Dundee’s Vision for a Digital Scotland

Dundee Council shows how to craft the two essential ingredients required for successful Digital Transformation: A Vision of the future it will enable, and a Roadmap for how to get there

Update : The Council has published an updated Digital Strategy report here.

The Digital Government Roadmap will offer a digital transformation planning guide for the Scottish public sector, based on aggregating together leadership case studies from across Scotland.

This will be achieved by analyzing the individual digital roadmaps published by Scottish public sector bodies. These are available online, such as Midlothian, West Lothian, Bute, and East Ayrshire, among many others.

Each has strengths and weaknesses, and by assembling the best of each into one overall document this will offer an ideal template planning resource for others to utilize to plan their own transformation program.

Envisioning Digital Transformation

In the case of Dundee City it is their core introductory vision that is especially well defined – Getting this part right is the first and most essential step. Fundamentally the two drivers of successful digital transformation are a Vision and Roadmap – Where are we trying to get to and how do we get there?

This sounds overly simplistic, however research earlier this year from Civica identified an alarming reality gap between the high-level aims of the Scottish Government and the public sector charged with making them happen:

  • “57% of local government employees in Scotland do not believe the nation will achieve its digital vision by 2020.”
  • “Only 43% of local government workers believe the country will achieve its vision of being recognised as a truly digital nation by 2020.”
  • “only 19% of local government employees in Scotland believe their organisation has a clear vision for its transformation journey”.

In their digital transformation due diligence best practices Audit Scotland make this headline point:

“Senior level engagement may actually be the most important factor in ICT-enabled projects.”

Dundee’s Executive Vision

So we can see that actually crafting the vision for the digital strategy at the most senior level of the organization is critically important, not doing so greatly increases the likelihood of yet another failed ICT project.

Dundee offers an excellent example of an inspiring vision statement; in particular it’s not overly technological (“we’ll migrate our servers to the Cloud”) but instead focuses on the broader economic perspective and opportunity, identifying and building on what their particular local strengths and growth opportunities are.

Equally importantly it doesn’t operate in a silo, it defines how they can be a component part of a larger overall national strategy.

“Scotland’s digital landscape is changing rapidly and the Scottish Government has recognised this through the development and support of a number of digital strategies and programmes which all have their sights firmly set on the same target for building Scotland’s digital future – 2020.

The Scottish Government’s vision for Scotland is a country in which:

‘Digital technology provides a foundation for innovative, integrated public services that cross organisational boundaries and deliver to those in most need, and for services for business that promote growth.’

Dundee City Council’s Digital Strategy outlines how the Council aims to achieve a digital Council by 2020 to help feed into the wider aim of building a Digital Scotland.

Dundee is a leader in games & digital media, is changing for the future and has been three times listed as a top seven global Intelligent Community of the Year over the past decade. As a UNESCO city of design and the V&A being the centrepiece of a globally significant urban regeneration programme, Dundee’s digital credentials will be another key component in delivering the City’s vision statement “to attract and retain talent, creating jobs, social fairness, quality of life and environmental sustainability”.

The vision for Dundee City Council is to become a Council which has enhanced its services through digital and has effectively promoted the use of digital so that its citizens think digital first when requesting services because it is quicker and more convenient to do so. This vision covers more than just digital access to services, it covers the processes behind the services, the way our citizen’s find and access them, how we communicate, how we continue to improve but also aims to bring the city together by looking at a multiple digital themes.

By creating a digital strategy, the Council will be supporting other Changing for the Future projects, providing the citizens of Dundee with a full choice of service options which are convenient and fit into their lives as seamlessly as possible regardless of age, location, time constraints or backgrounds.”

Digital Champions

The Scottish Digital Office offer this case study, which highlights the very important next step of staff engagement. As the Civica research highlighted it is the workforce on the ground who do not feel their organization is headed for success.

To address this Dundee implemented a program of ‘Digital Champions’, a survey of staff skills combined with an ongoing program of digital training and from that recruiting staff to champion the initiative, spreading it across their network of contacts, succeeding at making the staff an integral part of its rollout.


SVCO, author of the Scottish Digital Participation Charter, are also playing a part in extending this involvement to the general public in Dundee, championing the role of technology in health and wellbeing.

Digital Service Design – The Roadmap

As highlighted the two ingredients of successful digital transformation are a Vision and the Roadmap, and in this video Steven Kyle, Changing for the Future Programme Manager at Dundee City Council, presents an introductory webinar to Service Design in Scottish Local Government which explores how this capability can be used to transform the way services are delivered to citizens.

The webinar focuses on:

  • What is Service Design and the Scottish Approach to Service Design?
  • What are the benefits of using Service Design?
  • What does good Service Design look like?
  • An overview of the Digital Partnership Service Design project and;
  • The aims for the playbook which is currently being developed.

This facilitates the essential closed loop, the means to translate the high level vision into actionable projects that builds the new services that deliver on that vision.

A detailed review of Service Design best practices and innovations is discussed in this blog.

Dundee Digital – Video Library

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