Dundee: enterprising city of design


Creative enterprise is about innovation, collaboration and finding new opportunities. We are seeing this in abundance in Dundee, and this session brings together a hugely talented panel of speakers who are behind some of the city’s key recent initiatives to discuss how Dundee has justifiably become UNESCO City of Design. Speakers include CEO of Creative Dundee Gillian Easson, Andrew McMahon, owner of the Bonviveur Group – a hospitality company based in Dundee that runs bars, restaurants and outdoor events – and founder of the Social Enterprise Food on Friday and now driving the Young Champions initiative, Anthea Reid.


Handbook of digital storytelling


The Handbook of Digital Storytelling is a grerat resource that provides a readable and clear introduction to “anyone who has an interest in using digital media literacy skills for storytelling”. Produced by a team from the University of the West of Scotland, including Jennifer Jones (design mentor at Dundee Service Jam 2016), the guide takes you through blogging, video, podcasting and social media. It’s a good grounding, particularly if you’re new to this. Later in the semester we add detail to this, and of course there are the Lynda.com tutorials that provide more detailed advice and tuition in specific tools. The handbook is a free download from here.

Marble Boy joins us!


This Friday 26 February we be joined by Dundee entrepreneur Jamie Shankland who established the social enterprise Marble Boy clothing line two years ago. Under the headline People not profit: Dundee clothing company plans to give away all proceeds in 2015 – The Courier covered the launch of his company back in December. More background on Jamie and the company can be read on this STV feature. Finally here is Jamie himself:

An inspiring social innovator who bridges local creative talent with the needs of communities and a well honed fashion business strategy, there is much to be learned from Jamie’s visit. So do your homework on him and his company, and come prepared with some questions. And the other thing about Jamie is that he has another highly lucrative business in the oil industry that helped to launch Marlbe Boy.

Ali McGill – leading entrepreneur

This week we welcome a special friend of Design Enterprise. Alasdair McGill is former Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the University of Dundee. In terms of the economy of the East of Scotland, he’s a real local hero. Currently Finance Director for GS-Group and Managing Director of Ashton McGill, he’s also co-founder of innovative golfing start-up LowerYourScores.com and Director of Family Golf & Leisure Ltd. Formerly he was Accounting Director of FW Accounting. A brilliant entrepreneur, Alasdair also is a massive friend of and support to the creative sector, and has worked with people like Kate Pickering and Lauren Currie.

We are very fortunate in having him provide both a guest lecture early in the module, then conduct a workshop on using the Business Model Canvas. You will find his insights, inspiration and ideas invaluable!

This is what designers can do


“Design does much more that make pretty things. And designers don’t make things for the sake of making things. We create human-centered value.”

A blog post by Louise Schenk makes the case powerfully that we should stop looking at design in a “thing-oriented way”, and instread look at design in terms of its potential to “create value by solving human problems.”

This makes us look at your own employability radically differently by shifting away from vocationalism, and opens up new ways of looking at design’s role in enterprise. This is an essential read for Design Enterprise!



Joanna Montgomery – woman of the future



This Friday I am delighted to welcome Joanna Montgomery to Design Enterprise. This was her in the Telegraph just a few weeks ago. Joanna is the winner of: Innovator of the Year, FDM Everywoman Women in Technology Awards 2013; Lloyds TSB Enterprise Awards ‘Best Start Up’ Scotland 2012; Woman of the Future in Science and Technology Finalist 2012, NACUE National Varsity Pitch National Champion, 2011. She has been featured on BBC, CNN and The Discovery Channel, she is CEO of Little Riot, has a regular blog at Huffington Post. She is an Interaction Design graduate of DJCAD and will join us to share her insights on pitching and presenting, and being enterprising in design. She recently smashed her Kickstarter target and is bringing her product to the market.

Joanna is an internationally sought after speaker who is candidly honest about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, Joanna’s vision and determination are inspiring. She also ranks as Great Britain’s strongest woman, and in recent heats qualified for world finals in the United States. Before she joins us please ensure you have checked her out and read at least one of her Huffington Post pieces – preferably all of them. You have a unique opportunity to ask her questions – make the most of it!

Creative futures


The lecture creative futures examined how recent research has shed light on the nature of careers and employment for design graduates. The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) undertook the “largest-ever study of the career patterns of graduates from UK courses in art, design, craft and media explores graduates’ experiences of higher education, their activities since graduating, the work they are currently engaged in, and their plans for the future.” From the IES website you can download the three major reports that have come out of this study. In short, the research shows that graduates are making use of their creative education, are generally positive about their work, are increasingly pursuing portfolio working lives, and value their education. However, the research suggests that art and design graduates “had less well‐developed IT, networking and client‐facing skills”. Within the lecture we were unable to explore the detail of the research. Students are strongly advised to look at the reports, especially creative career stories.

There is little difference in terms of career patterns between students who pursue craft-based or industry-based design disciplines – both require entrepreneurial skills and involve portfolio working. The Crafts Council has commissioned research that studies the career patterns of craft graduates, which has resulted in a number of reports that can be accessed from their website. The Making Value report by Mary Schwarz and Dr Karen Yair is of particular interest. The survey and report New lives in the making by myself and Alison Cusworth was published in 1998, but shows very similar patterns of employment. The book The Independents by Charles Leadbeater and Kate Oakley published by Demos is also from the late 90s, but it has some highly relevant observations and advice for emergent creative professionals today.