In challenging times creativity is the winning response. We develop your ability to respond before the crisis hits

Better by design

In 2013, Big Lottery Fund Scotland, commissioned us to design and deliver the Better by Design programme across Scotland. The programme entailed taking 15 charities through a design-led process of innovation and change, seeking increased sustainability and social impact as the primary outcomes.

All of the organisations participating in Better by Design were in the business of social change – changing the behaviour of, and outcomes for, individuals in a way that impacts upon them and on society more generally. The responsibilities, authorities, activities and behaviours that combine to achieve social change, just as those necessary to achieve the outcomes of Better by Design, rested within a wide range of actors across the whole social system within which the organisations participated. In these situations, that is, in complex situations, to be effective and sustainable, any change needed be co-designed with those involved.

So, that’s what we did. However, for the ‘designs’ to emerge that would lead to increased sustainability, attention needed to be paid to working with complexity; creating the cultural conditions to sustain change and co-designing the process and the outcomes with as many communities of interest as possible. This meant that, unlike traditional advisory or consultancy approaches that lend themselves more to ‘programmed’ approaches, the Better by Design process and outcomes were necessarily ‘co-produced’ with the charities taking part in the process. This involved working collaboratively and responsively with people in the participating organisations and inevitably meant working with uncertainty and emergence.


Click to download the Better by Design User guide

Click to view the Project Blog


What they said

"By going through this process we were able to take control of the organisation’s future in the long-term and continue to deliver our mission in line with our values, rather than delivering a service to fit funding currently available. Those involved with the process, both staff and service users, gained valuable skills and experience that they can continue to use in the future development of the organisation."

How we made a difference

Using design thinking, tools and techniques to re-imagine an organisation in its entirety

Strategy Development

Help organisations devise, develop and deliver strategies that retain focus on outcomes, but take advantage of emergence

Workforce Development

Align the values of an organisation with its strategy, so that staff know what to do and why

Learning the Way Forward

Engage in a process of real co-production that addresses complexity and shifts culture