

As part of Dundee & Angus College we are the only service design educator where you can use FWDF for service design education and training.  Eligible businesses have £15,000 to upskill their workforce through our PDA and Business Courses. Whether you need to adapt to recover, change to grow, or are ready to drive innovation and problem solve on a whole different level, we can help.

We have Business Advisors who can walk businesses through the application process and if our courses aren’t quite what you’re after why not let us design the perfect solution? We will work with you to co-design learning to exactly suit your needs where your people will work on live business challenges, set by you, to immediately put the learning into context.

If your employer is eligible for the funding, contact your HR/OD team to ask them to support your learning through FWDF.

As the only College in Scotland with a Service Design curriculum we look forward to welcoming people from across the country to study with us.

The future is …………..

Have you spotted our new brand colours yet?  We’ve been introducing them on social channels and in our workshops recently, they match our newly launched website www.sda.ac.uk, check it out and let us know what you think at info@sda.ac.uk

As always for the latest news we’re on Twitter and Instagram @SDA_Scot

When it was announced that a Dundee city centre street was to close to through traffic in May 2020 many were upset and sceptical about the potential benefits.

The Service Design Academy worked with UNESCO City of Design Dundee and Dundee City Council to facilitate a fast paced, compelling, and responsive engagement initiative with businesses to support the pedestrianisation of the city’s Union Street.

Funded by Scottish Government and managed by Sustrans Scotland, Spaces for People is a temporary infrastructure programme in Scotland offering funding and support to make it safer for people who choose to walk, cycle or wheel for permitted journeys and exercise, while physical distancing is in place during Covid-19.

Dundee City Council (DCC) has moved to make the city’s streets more walker and cyclist friendly, to encourage workers to use active travel as lockdown eases.  DCC is committed to improving engagement with, and services for, its communities, putting employees, customers and partners at the heart of all transformation and innovation.

DCC has recognised that to maximise community engagement and to increase the pace of improvement, they must harness and embed a way of doing things that encourages innovation and collaboration.

UNESCO City of Design Dundee (UCODD) partnership started with the Service Design Academy in 2018. What started with sharing a brief for an SDA User Research bootcamp,  “What can be done for design in Dundee and for the designers in the City”,  soon developed. UCODD were impressed with the depth and breadth of the insights produced by the SDA delegates. They were confident that the refreshing approach taken by SDA – challenging assumptions and not jumping to solutions –   was exactly what was needed. Listening and understanding the needs of local businesses and residents would shape the redesign of a busy thoroughfare to be car free and pedestrian friendly.

Let’s take a moment to understand why UCODD and DCC believed that a Service Design approach was ideal for Union Street to be redesigned with not just for the community.

Service Design is concerned with how things work for people in practice. It looks at the lived experience, behaviours and aspirations of people and organisations, and how these are influenced by broader system drivers and conditions. It helps to connect policy intent with the complexity of how things are practised on the ground

Taking a project through human centred design stages ensures that you

Its collaborative processes create an environment where:

The Programme

In partnership with UNESCO City of Design Dundee (UCoDD), Service Design Academy (SDA) facilitated two activities:

Development of an interactive online tool for local citizen engagement and user research. We introduced users to Padlet, for citizens to share their thoughts and insights on the pedestrianisation of Union Street. It was prepared with thoughtful, open questions and distributed throughout online platforms with the support of UCoDD.

Two dates were arranged for online collaboration. This brought together local businesses, representatives from the local authority and elected members. Both events were led by SDA Consultants using their card game “Connecting Communities”

Chris Muir, SDA Consultant explains “The game is designed to increase democratic engagement, for participants to feel empowered in providing solutions to real life problems and challenges. The gamification of service design tools is a pioneering way of engaging groups quickly to encourage collaboration and empower decision making. Participants worked through themes and levels of the game to discover and define problems before moving forward with developing solutions through speedy idea generation.”

Workshop activities were designed to maximise interaction between participants, enable collaborative working and expose everyone to a range of creative service design methods and tools.

