SDA Tools and Methods Bootcamp

Guest post by Open Change Intern Barbara Mertlova

Open Change, in partnership with Dundee & Angus College, has developed Service Design Academy, offering accredited awards in service design. You can read more about the UK’s first comprehensive accredited training provider for service design in a post we compiled at the beginnings of the project, or you can watch this D&A’s introductory video:

Our SDA YouTube channel also provides relevant informative videos, some of the course materials, as well as summaries of SDA events.

Apart from being highly dynamic and interactive, one of the great features of the Service Design Academy is the variety of modes of delivery. This allows for personalisation and flexibility in ways of learning. All awards can be delivered online and through flexible study pathways, and individual courses can then be combined into a Personal Development Award in Service Design (PDA), accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Or you may choose attending stand-alone Bootcamps, where you can ‘learn by doing’.

Our most recent Bootcamp in Tools and Methods was held on 27 and 28 March 2018.

Tools and Methods is a short course, aiming at introducing participants from a wide range of professions, backgrounds and interests into the tools and methods of service design, and offering guidance in implementing them in daily work and personal lives. The two-day Bootcamp is an intensive accompaniment to this course, focusing around an existing challenge brought by a client, this time by the Dundee City Council, allowing participants to apply service design tools and methods in resolving the proposed issue. It is a highly interactive, energetic event where people go through the learning, while gaining the opportunity of networking, and discovering the benefits of collaborative work. An important principle of SDA is to make our course material freely available online.

Preparations for the event had started way before, along with the creating of the short course itself, ensuring maximal benefits for both those attending as a stand-alone learning experience, as well as for full-course participants. The workbooks provided a concise folder of relevant materials to use as a point of reference anytime during the two days, but also later in own practice.

Over 20 people arrived at the D&A Gardyne Campus on the Tuesday morning, to spend 14 hours spread across the couple days, learning 10 Tools and Methods of service design applicable in their own professions. They were welcomed by the team of service design experts from Open Change Mike Press and Hazel White, and SDA course lecturers Jennifer Jones and Katie Bain.


The project brief, as set by the Dundee City Council, aimed at putting the tools and methods into practice, and learning by application of them in a real-life situation. Called the Dundee Design Triathalon, the project was to bring together 200 staff members of the Dundee City Council over a number of events to improve the services in place.

Starting off by a brainstorming activity, the participants made use of the service design method to address the issues present in their city; insights which they then received feedback on from Aileen Smyth of the Dundee City Council.

Guided through the individual tools and methods, including (but not limited to!) Journey Mapping, Rip and Mix, or Fast Idea Generator, the participants came up with own ideas and solutions to the identified problems.

At the end of the day, time was dedicated to individual reflections, which allowed participants to look back and process the vast learnings of the first day.

On Wednesday, the Bootcamp continued in a similarly energetic manner. Making use of remaining tools and methods, participants finalised their projects and presented their ideas back, bringing incredible 5 implementable proposals. However, that number is just a start, as the attendees appear fully aware of the vast benefits service design tools and methods have to offer, and some have already started implementing them!

For a visual summary of the whole Bootcamp, check out below notes by Open Change co-director Hazel White 


Alternatively, here is a short video summary:

As service design is a digital-friendly approach, majority of the event was captured live across online platforms, dominated by Twitter. Open Change has created a summary of Tweets, conveniently all in one place, giving you a taste of the Bootcamp. This can be accessed here.


Our next Bootcamp will revolve around Co-Design, and it will take place 8-9 May 2018. For more information and the option to sign up, follow this link. Meanwhile we have a cohort of online learners continuing with the Tools and Methods programme.