Today I am at the Digital Scotland 2018 Conference in Glasgow – if you are along do give me a wave (you’ll find me easily from the glare of my mirrored protractor brooch!). i’ll be liveblogging today, with the usual caveats that I welcome any additions, corrections, etc.
Chris Yiu, Senior Policy Fellow for Technology, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Join us for a conversation on how digital is transforming Scotland, and what more needs to be done to fulfil the potential of our communities and the nation.Featuring:
- Alistair Gunn (AG), Chair of session
- Colin Cook (CC), Director, Digital, The Scottish Government;
- Martyn Wallace (MW), Chief Digital Officer, The Digital Office Scottish Local Government;
- Polly Purvis (PP), Chief Executive, ScotlandIS;
- Cat Leaver (CL), Project Director, Brand Scotland.
Across the day there are three sessions running in parallel for each of these Masterclasses, so for all of these sessions I’ll be blogging from the ones I’ve signed up for. For this session that’s The Economy…
- Polly Purvis (PP), Chief Executive, ScotlandIS;
- Colin Cook (CC), Director, Digital, The Scottish Government;
- Melinda Matthews Clarkson (MMC), Chief Executive, CodeClan;
- Maggie Morrison (MM), Vice President, Public Sector, CGI.
Chaired by: Alisdair Gunn (AG), Director, Framewire & BIMA Scotland Council Member.
MMC: My background is twenty years in software and computer programming – my first application was instant messaging on a mainframe. I run CodeClan, and we are the only certified digital skills and code academy in the country. I am a huge cheerleader for change and I am so excited about what Scotland can and will become.
MM: I’ve over 35 years of experience in IT, starting out in a company working on Telex and Modems but since then have worked with many of the leading multinationals. I spent 14 years at Cisco and HP before joining CGI. My career in tech allowed me to work at the leading edge and travel the world. I worked for companies that still thrive, but also a cluster of tech companies that no longer exist. The pace of change is huge and what keeps me awake at night is ensuring that young people are ready for this, that we are ready for this, that we learn and relearn all the time. It was great to read in The Scotsman that technology adds £3.9B to the Scottish economy, but the pace of change is fast and we have to be ready for that.
AG: Does Scotland have the company base to be competitive?
MM: The scale of start ups in Scotland is increadible – something like 30% of the UK tech start ups come out of Scotland. But we need to get much better at exports – to be more like Ireland at that. As part of the work we do for Glasgow Council we have 52,000 tablets to all Glasgow Schools. Primary 1-6 will have a shared device, above that they will have a personal device. For children in Glasgow that should position them well to explore these devices, to understand what they can do. Educating parents in digital, in the future economy, we have to do all of this.
AG: Melinda, what’s your experience of working with companies?
MMC: The people who engage with us become the biggest fans. There just aren’t enough engaging. And that means communicating what a graduade of CodeClan actually looks like. It’s not (just) a barista training in 16 weeks, so many come in from tech and other sectors with a growth mindset, a really open mind to expand and develop their skills. When people do take on CodeClan graduates they are overwhelmed by the learning potential there. In Scotland there is such innovation and creativity, but there isn’t that culture of competitiveness – and that is where Silicon Valley benefits. That helps you keep up with expectations as they change, so we need some culture change.
AG: What about using
PP: The first thing I want to say is that Britain is a huge tech market so sometimes growth can be Britain, not just internationally. The figures on Scottish tech actually underplays the contribution. Tech contributes £6B to the Scottish economy. Many of our companies do work internationally, but there is more to do. And we really need to get skills of ecommerce out to other sectors – the death of the highstreet is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity. We need to encourage that. And it is concerning that ecommerce is nowhere in our curriculum in schools and education. That could add hugely. We have some fantastic ingrediants, we just need to build on them… Not every company has an online presence, that’s part of the problem. It’s not about Scotland… Debenhams, House of Fraser, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in if they’d sorted their ecommerce. It’s a wider problem.
MM: We’ve talked goods and products, but also there is huge opportunity for other types of offers. Y Combinator takes tech businesses (often without a product) through an incubator, time in Silicon Valley, and AirBnB came out of that. We talk too much here about products and goods.
