Creative Dundee

Boost by Design: A New Service Proposal

BOOST by Design is a new project – developed and led by Creative Dundee – for Dundee’s Social Enterprises who are keen to develop their understanding of design, innovation and digital skills.

Last week the social enterprises met for their third session on service design with Open Change. In the first workshop, Open Change introduced to the group simple methods of interviewing and observation as visual thinking, user interviews, journey mapping and personas. For the second workshop they focused on problem-solving and idea generation. This time, the group was tasked with mapping out their service proposal as well as looking at the past and future journey of their social enterprise.

A New Service Proposal

Mike Press kicked off this part of the workshop by explaining how important it is to look at a service through the user’s perspective, using empathy as a fundamental tool; “We’re really trying to look at the world through other people’s eyes“.

The participants were asked to map out what the journey of a given user might be in their organisation, from awareness, joining and using the service to developing within it and leaving. Chris from Tayside Healthcare Arts Trust, later reflected that this is a helpful and accessible way of approaching a business plan “something that we can easily look at with other people in the organisation“.

Tomorrow’s News

At this point the participants were asked to imagine what a positive future news story about their service might be, something that described all they wish their service would do at its best. Once the best possible future scenario had been identified and put into a story that anyone can grasp, the participants had a clearer picture of the steps necessary to move towards it from their current position.

Backcasting: How to Project the Past?

Having imagined their ‘future news’, the participants were now asked to ‘backcast’ – as an alternative to ‘forecasting’ –  what their next steps should be. Looking at the future news and working backwards from there to now, what are the key milestones that should be achieved?

This process breaks a business plan into achievable, manageable and realistic parts. It is also, as identified by the participants in the session, a visual way to tell the projected story of their enterprise that is easily shared with the team as well as flexible in its form – the mileage steps as positive outcomes are written on post-it notes that we can be collaboratively changed position on the timeline to reflect a realistic and collective action plan.


Overall, the workshop generated some in-depth reflection on the journey taken by the different enterprises and their aspirations. More specifically, those exercises helped the participants to put the ins and outs of their current service as well as their hopes for the future into a specific, visual and accessible plan.

Jordan from Togs for Tots to Teens, at the end of the workshop, explained: “Doing this helped me think through things a bit more and feel more in control […] and I’m looking at some of these future idea and actually thinking that we should go and do this!“.


If you want to hear more about the social enterprises and their journeys, join us for a special Boost by Design themed Make/Share next week – a discussion about design, digital innovation and community building.


Make/Share meets Boost by Design

Date: Wednesday 14th June 2017.
Time: 7 – 9pm.
Location: Innis and Gunn’s Beer Kitchen, South Tay Street, Dundee, DD1 1PA.
Tickets: free but please book in advance here.

Creative Dundee has been working with Dundee Social Enterprise Network to run this project, which has only been made possible thanks to valuable Rank Foundation support.


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