The groups were overwhelmingly positive on the content of the workshop, how it supported creativity, challenged assumptions and supported deeper understanding of stakeholder needs.

Workshops Overview

The session started with a social dreaming exercise, engaging participants to consider what the City Centre of 2030 looked like.

Next, we took an empathic approach to thinking about Union Street by using an empathy map and asking key questions such as, how are people feeling about the road closure? What are they seeing, hearing and noticing all around them?  The map looked at the current picture from 3 perspectives. A business owner, the Council and a local person.

A shared vision exercise followed, to bring individual aspirations together to create a cohesive vision based on what is important to the stakeholders moving forward. After the vision exercise, the Connecting Communities game started. Participants were asked to pick what kind of street they would like to work on. This resulted in four groups working simultaneously through their understanding of a cosy, safe, vibrant and communal street. Ideation was introduced at this point to get initial thoughts, ideas and suggestions out on the table.

We paused ideation, asking the collective to consider what the ’Street from Hell’ would look and feel like. This ‘flipped thinking’ exercise was incredibly useful in discovering what the participants did not want their street to become.

The last activity looked at keeping it local.  How do we put the community at the heart of Union Street? This resulted in more creative ideas being produced and identified individuals whom the participants would like to be involved.

Encouraging the third sector to get involved was a popular idea. Striking up impactful relationships with local charities, putting on pop up events to increase footfall in the area, would bring a real community feeling to the street.

Outputs supporting delivery and implementation included using natural materials to create space for outdoor dining by installing wooden planters, maintained by Bonnie Dundee volunteers, and selecting bold, bright welcoming colours for the street mural designed by recent DJCAD graduate Callum Laird, 

Valuable additional outcomes of SDA’s Connecting Communities approach with Union Street’s local businesses and residents are:

The pilot programme due to run until the end of September has now been extended until the end of January 2021.

84% of traders say that the changes have been positive for the street, with 62% saying it has been good for their business. In the survey carried out on behalf of Dundee City Council, retailers in Union Street also report 68% of their customers saying that they feel more positive about the area.

Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee said:

“Keeping vehicles off the street was a way of doing something different to try to open it up to locals and visitors so that they had more time and space to use the shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes. 

“It has gone down so well that the street will remain closed to through traffic until the end of January, but we will continue monitoring the change carefully and engaging with businesses over the coming months.”     

Photo © D C Thomson

Arbroath Academy and the Service Design Academy partnered up in 2019 after receiving a successful bid from Education Scotland’s Creative Curriculum Fund.

Arbroath Academy was aware that their curriculum may no longer be fit for purpose. Attendance data collected showed a disengagement with students, particularly, in 3rd and 4th year upwards. The current curriculum is focussed on those young people who will achieve and secure a higher education place. Only 20% of the current young people attending Arbroath Academy will move onto university with limited opportunities for the remaining 80% of learners.

Arbroath Academy saw an opportunity to design their curriculum with young people and staff at the heart, adopting user research and co-design process approaches to invent the curriculum of the future.

“We wanted to inject some creativity into the system and tackle existing, stubborn challenges in a new way.  We’re calling this creative change”

Creativity Team, Education Scotland

To start the discovery process, SDA ran two workshops with a follow up co-design day inviting stakeholders including Education Scotland, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Angus Council, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) and members of the PTA.

Workshop 1 – Discovery with young people

Workshop 2 – Discovery with teaching & support staff

Workshop 3 – Co-Design with staff, young people and external stakeholders

Here, Chris Muir SDA Consultant shares his experience of the co-design workshop.

“Co-design is not a one-off event, it’s a journey. Imagine a world where users decide what works best. Imagine a world that encourages all stakeholders to have a say in designing the curriculum of the future.

The brief that the Service Design was given from Arbroath Academy was radical. Only 20% of these young people continue onto university. So why is the current curriculum solely focussed on this group?