PP: One of the challenges here is that it’s hard to scale services. Products do scale fast… But where I agree with Maggie is that platforms do scale fast. Skyscanner is a product company and a platform company.
MM: It’s not either/or… But it’s “and”. We don’t focus enough or recognise the possibility of non-product offerings.
AG: How do we persuade people that being a backend enabler, a B2B company that helps other companies, is a good thing? We talked about CivTech earlier – how do we scale services out of that to a global thing?
CC: Scaling comes with the challenge of how you keep fast growing and large scale businesses in Scotland, so that the scaling benefits the economy here. We do try to scale services in different ways, we want to scale the CivTech concept in fact.
Q1) I wanted to ask about the missing middle. With CivTech… For the public sector how do we procure without “being brought by one of the big boys” being the answer?
A1 – MM) Deals above a certain size have a public benefit threshold. And for big contracts with councils we have a requirement for 25% of work to be undertaken by local businesses, and they have to be paid in 10 days. CGI’s policy it to pay them (not acquire them). That forces multinationals to make sure that 25% of that work comes from local providers – it’s not perfect but it’s the best solution from the public sector so far.
A1 – PP) We have worked with Scottish Government and things are improving. But many of our companies are health organisations but they almost always sell south of the border first, it’s too slow to get into the Scottish market.
A1 – CC) We need to talk earlier in the process before formal procurement. We need new approaches to partnering, some about sharing risk… Some issues are addressed by CivTech, some are addressed elsewhere.
SESSION 2: PUBLIC SERVICES: Designing services around users
- Cat Macaulay (CM), Head of User Research and Services Design, The Scottish Government;
- Leah Lockhart (LL), Engagement Consultant;
- Clare Hillis (CH), Head of Public Sector, Vodafone (chairing)
- Paul Duffy (PD), Co – Director for IT and Telecommunications, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
CH: I’m delighted to be here today to share some of our experiences of designing public sector services for users. We have with us today Cat Macaulay from Scottish Government, Leah Lockhard, engagement consultant and Paul Duffy from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
PD: I’m here to represent health and digital really, and improving health and patient care. We look are services across health and social care in Belfast and Northern Ireland. We have too little money and too much expected of us so service design and improvement is crucial to deliver patient care.
CM: I am head of a new department in Scottish Government. We have two big ambitions: to build and manage UCD – user research, content, interaction etc. designers across Scotland; and to be fantastic at designing in inclusive processes that are genuinely centred on the citizen – not only citizens who can read, or see, or hear, or have great mobility etc.
LL: I sit at the intersection of technology, academia, design and art and creative work. Generally I help people understand how to engage people, how to use the internet to engage with people. I’m working with SEPA at the moment on a user research and service design and, breaking news, I’ll be moving with Snook very soon.
CH: I wanted to ask you, Cat, about working with users not neccassarily saying what the challenge is.
CM: Most of the time when service design fails, we are solving the wrong problem. Typically we do things like: the paper form doesn’t work so we digitise the form and wonder why that didn’t work. In Scotland citizens have to drive services and drive policies – so we have to engage people much earlier in the process, and that matters particularly in the digital world where we have to be agile. We can’t put a problem on the back of an envelope, build a huge business case, go to procurement, and then wonder why it doesn’t work for citizens five years later… We need to get away from that.
PD: We don’t want to apply “digital” as the label. We want service improvements where digital is just part of the solution to that. Too often we’ve looked at solutions, and changing working processes to meet the app we’ve brought. That doesn’t work. What you need is for the people who will be changing to help imagine what could work better, how we can improve what we do. So we look at a problem, we look at how we can solve that and where digital does that… The first digital tools will always be the hardest to get in place. What do we mean when we talk about this? Are we going to invest? Are we going to do the hard work to embed it and make it work? If we don’t, if we think digital is done to you, and that it will fix problems alone, then it fails.
LL: I think that change in power dynamics are important. We need to change how we engage… Chris talked earlier about the risk of people opting out because we aren’t being relevant to them.
CH: When you do this, are there challenges around what citizens want and what you can do.
CM: Service design isn’t about asking people what they want. It’s about understanding what we need within the realm of what is possible. We do currently tend to ask people what they want, when we should be asking what they need and how that can drive what we do. The benefit of that approach is that it enables a more mature conversation with citizens.
