Researchers from the Innovation School are working with a cross-section of staff from across Glasgow Science Centre to help them learn about and apply co-design methods to imagine new ways of working and envisaging the future of the organisation.


The ‘Connect’ programme is a multi-faceted plan of action aimed at ensuring that Glasgow Science Centre continues and extends its relevance and reach to as many people as possible; though investment in a series of initiatives that span all aspects of GSC’s provision from built environment and reception areas, to exhibitions, cultural programming and community learning activities.

It has been acknowledged that in order to realise these ambitions and successfully deliver the Connect programme, GSC staff of all roles and levels will need to become more attuned
to the needs and desires of the broader and more diverse set of communities and stakeholders that it wishes serve in future. By implication it is anticipated that the organisation of GSC itself will need to change if a people-centred GSC is to be realised. This could involve new ways of working and collaborating (both individually and collectively), new skills being learned and prototyping new solutions.

‘Co-Design to Connect’ is a 6-month collaboration between GSC and the Innovation School at Glasgow School of Art, a centre of specialist expertise in using the approaches and methods of design in fostering complex collaborations and innovative, creative cultures within organisations.

The collaboration has set itself an ambitious aim to transform how staff work together to design and deliver a ‘people centred’ GSC over four stages.

  1. 1. Launch

Give all GSC staff an introduction to co-design methods and direct experience of their practical application

  1. 2. Upskill

Identify and upskill a cross-section of staff as co-design ‘champions’

  1. 3. Embed

Support ‘champions’ to lead collaborative co-design efforts on priority projects

  1. 4. Evaluate and communicate

Reflect on the impact of Co-Design-2-Connect on the broader Connect programme in real-time

Work to date

The initial ‘Launch’ stage saw more than 70 staff from across the organisation engage in two workshops and ‘homework’ activities to understand the visitor journey of GSC, from ‘awareness’ through to ‘arriving’, ’exploring’ and ‘leaving’ the centre, through a series of in-centre observations and interviews with visitors and non-visitors.

By collaboratively taking part in these research activities the feelings, actions and perceptions of current GSC visitors and non-visitors were mapped to create, for the first time a single, evidence-based view of the GSC visitor journey, including its relative performance versus comparator experiences. From this over 100 opportunities for enhancements to the visitor journey were identified by framing future-focused ‘How might we?’ statements. In doing so a large proportion of staff from GSC worked together to ‘prototype’ a new way of cross-departmental collaboration and problem solving for the organisation, for the first tie.

The second ‘Upskilling’ stage takes the outputs of Stage 1, ten ‘Learning Themes’, as a starting point for a more in-depth process. Over an 11-week period co-design experts from the Glasgow School of Art will work with a group of 20 GSC ‘Co-Design champions’ selected from across the organisation to learn about and apply co-design methods in more detail.  In doing so the learnings about the visitor journey and potential opportunities will be reviewed, explored and developed further through a design-led process resulting in a series of projects for implementation within the organisation during the subsequent ‘Embed’ stage.

What’s next

After the launch of the ‘Upskilling’ stage last week, participants will be working closely with Innovation School researchers until the end of January 2020 to learn about co-design and ultimately scope out projects to deliver change for the organisation

Watch this space for the results.

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