Reflections on Digital Scotland 2018

BLOG27th Jun 2018


We had a good time at Digital Scotland 2018, the Scottish Public Sector’s digital transformation conference, in Glasgow last month. 

In part, it was a great opportunity to catch up with a whole load of people that we have worked with and for over the past few years. To talk to them about what they have been up to, as well as our plans for AAB Consulting and our latest thinking on Organisation Agility (more on this to follow in future posts).

But also, because it was it was encouraging to hear some of the core messages around ‘transformation’ becoming embedded across the public sector (if you were wondering, there is a clear view emerging that the ‘digital’ part of ‘digital transformation’ needs to be dropped, because what we are all talking about is much broader that just the digital technology).

There were a few things that particularly appealed:

  •  Hearing Chris Yiu talk about the need for structured dialogue between change and policy makers, better approaches to regulation built around today’s reality of the internet. And the ambition and optimism that we should be all taking from digital technologies like AI and Block Chain.
  • Getting up to speed on the new digital services being designed, build and deployed to citizens and users in Scotland. After all that is what it’s all about, right? The standout for me was Hazel Archer’s presentation about the NHS 24 Attend Anywhere service, which will be hugely important for digital health and care in Scotland.
  •  The wide recognition that automating public services and maximising their reach to citizens, in a growing digital economy, requires an investment in people and infrastructure.

And there were a few things that made us pause for thought:

  • Were all the right people there? Sure, the service design, digital delivery and transformation crowd was out in force. But they’ve already had the Kool-Aid. How can we attract the chief execs and senior business owners to events like this, the people that need to buy into and drive transformation?
  • Have we got the comms and the language right? For example shouldn’t we be talking about the digital roles that people ‘want to do’ (not project management) to attract emerging digital talent to the public sector? And using ‘secure online services’ (not the cloud) to host sensitive data?
  • Are we on the right track with digital inclusion and diversity in the workplace? This is not something that I have an answer for, however both topics came up on a few occasions and my sense was that we are not getting it quite right. Clearly hugely important topics that need more attention in the future.

Just a few reflections from a great day. Thanks to FutureScot who ran Digital Scotland 2018 and of course to Ali G for chairing. We are already looking forward to attending next year’s event!

For more information please contact Alex Matthews ( or your usual AAB Advisor