Service Design Academy

short course • online

Service design for data professionals

Fully funded places available

Supported by Data Skills for Work at The Data Lab through the Tay Cities Deal Digital Skills Project, funded by the Scottish Government.

The Data Lab
Tay Cities: Smarter + Fairer


Thursday 5, 12, 19 & 26 Sept


4 half days (14.5 hours)


Online (Microsoft Teams)

Section menu


This interactive online introductory course has been designed for you to grow your 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).

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone who loves working with data, regardless of job title or experience. If you are looking for ways to solve problems beyond purely technical solutions, this is the course for you.

As someone working with data every day to support your organisation, we will help you to enhance your communication, storytelling, curiosity, and critical thinking skills.

How will this course help you?

We will help you to understand how service design can be used to solve problems with (not just for) your stakeholders who need information about people.

You will learn how to communicate and effectively engage people in the story and context of your data, helping your organisation to make data-informed decisions.

The course will help you 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.

A key outcome will be a shift in mindset. You will learn what you and your teams do as a service that supports others within and outside your organisation.

By the end of this course you will have hands-on experience of service design as an approach to:

  • Understand the issues and needs of people
  • Work with people to uncover problems
  • Collaboratively problem solve
  • Develop ways to engage with colleagues, customers, and stakeholders

Course structure

The course runs from 09:30 to 13:00 for the first three sessions, with the fourth session finishing at 13:30.

Session 1 - Breaking ground

Blending theory and practical activities, you will reflect on the presence and impact of biases and assumptions in everyday decision-making, setting the context for an introduction to service design.

You will cover examples of service design projects and reflect on your experiences of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ services.

You will be introduced to your design challenge, before working together with other learners to capture thoughts and experiences related to the challenge.

You will discuss and theme your insights, before joining a team dedicated to exploring a particular theme. Each team will reach a shared understanding of the topic to begin researching in the next session.

You will gain

  • An awareness of the impact of bias and assumptions on decision-making.
  • Understanding of what a service is, and the service design process.
  • Ability to describe service experiences.
  • Experience in knowledge capture and affinity mapping.

Session 2 - Discover

This session will begin with an introduction to user research, including qualitative vs quantitative research, key approaches, ethics, and informed consent.

You will create a user research plan according to your theme – exploring what you want to find out, where you might find it, and from whom. You will then be introduced to a selection of user research methods, which you will practise. 

Considering what questions must be asked – focussing on lived experience of problems rather than jumping to solutions – you will practise interview skills in different roles.

You will gain

  • Understanding of the relationship between quantitative and qualitative data 
  • Awareness of user research, including approaches, ethics, and informed consent 
  • Experience in planning user research 
  • Experience in planning and conducting user interviews 
  • Awareness of user research methods 

Gap task

You will be asked to conduct at least 30 minutes of independent user research activity between session 2 and 3.

Session 3 - Define

  • Teams will come together to discuss, combine, and analyse all the data they have collected, identifying emerging themes and patterns.

You will use problem trees to establish causes and effects of main problem areas emerging from your research, before learning to synthesise towards a defined problem area.

This problem will be flipped into an opportunity statement – “how might we” – a focused definition of the problem to be solved next.

You will gain

  • Experience in analysis and synthesis of user research 
  • Ability to define problems and develop opportunity statements

Session 4 - Develop and deliver

You will be introduced to tools for rapid idea generation, before prioritising, prototyping, testing, and iterating your ideas.

You will complete two rounds of prototyping split with a round of critical friend feedback. 

Models, sketches, and storyboards are created to communicate and test ideas. You will identify a future goal or measure of success, before using service blueprinting or other planning tools to document the steps involved in the testing and delivery of the solution. 

You will gain

  • Awareness and experience of rapid idea generation tools 
  • Ability to filter and prioritise ideas 
  • Experience in service prototyping 
  • Experience of communicating service ideas
  • Providing critical feedback

Teaching and assessment

This course is delivered live and online using Microsoft Teams. It is an interactive course delivered by service design experts who are highly experienced in training with a learn-by-doing approach. This course is taught in English.

This course is not assessed, but you will receive a digital certificate from the Service Design Academy.

We were the first organisation in the world accredited by the Service Design Network, which means our courses are accredited by them. Your course certificate is accredited by SDA and the Service Design Network, a driver of global growth, development and innovation within the practice of service design.


You will need a computer with a fast and reliable connection to the internet, a camera, and a microphone.

To ensure the best possible experience for yourself and others, we recommend that your wear a headset to provide clarity of sound and improved live captions for those who use them.


We deliver our training using Microsoft Teams and Miro.

There is no requirement for you to install this software or create an account in advance of the course.

Although both tools are available as downloadable apps which may enhance your experience, each is available on the web without an account. We recommend that you use Google Chrome for the best experience.

Fees and funding

£500.00 GBP

As a provider of education, we do not charge, and you do not pay VAT on our course fees.

Fully funded places available

Supported by Data Skills for Work at The Data Lab through the Tay Cities Deal Digital Skills Project, funded by the Scottish Government, 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 and meet at least one of the following criteria: 

You identify as belonging to one or more of the following groups:

  • Women
  • People with a disability
  • People from a minority ethnic background
  • Neuro-divergent individuals
  • Unemployed, underemployed or in insecure work
Data Skills for Work
The Data Lab
Tay Cities: Smarter + Fairer

Individual Training Account (ITA) funding

Skills Development Scotland can provide up to £200 to support the cost of this training.

ITA funding could be right for you if you meet the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged 16 or over and living in Scotland
  • not currently in education or involved with any other Skills Development Scotland (SDS) programme
  • unemployed and looking to get back into work or employed and earning £22,000 or less per year
For more information regarding ITA funding please go to MyWorldOfWork.

How to book

Book this course using our online form.

We will be in touch with you once dates have been confirmed.  You will then receive an email from Dundee & Angus College with a link to complete your registration.

Booking multiple places

Please contact us and we can arrange this for you.

If you’re booking a lot of spaces, you may want to talk to us about a customised course especially for your business.