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UF Business Development Workshop: Service Design & Business in the New Decade

On Feb 4th and 5th we rolled out our pilot further, a third iteration, which we delivered to 18
businesses. This brings our total businesses who received service design training to 28. To offset the
difficulty we had initially attracting participants, this time we used the customer journey in advance
to identify the likely barriers registering for training (see above). One of the significant barriers
identified was the perceived lack of value in training and the lack of trust. People needed assurance
that the training would be valuable from a trusted source / contact. The pressure to network was also
a barrier.

Conversations at Belfast Design Week (location of previous training) helped identify key
gatekeepers / ambassadors who had an established relationship with a number of businesses and
who were in a position to advise them. We initially engaged four gatekeepers /ambassadors with
two eventually partnering with us to deliver the training. The first, the Linen Quarter Business
Improvement District support 515 businesses, and the second, the Innovation Factory, 96
businesses.

These partnerships were instrumental in helping us communicate with the businesses they
support and understand the motivations and behaviours necessary to achieve attendance. For
example, having extra support to help communicate with businesses through familiar channels
(from a reliable source whose agenda is to support) allowed significant breakthrough. As was
having a gatekeeper / ambassador on the ground advocate and recommend training on a one-to-one
level. Hosting it in-situ meant also that businesses at least knew some of the businesses, and in the
case of the Innovation Factory, quite well, therefore offsetting the pressure to network. Finally, the
training materials delivered were also adopted to a reflect advice from gatekeepers i.e. to deliver a
more business focused approach, building upon business methods already tried and tested.

At the close of the session businesses were asked to think about which one tool they might
select to use going forward and many participants favoured one tool over another. Given all the
hoops we had to jump through to get businesses into the training room, including the time they were
willing to give, will mean that showing measurable impact, however, will be challenging.

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