Welcome to the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)

So what is it that you’re doing?

I’ve found this to be a trickier question to answer than I would like. The most succinct explanation I can come up with is this:

I’m working as a Service Designer to lead a UKRI funded project that transfers knowledge from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) to Citizen’s Advice Scotland (CAS), with the aim of creating a culture of continuous learning and development through the introduction of Service Design methods and the eventual development of a ‘handbook’ for Citizen’s Advice Bureaus (CABs) to use throughout Scotland.

Not exactly clear.

Nor does this fully cover the scope, intention, or complexity of this project. Part of the challenge in summarising this project, is that it’s designed to evolve over time, as part of a iterative, co-design process. This KTP is more about process and mindset – starting by building up a strong understanding and practice of reflection upon the various CABs’ ways of working, structures, challenges, and needs. From there, I’ll be collaborating with people across different CABs to begin to explore what methods and tools can be created or adapted to support continuous learning and development of the Citizen’s Advice services. All this will be towards the co-designing of a bespoke handbook that can provide framework and guidance for different people at CAS to reference and utilise in order to continue to improve and evolve the organisation.

Although I may be new to this role, this project has been forming for a number of years now. Citizen’s Advice Scotland and the 59 Bureaus that make up its membership are an indispensable resource in Scotland, providing vital information to people, often in times of crisis, and advocating for policy change and human rights. They’ve been supporting the public for over 80 years and have had to evolve with need over the years, in particular during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. As part of that continual development, they’ve been exploring more collaborative ways of working – becoming involved in multiple CivTech challenges. As well as produce some innovative technical solutions, these CivTech processes exemplified the benefit of dynamic, interdisciplinary teamwork and the potential of human centred design processes. This has been a significant part of the journey that has led to this UKRI funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership, between Edinburgh College of Art and Citizen’s Advice Scotland.

It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to bring the perspective of academic theory and methodology into the real world application of such a diverse and important service as Citizen’s Advice. I don’t think this project will be without its challenges, but I think it has a huge amount of potential to be the starting point of a cultural shift that can support the organisations’ continual development towards serving the Scottish public.

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