Case study: Service Design Academy – Service Design for Data Professionals

Data and service design work together closely.  Data analysis and insights inform service design decisions around people – their behaviour, preferences, and needs.

At the same time service design can be used to design processes that capture relevant user information to improve products, services and experiences. Learning more about how data and design work together means that we can understand the relationship between information about people (data) and insights (the things we can learn).

Thanks to support from Tay Cities Digital Skills and the Data Lab, the Service Design Academy at Dundee and Angus College was delighted to welcome 25 people working in data roles to a 14 hour live and online Service Design for Data Professionals course over four mornings in November.

Learners joined from a wide range of roles and functions including Data Analysts, Insight Analyst, Human Resources, Organisational Development and Improvement, Library Systems, Employability, Workforce Development, Policy and Programme management.

In our pre-training support survey, we discovered a variety of reasons learners had for wanting to learn more about service design:

  • Developing new techniques to research and develop data analytics
  • Problem solving in a project environment
  • To have some tools and structure to use in the future will be very useful and help my audience understand the data better

Everyone shared the goal of wanting to learn how service design can help them to solve problems with (not just for) stakeholders.

The course was designed to help data professionals communicate and effectively engage people in the story and context of data, helping their organisations to make data-informed decisions.

Service design training helped them think through issues and problems and develop techniques and confidence to undertake user research, analyse and synthesise qualitative data, generate ideas, and create prototypes for testing and communication.

Kim Anderson, lead educator on this course, shares what happened over the 4 mornings:

“Using the double diamond and its phases Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver the group were introduced to service design through a blend of theory and practical activities.

Working on a relatable challenge  – the Future of Food – the group first gathered thoughts and experiences to then work in seven self-selected themes. These themes covered diverse topics from Policy and Regulation to Education and Human Rights. To challenge their initial assumptions, learners made user research plans and learned interview techniques. We then showed the teams how to analyse and synthesise data. From there they worked on problem definition and then to generate ideas before prioritising, prototyping, testing, and iterating their ideas.

We love working with enthusiastic learners, and this first cohort of the service design for data professionals course didn’t disappoint.  Each person gave it their all every week which created a fun, and supportive learning environment.

The group left with reflections on what they liked and what they had learned, and we’ve taken that feedback to update our next course running from the 8th February.


Service Design Academy is passionate about offering a hands-on experience of service design as an approach to understand the issues and needs of people to collaboratively problem-solve. We hope a key outcome for our learners will be a shift in mindset; that working in a data role is seen as a service that supports many others within and outside their organisation. We look forward to hearing how the participants continue to use service design in their role.

We are incredibly grateful to Digitay and The Data Lab for giving Service Design Academy the opportunity to be part of a fantastic programme which will contribute to building new skills and opportunties for people in Tay Cities.”

Service Design for Data Professionals will run again four mornings 09.30 – 13.00 from 8th  – 29th February with fully funded places for people living or working in Tay Cities available meeting the eligibility criteria.

We highly encourage those living or working in Dundee, Angus, Perth & Kinross and North Fife to take advantage of this valuable opportunity and apply for a funded opportunity to upskill.

Find out more about Service Design for Data Professionals and book your place for 8th February – 29th February course

For more information about Service Design Academy please contact Maralyn Boyle


Phone: 01382 448868