CH: What has worked best in identifying the right solutions.
PD: Far too many projects start without defining the problem. You have to define the problem. Then identify the ideal solution, and iterate and review that. If you want to fail a digital project, start with unclear objectives! We have actually designed an onboarding process – physicians aren’t managers, they aren’t usually experienced with budgets. I try to avoid pilots, proof of concepts… So our projects are tightly constrained and aim to do something intentionally… We may not always achieve that to time or budget but that constraint is important.
LL: I’ve been through a world of pain when I haven’t properly explained what I do with services, with organisations… So that they understand what we do, so that service design and user research becomes the norm.
Q1) I work for a company that builds products… I wonder how we achieve early access when engaging with authorities and organisations…
A1 – CM) We’ve done lots of work recently to push hard on having users engaged in products throughout the process. We engage users as early as possible in the project, to understand what we should be looking at, getting users to help me understand that we are thinking along the right time… We do research, we want collaborative sense making – compare, contrast, and the differences are where interesting stuff emerges. We currently have over 2000 people on our social care panel, and ways to reach service users for instance.
Q2) Quite often we tend to go to champions or representatives… How do we consult a representative range of citizens.
A2 – CM) We have a bug bear in the public sector about representativeness – this isn’t a thing in the private sector. You will never have a representative of all users. Sometimes you will have lots of people, sometimes it is smaller groups. You will rarely be statistically representative. What you can do is to triangulate, to understand that information in context, to ensure validity of what we do. And this isn’t a science, design is not a science. You need co-design, engagement, and mixed methods.
A2 – LL) You have to be comfortable – and it’s hard for public services to take this on board right now – that this goes on all the time. You don’t then stop, you stay engaged.
Q3) So is this a choice between doing something agile now and long planned projects?
A3) These aren’t separate things. The advantage of agile is that you are rapidly iterating and trying things out. Working on some 3 year project where you are locked away working on a problem isn’t how the private sector works, that agile process is part of those projects.
A3 – PD) If you do agile you need the budget holder engaged – every meeting costs money so you have to stay constrained, you have to actually end up with something. You need to understand how many iterations are appropriate for a given budget. We are currently working on trauma management… Digital can provide a level of non-repudiation and ownership that paper and pager systems don’t allow… But people aren’t stupid so you get resistance, you will have hidden agendas here… And you have to accommodate that in your project budget. But we are about ready to roll that out… Once it’s out there, change is made, and then this service improvement can be applied to other areas. The change has to be owned by the people who will live with that working practice.
Q3) One of the challenges we have is that if your user research shows what you know, then management is reluctant to invest in this work. How we get management buy in for this sort of work?
A3 – CM) Relentless Resilience! We have to change. Our service design has reflected organisations not citizen needs. It’s a cultural change. We build culture change into our organisation but we also have to acknowledge that we don’t know the perfect solution yet. Anyone who says you can apply service design to public services is mad. This is really hard. It’s not the same as designing the experience in a coffee shop here, it’s about “ok, someone fell down the stairs and broke her leg this morning, she’s a single mum of two and one of her kids is in a bit of trouble in school, and she’s behind on her rent”. This isn’t easy stuff to fix.
A3 – PD) It’s about doing this process right, being agile, showing the benefit of working in this way to improve services.
A3 – CM) One way to pick this up is our quality process, and standards. We have to hang in there, its hard.
SESSION 3: HEALTH: Technology enabled health and social care in Scotland
- Michelle Brogan (MB), Home and Mobile Health Monitoring lead, NHS24;
- Hazel Archer (HA), Video Conference and Attend Anywhere Lead, NHS24;
- Liza McLean (LM), Head of eHealth Strategy and Policy, Scottish Government.
- Mike MacDonald (MM), Head of Digital & Innovation, Capita,
- Toni Gribben (TG), Scotland Manager, Cisco
- Anne Moises (AM)
We have been running 4 years, and we have choices to make – to further connect Scotland, further reduce cost, be technology focused and connected or; to align to digital strategy and connect the technology with that strategy. That latter path is the interesting one for us to take now.