Following on from two previous events, that concentrated solely on diving deep into gathering insights, it was time to do something with all that research. Create the right conditions and something magical can happen. The Service Design Academy’s role in this was clear; facilitate (not lead) young people, teachers and partners to collaborate and co-design the curriculum of the future for Arbroath Academy.

 Embracing the full value of Co-Design

The day kicked off with some speedy getting to know each other before mapping out the themes that had been discovered during the first 2 days. The mixture of young people (s2–s6) and teaching staff had all their findings collaborated and digested into 49 specific areas of interest. The groups picked themselves by choosing what they wanted to tackle for the rest of the day.

Group Forming through the power of the marshmallow challenge was served up next. What occurred during the next 7 mins was radical and rule breaking at its best (things we do encourage here at SDA). Construct the tallest freestanding tower you can with the material provided. With a bag of chocolate buttons on offer, competition was fierce. Embrace failure you say…nearly every structure was stuck to the desk, oh well the SDA team devoured the buttons on the way home, winning!

Prototype 1 – Giving the pupils a voice

Marc Stickdorn repeatedly says “ideation is cheap, prototyping is underrated”. The groups re-defined their problem around the theme of their group. (Skills, Pupil Voice, School Essentials (physical design), Qualifications, Building Relationships and School Experiences) before carrying out some ideation into the problems they were trying to solve.

After an introduction to prototyping and a reminder that the greatest inventor of all time is called ‘Accident’, the groups jumped straight into designing their solutions.  The learn by doing approach was infectious and allowed creativity to flow, if you could capture the energy in the room at this stage of the day it would be worth a small fortune. Co-design is a team sport and those rough first drafts to be fair, were pretty impressive. Now was the time to test and validate those version 1 prototypes.

With the ring of the lunchtime bell a few hundred stakeholders became instantly available to give feedback on the solutions we’d produced.  5 of the groups hit the recreational areas in and around the school and one group stayed in the room and brought stakeholders to see their prototype.

Testing and validating those ideas

Our invited guests, from meaningful learning networks, donned their ‘critical friends’ caps and each joined a group to specifically ask the, ‘yeah, so what?’ and ‘why?’ questions. Importantly we’d called upon the people who could actually make this happen! Ian Lorimer, The Director of Finance at Angus Council (who holds the purse strings), Education Scotland (project funders), SDS, DYW, Lynsey Clark from Calderglen High School/SDA student and members of the Parent Teachers Association all took part as we carried out 3 rounds of pitching and feedback.

Combining the feedback from the school community and the critical friends, each group was asked to create version 2 and re-work their original solution.

Young People & Teachers co-creating their solutions to the skills of the future theme

On completion of version 2 we asked them to tell the story through a visualisation tool called tomorrow’s news, specifically asking them to date it, as we want to see how long it will take for their proposed solution to come to fruition.

One of the completed Tomorrow’s News

The results of the co-design day were inspiring.

  1. Having an entire week out of the year for teachers and young people to come together specifically to focus on relationship building through clubs, activities and visits outside of the traditional classroom setting.

  2. Complete classroom design overhaul. Introducing a cosy corner that young people could utilise at times of anxiety and uncertainty.

  3. A new 13-week block timetable, one that has all theory in the morning and all practical in the afternoon. This would include leaving the school and getting out and about to put into practice the theory you had covered in the mornings. It would involve a whole day being dedicated to the one subject.

  4. An app for giving young people a louder voice in the school. A ‘we said, you did’ approach to all things in and around the school. This group used the Marvel app to produce a 1st prototype.

  5. Ways and means of accessing the school curriculum outside of school. Inspired by the Amazon approach of getting exactly what you want online, young people who may miss classes for a variety of reasons (carer, mental health, illness) can pop online and access all the materials they missed that day.

  6. Re-organising and reviewing the current social and life skills young people want/require for leaving school. Replicating a flat, arranging to pay bills, getting a mortgage, changing a tyre, prepping for interviews in the real world. This would involve the complete re-design of some spaces inside the school for this to be brought to life.

