Urban & Community


Architecture & Design Scotland (A&DS)

Angus Council

Dundee Design Festival – UNESCO City of Design

Edinburgh Napier University

Fire Starter Festival

Service Jam


Schools for the Future and Caring Places with A&DS

Tourism Development, Angus Council

Districts of Creativity, Places of Potential Summit, Scottish Government

Annual Masterclasses on Tourism Leadership at Edinburgh Napier University

Pro bono contribution to Scotland’s Fire Starter Festival

Global Jam events in Dundee


An important theme in our work is urban and community – projects that consider how urban spaces, economies and communities are changing, and how we can develop new visions to influence change.

We worked with Architecture and Design Scotland to understand how school buildings and grounds are designed, built and used.  A&DS conducted interviews to understand the lessons learnt from the pilot of the Scottish Government’s £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme and we facilitated a synthesis workshop bringing together voices to draw up recommendations for the next phase.  In 2018, we have also worked with A&DS on A Caring Place project looking at how the built environment and services enable people to live well as they age.

Scotland is currently undergoing a tourism boom, and we have been active in working with small businesses and support agencies in a range of ways. These include running workshops on developing new tourism propositions for Visit Scotland and Angus Council. The Destination Leaders Programme is an innovative professional development scheme funded by Scottish Enterprise and delivered by Edinburgh Napier University, supporting those in the tourism industry to become effective destination leaders. As part of this, Mike Press runs annual masterclasses on Service Design for Tourism Leadership.

As a small country with big economic ambitions, Scotland needs to link its innovative cities and regions with others in the world, to share best practices and collaborate. Scotland is a member of the global Districts of Creativity network, and we were asked to run a half day workshop to help them draw out lessons of effective international collaboration.

Pro-bono work in support of the communities that we are part of is a crucial part of our social responsibility. Fire Starter is a Scotland-wide festival celebrating creativity and innovation in the public sector. This year, the First Minister spoke about the value of service design at the opening ceremony, while Open Change contributed with numerous events in Dundee, some of which we have summarised in this blog. Open Change organised Dundee’s first Service Jam, a global voluntary event exploring high-energy methods of service design in 2013 with Linsey McIntosh, our Senior Associate. While we focus more on the annual GovJam event, we have mentored a group of DJCAD design students who have taken on organising the Global Service Jam and the city has extended its participation onto other global jam events.


“I was delighted by the warm welcome and diverse programme, thanks! I was inspired by mainly the women today, it as powerful, and when I go home I’m going to tell my colleagues, or students and friends about it. ”

Districts of Creativity workshop participant (2017)

Further information

Blog on Districts of Creativity event as part of Dundee Design Festival.

Spark it Up Breakfast at the Fire Starter festival in Dundee.

Back for more of our work.