The Scottish Government digital strategy for scotland talks abuot the new digital economy, digital public services, skills, connectivity, cyber security, data and innovation, participation. We have connectivity but we’ve also helped be a cornerstone customer to help push out fibre to new locations and we are happy to do that. We have that top level strategy, but there are also sectorial strategies in Scotland with different needs – so we need to address those differing but related strategic needs. When you look at these, when you look at highly varied technology adoption levels, how do we cater to all of those needs.
We’ve focused on areas with real potential impact: smart healthcare, digital education, data based outcomes, health and social care integration. And we are looking analytics – offering stuff like Titration on a Software As A Service basis at a more affordable level. We see lots of IoT on SWAN, and its all about the data and insights you derive from that. But we have question marks here… About what you need.
The way we want to bring this together is in the SWAN Marketplace. This is bringing together SMEs right up to big multinationals. We are in conversation with Procurement Scotland so we can see how we provide opportunities for SMEs to sell their services and products through the SWAN marketplace. For instance Ajenta came out of the Janet network, as any-to-any teleconferencing. You can bridge connections across legacy conferencing kit through to Skype for Business. They also own the “Push Doctor” as well – and they are actively looking to make that available through us. We are doing a formal launch of vscene 2.0 with these folk next week – do come along.
We see a lot of interest in IoT. We talk about Smart City, Town, Community… We like to think about Smart Scotland. I’ll talk about some examples here. In the highlands they have a big challenge around water. Local authorities have to test the water every month for temperature. That’s usually one person in a van taking measurements. So we’ve put sensors in place to enable that testing to take place more efficiently. And we’ve also put a gateway in place in Angus for use by SEPA.
AM: I am absolutely delighted to be here to make an announcement. We are announcing a proposal – still to be formally agreed by the SWAN management board – for Phase 1 of the IoT enablement of SWAN, for int the region of 50 LoRaWAN Gateways, courtesy of CISCO. Expanding on our pilots, and we are starting from the outside in, from the more rural areas of Scotland, rather than starting in the easier to do cities. We will be learning and developing and scaling up. This is back to the origins of SWAN – as a starting point for innovation, and more than a network. Coverage is being driven by Public Sector IoT projects, and is conjunction with Public Sector customers, CENSIS, Innovation Partners and SMEs to stimulate the market. This is funded from SWAN Innovation Fund. And, once confirmed, it will begin roll out in the summer. There is an accompanying press release – just now.
TG: I am country manager for CISCO in Scotland. We are based in San Jose and we offer software services worth around $50Bn. We pride ourselves on delivering innovation. I’m going to describe LoRaWAN, some case studies, and an additional ask before you leave. CISCO sees IoT as the combination of people, process, information and things. Less than 1% of connectable “things” are connected to the internet. By 2020 estimates vary between there being 15Bn and 50Bn connected things by 2020. That’s a huge opportunity for all of us in this room.
Our previous chief executive was a visionary around IoT, and from that we lead the development of LoRaWAN – Long Range Wide Area Network – connectivity. Never has it been more prevalent that we are connected. We use blue tooth, 3G, 4G and increasingly 5G. The beauty of LoRaWAN is that it takes only low energy and a low data rate to connect to the network. Sensors can give you 5 years worth of power. You implement it once, then leave for 5 years. It’s low cost, runs on unlicensed spectrum, and one gateway can handle up to 10k devices. It’s hugely exciting for all of us.
SESSION 5: SKILLS: A digitally skilled nation
- Donald McLaughlin (DM), Technology Sector Business Leader and Chair of Scotland’s Digital Technologies Skills Group;
- Kirsten Urquhart (KU), Digital & Smart-Tech Director, Young Scot;
- Joshua Ryan-Saha (JRS), Skills Manager, The Data Lab.
- Chaired by: Melinda Matthews Clarkson (MMC), Chief Executive, CodeClan.
As a final note on this session I’d remind readers of our Digital Footprint MOOC, a free self-led online course which covers managing your digital footprint and encourages critical thinking about social media, privacy and personal data. You can find it on Coursera here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/digital-footprint.
And with that we are (slightly abruptly) done for the day. Thanks to the organisers for a stimulating day of discussion and networking.