Touchpoint: Scottish Approach to Service Design

Mike Press talking at Scottish Approach to Service Design Meet Up Event at Gallery 48 Dundee
Touchpoint is an irregular meet-up Open Change organise to bring together people with an interest in Service Design. Our recent event brought together a large and lively crowd to talk about the Scottish Approach to Service Design – SAtSD – a Scottish Government initiative to embed service design in the public sector in Scotland. SAtSD was the subject of events led by the Scottish Government over the summer, but this was the first time that the initiative had been discussed with a wider community. An earlier meeting held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh has been summarised on Storify.

Cat Macaulay, Head of User Research and Engagement at the Scottish Government gave a brief introduction and posed some key questions:

  • How we can share our experiences and good practice in service design?
  • How can we involve citizens?
  • How do we build capacity in service design training?

“We believe that by involving and engaging citizens and communities in the design and delivery of services, by removing barriers where we come across them, and by working more collaboratively within and across public service boundaries, we will deliver the change needed.”

The Government’s Programme For Scotland 2015/16

We were joined by tech companies, health and social care professionals, retailers, local government leaders, entrepreneurs, academics and designers at the recently opened Gallery 48 on Dundee’s Westport. We spent time sharing thoughts on the questions posed and time getting to know one another and enjoying the fantastic tapas at Gallery 48.

Open Change Scottish Approach to Service Design at Gallery 48 Dundee

Steven Kyle from the Chief Executive’s office of Dundee City Council captured much of the evening’s discussions in this Storify. Some of the many suggestions included:

How can we share experiences and projects?

  • Create social content i.e. food (eat together), cup of tea
  • Team Map – everybody uploads what they are up to. People look it over at least every other day. Then ask relevant questions and ask for more detail.
  • Content Marketing (vlogging/blogging) tell your story.
  • Round table conversations, everybody says what they are doing.
  • Open space events.
  • Encourage use of multiple channels of communication.

How do we involve citizens?

  • Youth engagement – people know about design from a very young age.
  • Use of popular media, TV, radio etc. to communicate a message/hook into a question not everything is online.
  • Show the impact.
  • Telling stories – different medias and video etc.
  • Through food.
  • Co-design = co-investment

How do we train people in service design?

  • Doing not talking.
  • Creating a trusting environment to listen to others/tell others.
  • Time and space to tell stories and reflect.
  • Online courses.
  • Tailored to my learning style; visual, auditory, practical.
  • Make it visual (design).
  • The “fire” inside for the need for change.

These have been fed back to Cat’s team at the Scottish Government and will influence how the SAtSD will be implemented both nationally and in Dundee.


Touchpoint aims to provide a convivial and open environment to discuss new developments in service design, and to encourage a community of interested practitioners and users to network and learn from each other. Many thanks to our sponsors for the evening: Zudu, an app and web development company who have been working with the NHS on projects  to improve the health and well-being of our community and Healthcare Designed in Dundee. Thanks also to our hosts at Gallery 48. All photography by Erika Stevenson.

The outcomes from the evening will be available shortly as a brief report. If you would like a copy of the report and wish to join our mailing list to hear about forthcoming events – send us an e.mail to info@openchange.co.uk

Moyra Gill, Kate Saunderson, Open Change, Scottish Approach to Service Design

More photos of the evening here. https://www.flickr.com/photos/28342437@N00/sets/72157673799473320