All prototypes and materials were left on display for the rest of the school to review and reflect on. The excitement of everyone involved was tangible. They agreed that something very special had been created by SDA, Arbroath Academy and Education Scotland through the 3 workshops.

What happened next – September 2020 update

This feeling of creating something special has not been lost. Acting, ensuring that all this work has “legs”, embedding the powerful student voice and co-creation skills and the drive and momentum are now a priority

  1. In May an implementation workshop put ideation into action with members of the senior management team taking responsibility for each theme.
  2. Two members of staff were so inspired by the service design experience they successfully applied for funding to formalise their learning with the Professional Development Award in Service Design. Before and during the pandemic they’ve run small service design projects as part of their assessments, bringing service design learning into day to day practice.
  3. Arbroath Academy’s young people and staff have embraced service design and are now engaged once more with the Service Design Academy on an Employability Pathways project.
  1. Service design is being taught to S2 pupils. It’s been extremely successful so far!  They’ve been approached by community champions in the school to use “improving the community in Arbroath” as the overall challenge.  So far 5 groups in the year have been:

What do they like? A better question would be what’s not to like? The young people simply love the “doing not talking” approach! 

It’s about changing the reality of those coming to learn, grow and develop at Arbroath Academy. The education system has a responsibility to be inclusive for one and all. Let’s remember first and foremost, real change only happens when we’re willing to do things we’ve never done before.

Feedback gathered on the day

Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence states every child and young person is entitled to opportunities for developing skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work.

Arbroath Academy is leading the way, we can’t wait to see what happens next to help our children and young people gain the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for life in the 21st century.”

https://education.gov.scot/Documents/Creative-Curriculum-Fund-Appendix-A-Context.pdf

Think on this. 2 out of 3 children starting school in 2020 will be in jobs that don’t yet exist.  Tech beyond imagination, increased global competition, yo-yo economies and unpredictable employment trends all mean the education sector needs to adapt constantly. The new reality of Covid-19 makes the future of education even more uncertain and complex.

Educators are looking to move from learning models sometimes created back at the time of the Industrial Revolution. There is a thirst to improve teaching, identify efficiencies and deliver value to their students. Educational institutions are becoming more reflective in searching for the best ways to improve student experience in schools and throughout wider communities too.

#SDinED started with the vision of three women. They shared one goal – make the learning journey an enjoyable experience for all.  They saw a future where education is co-designed and co-delivered collaboratively by students, staff and wider stakeholder groups.

Three Warriors

Jean Mouton headshot smiling
Radka Newton standing and smiling
Katie Murrie headshot smiling

Co-Founders Jean Mutton (Go Process Design), Radka Newton (University of Lancaster), and Katie Murrie (Service Design Academy)

They found people like them, committed to change education for the better. With this growing network, they co-created their first gathering.  A proto-type agenda to make the future of education better was proposed.

Principles:

Plan:

The Meeting of Minds

Radka remembers their first face to face meeting “Katie is the tornado that we enjoy swirling around with. Our first meet up gave us loads of energy and tons of confidence that we could pull of something big and significant”

Radka continues, “Those couple of days together in Dundee with a zest to keep going. All of a sudden we felt so much stronger and more confident to let the whole world know about our ideas and our plans for the future.”

By working hard to a build presence on social media, talking about their goals and keeping in constant contact, before they knew it, SDinED had over 100 subscribers globally.

Katie explains, “The most important part of building a network? To keep learning more and more about the education challenges of our new #SDinED friends. These all make us hungry to share our triumphs and failures, so that the network is useful and relevant. This can only make positive change for learners, educators and wider communities”

Jean shares her thoughts on the partnership

“The Service Design Academy is the centre of Katie’s world. And what a world that is. It makes you want to jump, change the world, shout about it and smile. The SDA team are kind and committed. They have provided our network with unconditional support from the start which has been absolutely paramount for our growth.”

The pandemic meant new digital tools were found to deliver major events online for over 100 people. Social distancing created an opportunity to reach out, learn to facilitate and interact with people all over the UK and the world.  This growing scope and scale of opportunity made the three warriors realise that they needed support to meet demand.

