Service Improvement Scotland – event resources

Service Improvement Event Resources – 5 September 2018

Thank you for attending our event in St Andrews.


We had a fantastic day listening to inspiring stories from our speakers, expert insight from our sponsors and thoughtful input from everyone in the room, all kindly hosted by Dr Kevin Donachie, Associate CIO at St Andrews University who provided our stunning venue.


If you’d like to revisit any of the speakers’ content you can download the presentations below:

  Pauline Brown, University of St Andrews

  Mike Burns, University of the Highlands and Islands

  Iain Cameron, University of Aberdeen

  Leigh Mullin, Aberdeen Standard Investments



Workshop Takeaways

The group workshop generated some ideas and considerations for overcoming common challenges associated with driving service improvements. Here’s a summary:

  1. Gaining Buy-In
  • Show the added value there will be
  • Engage early – with the right people
  • Give them a reality check!
  • Use statistics to highlight current problems
  • Be realistic in your aims and how you ‘sell’ it
  • Be honest – it will build trust
  • Acknowledge people’s concerns and give feedback – communicate throughout
2. Time pressures
  • Use temporary resources – either to free up team’s time for improvement project or to help form a project team
  • Build a good relationship with finance! (for sign off on resource) Help them to understand what you’re trying to achieve and why
  • Consider running an improvement as a project – give someone ownership, assign a project manager
  • Automate! Reduce the time the team needs to spend on the day to day or time-consuming manual tasks
  • Use a CSI log – use past improvements as evidence of the value and progress already made
  • Allow short term compromises if necessary to drive improvement forward
  • COMMUNICATION! The better the communication the more time-efficient the work will be
  • Make the proposed benefits really clear to get buy-in for creating time

3. Financing

  • Reporting is key – show ROI wherever you can
  • Use case studies to prove what can be achieved / potential value
  • Set achievable (SMART) goals – more likely to get budget approved
  • Tie your goals in with strategic / organisational goals and promote this
  • Look at feedback – find evidence of the need for change 
  • Record gains from failure – even a project not deemed ‘successful’ may have added value in other ways
  • Don’t be afraid to stop when something isn’t working
  • ROI isn’t always monetary – highlight other benefits, gains and value it will bring the business

4. Ownership

  • Identify and nurture key relationships
  • TALK! Find your influencers and connect with them
  • Use stakeholder mapping
  • Use a project manager approach – empower a team member
  • Allow people to come up with and drive their own ideas

5. Culture shift

  • Block / push channels to change customer behaviour 
  • Consider a ‘Black Ops’ approach – fly under the radar! 
  • Demonstrate / show how the new way is better
  • Sell the benefits clearly and loudly – talk to people
  • Address people’s concerns and break down their reasons for resisting
  • Talk the customer’s language
  • Learn from other service desks – gain ideas, use the positive examples to convince
  • Make change visible and aspirational
  • Make the new vision or culture clear, consistent and easy to understand
  • Use testimonials and customer ‘fans’ to convince others – involve your ‘early adopters’
  • Pay attention to recruiting practices – make sure new team members fit the culture from the start

6. Legacy systems

  • Audit and assess – create a clear account of the issues
  • Creative use of existing systems can help
  • Consider a ‘Black Ops’ approach to demonstrate benefits of new system or prove the current shortcomings
  • Build credibility to help you effect change
  • Get external verification that it’s the tech that’s holding you back
  • Get collective recognition of the problems – talk to lots of people
  • Ownership – someone to drive the change and be accountable
  • Spend time working out how to overcome resistance
  • Look out for opportunities to push change –  take advantage of a moment e.g a crisis

And remember, always celebrate your wins, big or small!


(Cake can help too)

Thanks to our event sponsors:


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