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Introduction and contents
Welcome to our first newsletter for all things Design Thinking!

This is your space to stay connected to the latest in design thinking and learning opportunities from The Promise Scotland.

We plan on publishing this newsletter 4 times a year and want this to be a space that includes your suggestions of what you’d like included— so get in touch!

In this issue:
  • Virtual Coffee Catch Ups
  • Design School news
  • Learning Calendar
  • Design Nuggets
  • Spotlight on Innovation
  • How to Contact us
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Join us and meet other design thinkers
Our Virtual Coffee chats take place monthly and anyone is welcome to join. Hosted by the Support team, we focus on design thinking and creative problem solving. This is a great space to connect with others, highlight any active co-design work and get support from the network with any challenges or possibilities you may be facing.

Dates for 2023 Virtual coffees are:

· Tuesday 28th Feb 10-11.30am
· Monday 27th Mar 10-11.30am

If you’re not already registered, you can register for the Virtual Coffee catch ups by emailing us at

Sign up to here to request a slot at an upcoming virtual coffee. Choose from:

Peer to Peer Problem Solving: share a challenge you are working through for facilitated counsel from peers.

Design Crit: share your idea or approach visually, to access a 360 perspective from your peers to help you stay curious about the potential and blind spots in your work.

Spotlight: access a 15m spotlight to share information you think others would benefit from hearing from your work. Optional additional Q&A.
Mini Design School
The Promise Design School continues to develop a range of pathways, focusing on themes and geographies to build capacity for children, young people and families to influence services and the systems around them. In our next newsletter we’ll do a feature on the design school to provide an update of how our thinking has developed and where many of the ideas from previous cohorts are now.

While the majority of our work will focus on specific themes within Plan 21-24, we will offer ‘Mini Digital Design School’s for those who don’t meet the criteria for our bigger programmes. Check out the Learning Calendar for details and dates for our next Mini Design School
Learning Calendar - NEW PILOT
The Promise Scotland is running a pilot of a Learning Calendar this quarter, and we are very excited to bring these learning offers to you.

Below is the calendar of events we currently have available. The content is based on feedback we have received and what could help project teams in leading co-design. We have also included some ‘big picture’ themes within the learning offers to help you get everyone you need on the journey with you.

These will be reviewed and evaluated to ensure we are providing the best learning opportunities for you.

If you would like to be part of a focus group to assist with evaluation on this pilot, please contact

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Learning Calendar Continued
Tuesday 21st – Introduction to Framing with Each & Every Child (2hrs)

Each and Every Child can help you explore how you talk about care experience, to help you to:
  • shift public understanding to help tackle stigma and discrimination,
  • build support towards keeping the promise,
  • make a positive difference to Scotland's children and young people now and in the future.
This session will introduce you to framing. It will explain how frames can be used in practice, and how they help tell a new story to shift public opinion.


MARCH 2023
Tuesday 7th March – Learning Lab Introduction refresher of Introduction to Framing with support for storytelling with Each & Every Child (3 hrs)

This session will:
  • incorporate the main messages from the introduction to framing session, and
  • include support of framing answers to questions to help tell your story in the most effective way.
This is a great precursor to the Storytelling Learning Lab, which goes into more details on professional storytelling.


Thursday 9th- Creating Service and Experience Blueprints Masterclass with Jess Gildener (3 hrs)

A blueprint is a map of how you service or experience works, whether you want to see what's happening now or need to design something new.

In this masterclass we will explore the multiple ways blueprinting can help you make sense of experiences and services at every stage of the design process.

During this practical, participatory session you will:
  • explore how blueprints can help you understand and develop services and experiences,
  • get to know the variety and flexibility of blueprints,
  • create a blueprint.

Tuesday 14th & Tuesday 28th MARCH: 2day Storytelling for Influence Learning Lab with the Lens
OPEN - spaces limited and subject to short application for suitability.

With every good idea, there evolves a need to develop your influencing skills to help people rally around it and make it happen. People are more likely to buy into an idea or a change when they engage with a compelling, memorable, and authentic message. But this can be challenging, especially if your idea or service is a complex one.

As humans, we are hardwired to listen and connect through stories. Storytelling will move your team away from ‘information provision’ and increase their ability to connect with people both inside and outside your organisation. Watch Gillian and Kenny’s story to see storytelling in action.

By the end of this highly participative masterclass, you will have:

  • an understanding of how to influence an audience or leader,
  • communicated the value of your idea in a compelling and memorable way,
  • earned how to deliver standout presentations.

Thursday 30th MARCH & 13th APRIL: Mini Design School
A bitesize version of our Promise Design School for practitioners and leaders actively working to keep the promise. We invite small project teams to participate together to tease out the scope and potential in their current co-design activity or ambitions.

Are you looking to better understand how a service design approach could help you share influence and authentically co-design your services and supports?

This 2 day series will introduce you to double diamond design process by allowing you to “sprint” through various tools and templates. It will give practical ideas and resources to embed the principles of good co-design into your practice and help you move through sticky moments as you make change real.


Wednesday 12th APRIL: Project Change- Voices & People; the foundations of the promise? Learning Lab (3hrs)

To keep the promise, we need to hear where things can change.

This session helps teams learn how to create spaces where teammates, children and young people can say how they really feel.

And when they speak, this session trains staff to really listen— so they can learn from new knowledge and perspectives.

The outcomes from this will be:
  • understand how to create safe enabling spaces,
  • understand how to listen to expertise and perspectives, not just experiences,
  • develop new techniques to creatively engage with lived experiences,
  • experience participation first hand, to have a better understanding for when supporting others,
  • develop a problem-solving approach to voice.

All the sessions do have limited spaces so we will register people on a first come, first served basis.

We have split these learning offers into:

OPEN: anyone can attend, no previous knowledge of the Scottish Approach to Service Design is needed.
DESIGN SCHOOL: anyone who has completed the Promise Design School can attend as a basic knowledge of the Scottish Approach to Service Design is required.
INVITATION: focused learning based on project needs.

If you feel your project team would really benefit from a session you were not able to find space on, please contact us directly to discuss if there would be an option to run another session.

Contact for information around the learning calendar.
Sharing our nuggets of gold on design thinking
In this section we hope to share little design ‘nuggets’ that have been recommended to us.

There are lots of different ways to learn about design thinking and innovation; and we hope that by sharing some of the things we have found helpful, you might find them helpful too.

To kick off this segment we wanted to highlight some books that have been recommended by the team:

‘Beyond Sticky Notes’ by Kelly Ann McKercher

‘Good services’ by Lou Downe

Here is a great powerpoint presentation by Lucy Kimbell and Joe Julier – ‘The Social Design Methods Menu’

Let us know if you have any ‘design nuggets’ to share!
Let us shine a spotlight on your innovations
We would love to hear from you about any exciting innovative work that is happening in your community. The more we share, the more we learn.
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We want to hear from you
What would you like included in this newsletter?

Please send any feedback, queries, ideas and amazing innovations to

We love hearing how we can improve!
Thank you.
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