The Service Design Academy, will take SDinED under its wing to provide more structure and operational support, and a platform that offers potential to keep on growing,

Together, Service Design in Education and the Service Design Academy, feel that we will be able to reach out to more complex levels of the education sector in the UK and globally to make a real impact, to continue to actively improve the world of education for all.

The Learning Team from V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum, was part of the first #SDinED meeting and they’ve been great friend ever since. They encouraged the ambition to run a design weekend in the spirit of, and inspired by, the Global Jams Family. Jams are open, collaborative creative space to explore ways to try out design-based approaches to problem solving and building networks. You can see other Jams in action here

Edu Jam poster

You can find out more and book your ticket here

You can sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with all things Service Design in Education or join us at EduJamUK taking place on the 11th, 12th and 13th September 2020.

Before the Service Design Academy was established, Dundee & Angus College helped to launch and deliver an explosively creative and influential event for the city, in collaboration with Open Change.

Eighty people with an interest in public services came together at Dundee’s first ever Gov Jam, making it the largest Jam in the world that year with 23 local organisations and authorities, spanning healthcare, education and cultural sectors.

Taking place in Dundee and 20 other cities across the world, between 16-18 May 2017, ‘Jammers’ had ‘48 hours to rock the public sector’.  A Jam is simply a group of people getting together who want to change the world over 2 days.

By propelling themselves out of their comfort zones, this a discovery of service design for the Jammers, many of whom we still work closely with today.

What they did

Arriving with a willingness to embrace service design principles and process, our GovJam teams co-created ten meaningful service ideas and prototypes for service improvement. These were then documented, taken back to the office and shared widely. The purpose was making things in the public sector work better and encouraging other colleagues to adopt this hands-on approach to their work.

What they said

During the two day period of fun but intensely productive jamming, participants shared some critical learning points:

“Test your assumptions and learn from failure, instead of trying to hide it!”

“We don’t need to strive for perfection all the time, it’s okay to make mistakes.”

“Creativity, communication and collaboration is key.”

All of these insights proved to be the founding sentiments to something wonderful for the future.

Dundee GovJam has continued in the years since 2017 and you can see some snippets of action unfolding at #DNDGovJam.

Watch and listen to the Dundee GovJammers here

What happened next

Global GovJam grabbed the attention of its hosts at Dundee and Angus College. The College’s senior team had the ambition to take what was a good place to learn and work and make it great. They held a wealth of data on every element of college life from attainment to health and well-being. Priceless diamonds of insight from students and staff were now needed to bring this data to life.

Good to Great

The Service Design Academy was jolted into life at the college to facilitate workshops and projects across its campuses.

Dundee and Angus College’s Good to Great project was about changing the culture, outlook and mindset of the college. Discovery workshops with over 400 staff and students identified key themes – Recruitment, Retention, Digital, Learning and Teaching, and Customer Experience. These themes were underpinned by over 40 projects. You can read more about the projects here.

One of these projects – Campus Help Points  – contributes to ongoing improvement in learner retention. In 2019 Help Point staff contacted 338 students who did not return to study from the October break. From this exercise 90% of those learners were supported back into class and 22 of those students are now accessing support services to enhance and back their learning journey.

Watch here for a short round-up of Good to Great

Watch here for more about Good to Great

DA Good Start Banner

Dundee and Angus College has become a great college. This transformation powered by data and driven by service design was rewarded in 2018 with the prestigious Campbell Christie Award for Public Service Reform.

Filling the gap

The Good to Great project gave strong evidence on the transformational impact service design mindset and approach can make. The next natural step was to harness the knowledge and skills of the core Service Design Academy team into creating a programme of learning. Service design training and education was nothing new. There were many service design courses out there, ranging from respected but lengthy and expensive Masters level courses to short online introductions.

We saw there was something missing – a course that would give learners the skills and confidence needed to make improvement in their organisations regardless of their role, level or sector.  Many organisations saw the need to build service design capacity but didn’t know how to do that with education they could trust?

