Creative Dundee

BOOST by Design

BOOST by Design was an innovative project for Dundee’s social enterprises from all backgrounds who were keen to develop their understanding of service design, digital innovation and community building. 

You can view and download the Boost by Design Final Report summarising the full project here.

As Dundee is the UK’s only UNESCO City of Design (read more about Dundee’s Design Values here), Creative Dundee was delighted to be leading Boost by Design which introduced 16 Dundee based aspiring and established social enterprises and charities to new design and digital tools, in early 2017.

Social enterprises provide an incredible range of products and services, which create huge and important social benefits for communities. This project was the first of its kind – bringing design thinking and innovation skills into the mix to improve the way we all do social business.

Working with Dundee Social Enterprise Network, Creative Dundee ran Boost by Design in partnership with local partners, including Open Change, who are well regarded for their service design approaches, and Slurpp, a design studio based in Dundee, as well as V&A Museum of Design Dundee and Dundee UNESCO City of Design. This project has only been made possible thanks to valuable Rank Foundation support.

* What is service design and why does it matter to social enterprises? In this good piece by Louise Downe at GOV.UK, Louise sets out that service design is simply the design of services. “To a user, a service is simple. It’s something that helps them to do something – like learn to drive, buy a house, or become a childminder.” Designing services can be more challenging, so Boost by Design will focus on why, what and how you deliver your services to help improve what you do.

Boost by Design Programme

The programme was free and open to all social enterprises that were based locally, through a short and easy application process. The 16 social enterprises taking part in Boost by Design include: ACK; Advocating Together; Discovery Credit Union ; Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group; Nilupul Foundation; Sarah-Ellis Martin Nutrition and Health; SCRAPantics; Selection Box; Shaper/Caper; Tayberry Enterprise; Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT); Togs for Tots to Teens; Uppertunity CIC. Read more about them at the end of this page.

These social enterprises face many challenges – raising awareness and understanding of what they do, building capacity and change, better use of the resources available to them, and finding time to develop ideas, to name a few – but the participants were keen not only to get inspired and challenged by having a new perspective of what they do and how they do it, or develop new skills and clear strategies for the future, but also to connect with others.

Five half-day workshops to help the social enterprises:

The participants took part in a series of workshops introducing them to various design approaches and practices, digital and innovative tools, case studies and local knowledge relevant to their organisations. After these five sessions, the social enterprises had a bunch of new design thinking and digital tools to hand, and they left with insights and inspiration embeded in their own organisations.

Read some insights from the 1st session – An introduction to service design thinking.

Read some insights from the 2nd session – Defining problems and generating new ideas.

Read some insights from the 3rd session – Visioning the future of your social enterprise.

Read some insights from the 4th session – Building communities online.

Read some insights from the 5th session – A new service proposal.


The participants were then offered one-to-one support in graphic and web design, and social media – via Ryan McLeod from Slurpp, and Sam Gonçalves, Digital Producer at Creative Dundee. This support helped them mock up new ideas, give them thoughts on their branding and online presence, or help them think through creating content for their social media presence.

Celebration Event:

We then invited four participants to share their insights from the programme at our monthly Make/Share event which brought together social enterprises and creative businesses in the city, and encouraged awareness of activities and opportunities across both sectors as well as potential future collaborations. After the talks, we had an opportunity to share some of our findings from the programme, and discuss how creativity can help build social impact.

Read more about Make/Share meets Boost by Design – a discussion about design, digital innovation and community building.

Boost by Design was a turning point for me, this allowed me to step back, re-focus and take a moment to explore aspects of the business I haven’t looked at or perhaps I wasn’t looking at in the right way.

Boost by Design participant.


Thanks to Erika Stevenson for the photos of the celebration event which you can find on Flickr here.

Thanks to Kathryn Rattray for the photos of workshop which you can find on Flickr here.

Video: Thanks to Sam Gonçalves for the videos which you can find on Facebook here.

Social Media: Check out the social media coverage from the event here.

Visual identity: Thanks to Ryan MacLeod for visual above.

You can read more about the social enterprises taking part in this programme below:

ACK are supporting individuals, groups, charities and social enterprises with services such as fundraising, pr and marketing, training and networking.

Advocating Together is an independent advocacy service which is starting up a new social enterprise to raise awareness about autism, learning disabilities and communication needs. They provide a bespoke communication service and use design to improve communication accessibility across the city.

Discovery Credit Union is an ethical banking system owned by its members. The more money they save, the more they can borrow.

Dundee and Angus ADHD Support Group has been set up to help raise awareness of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Nilupul Foundation are providing free mindfulness-based activities and courses in order to improve the health and wellbeing offering free courses to those in poverty.

Sarah-Ellis Martin Nutrition and Health is helping parents become able and confident to feed their children in a better way through simple and affordable advice shared via social medias and workshops.

SCRAPantics are recycling materials and make them affordable for design projects held by students, community and schools. They collect industry excess materials and recycle them through their store and workshops.

Selection Box is an emerging collective of 9 artists and designers. They’re encouraging participation in creative activities through collaborative, creative events in Dundee.

Shaper/Caper is a dance company which enhances cultural and social integration through dance shows, workshops and discussions with the audience.

Tayberry enterprise enable people with significant health barriers to employment through creative arts and catering services.

Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust (THAT) develops and delivers Creative Engagement Participatory Arts  Projects for people with Long Term Health Conditions across Tayside.

Togs for Tots to Teens are improving the wellbeing of parents and children in need through the collection and distribution of clothing and equipment.

Uppertunity CIC are helping vulnerable adults across Tayside to be socially included and independent. They develop empowerment and self reliance through their skills development service which includes using different therapeutic arts and crafts activities.


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