We practice what we teach

The SDA team worked flat out to develop our Professional Development Award (PDA) course content and delivery methods. Again we worked with Open Change to do this, their experience was vital in bringing together an introductory programme which would fill the gap in the market that so many organisations and individuals needed. Taking the principles of co-design to heart, the learning was tested with a pioneer group to ensure that learning needs were met. And, it was fun to do.  It was important that Dundee and Angus College’s teaching values were met, and we ensured that our content and assessment would meet the strict requirements of the Scottish Qualification Authority.

Almost 100 delegates have graduated with our PDA so far.  Learners come from all over the UK, overseas, from every sector and a wide range of industries.  They return directly to the workplace to drive innovation in live projects. Council colleagues have worked to make digital services more accessible or to understand what the community needs in local hubs. Third sector teams have used their learning to develop new services. Colleagues in law firms have returned to improve customer journeys.  Many have also found and secured new career opportunities from the confidence and skills our PDA gives.

Moving into a new era of delivering fully interactive online delivery, more delegates from all over the world will join us. They’ll discover how service design can transform, building their skills and capacity for innovation back in the workplace. And we’ll continue to understand how to improve experience by listening to what they have to say.

You can watch and listen  too how they feel about our courses here Delegate diaries

To get to where we are has taken a huge amount of support from delegates, customers and the service design community.  We’d like to thank:

Birgit Mager
Professor of Service Design
Köln International School of Design

Marc Fonteijn
Founder The Service Design Show

Adam St John Lawrence
WorkPlayExperience and Founder of GlobalGovJam

Hazel White
Director
Open Change

Mike Press
Director
Open Change

Rod Mountain
Senior Associate
Open Change

Cat Macauley
Chief Design Officer
The Scottish Government

Professor Jeanette Paul
Deputy Dean & Associate Dean for Learning & Teaching
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee

Fraser Bruce
Programme Director, Product Design (MSc) 
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee 

Linsey McIntosh
Senior Associate
Open Change

The V&A Dundee team

Dundee UNESCO City of Design

You can connect and learn with lots of interesting design thinkers on twitter

When the Service Design Academy was awarded full accreditation from the Service Design Network we were thrilled. Months of hard work to meet their demanding criteria had paid off. Then realisation sunk in. Not only had we achieved this accolade, but as the very first organisation in the world to do so. This is something we feel proud of. It’s a defining moment in our history.

It’s so important to us to receive this endorsement because for nearly two decades the Service Design Network has led the field in the development of service design education. They are the Service Design body that drives service design thinking. They inspire thousands of people and organisations to improve services to make lives better.

sda accreditation white background

Our consultants had to complete the SDN’s rigorous assessment process to show that the quality of their service design knowledge and delivery skills is world class.

SDA lead consultant Katie Murrie achieved SDN Master Trainer Accreditation with consultants Chris Muir and Dr Jo McNicoll SDN Trainer Accreditation. They join a select pool of certified trainers equipped to deliver the highest quality of service design training on a global-wide scale. They attend inner circle SDN events and are offered opportunities that allow them to further develop their professional skills.

What’s more, as an international educational provider of service design content, we’re now part of the SDN Academy . An educational initiative introduced by SDN and executed in tandem with the  global community of SDN-Accredited Trainers and Master Trainers. In the years to come thought leaders and delegates will come from all over the world to our centre of excellence in Dundee. They’ll offer a series of continuing education courses for seasoned practitioners and service design newbies alike.

SDN and SDA are committed to advancing practitioner knowledge. Together we’ll share insights on the latest tools, methods and techniques to shape the future of our industry.

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Our courses have undergone extensive audit to ensure that they follow state of the art learning in service design. This includes the latest knowledge in both theory and practice.  We provide regular reactions from delegates to SDN. Our curriculum is frequently reviewed and improved based on feedback and developments within the field.

We believe that listening to our customers and learning from industry experts is the only way for us to make the best possible impact. SDN president and chair Birgit Mager has been our critical friend, offering guidance, encouragement and inspiration.

Lady with stripey shirt
Birgit Mager

From meeting us in Amsterdam Birgit was convinced that SDA had the potential to lead in the global service design education community. We were determined to do this by focusing on:

Through working to these goals in SDN’s Organisational Accreditation initiative, the SDN has acknowledged that we’ve reached a leading level of knowledge and quality in education in the service design community.

We’ve come this far in a relatively short time. Our growth has come from not forgetting our service design principles and values. We’ll also be reminded of them as we continue to facilitate change and innovation.

Thank you

The impact that we make for organisations and our world first SDN full accreditation is validation for the effort we have made to offer quality and unique learning experiences. We are proud of how we have grown, and also incredibly grateful for the support and learning we have been given from our friends across the Service Design community.  We couldn’t have done it without you.

We are particularly grateful to all our delegates and the organisations we have worked with. We look forward to many more inspiring collaborations in the future.

Our thanks go to the accreditation committee for all their guidance and support:

Find out more about becoming an SDN Accredited Trainer

The Service Design Academy is no different from any organisation having to make rapid change in the past few months. 

We lost our way during the crisis. We’ll hold our hands up – ashamedly we forgot our service design roots. 

We were reacting.  We were making assumptions. We were in very real danger of delivering fast solutions, but not great solutions. 

There was only one impressive development – Chris’s lockdown moustache which entertained us no end during daily Teams Meetups!

We drew breath, we sat back and put our foot on the brake

Back to the drawing board

We got back on track by doing User Research. We reached out to our networks. We surveyed future learners. We listened to critical friends.

Like many others remote learning, or rather remote facilitation, wasn’t at the top of our skill set. We learned the hard way. We joined workshops from a variety of providers. Some gave us hope, while others made us feel doubtful/less inspired. Where trainers had simply moved their face to face format online, we quickly got bored, stiff and sore. Let’s face it, no matter how engaging the topic 6 hours in front of a laptop does not make for a good learning experience! We didn’t want to deliver this lacklustre experience. Service Design is such a hands-on, learn by doing exercise, we fretted over how to make this work remotely.

Man with grey hair smiling
Andy De Vale

One of our partners we turned to was Andy de Vale. Andy’s company Workvisible has been delivering remote workshops for up to 400 people for some time. He’s an expert in his field. Andy was also creating a Remote Facilitation Workshop, so we jumped at the chance to Beta Test his model. Andy taught us so much over two weeks. How to really engage remote learners. The preparation that must go into online workshops. The value of a buddy when you’re learning remotely. How bringing an element of competition engages everyone and builds you a toolkit at the same time! And most importantly, we learned a lot about how to use online collaboration tools well.

The journey with Andy was insightful and rewarding. Andy’s visual facilitation skills give a deeper level of understanding than the written word. It’s a joy to watch him at work.

We took the unusual step of bringing clients and other educators, from Dundee & Angus College where we are based, into our learning. This allowed us to upskill and gauge reactions from people we’d worked with in the past, hear their views and get their feedback on what our new learning should look like.

We practised

Andy’s learning, like ours, is a ‘learn by doing’ approach and as part of his course we designed, developed and tested online workshops. We delivered around 20 workshops and networking events to test various tools and techniques. 

We Learned

With people logging on from all over the globe, you tap into endless possibilities for bringing together diverse people, cultures, communities, and cities that expand the learning opportunities based on unique experiences and perspectives. 

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We’re Testing

And finally, we’re taking our learning to the test track.  We’ve recruited a group of individuals with varying knowledge and skills willing to test the learning before we go live.  Our curriculum will be improved based on that feedback and, as always, on developments within the field of service design.

We’re in a strong position now to take our foot off the brake by welcoming our first online PDA cohort in September.  We’ll continue to listen to our customers and learn from industry experts. It’s the only way for us to make the best possible impact and deliver the best possible learning experience.