20-22 September 2023
John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh
Call for speakers
Our SDinGov 2023 call for speakers has now closed.
What are you waiting for?
Our SDinGov 2023 call for speakers closed on Monday 20 March, the information on this page remains here for reference only.
We are aware a few people need some more time, so we have extended our call for speakers - it will now close at 11:59pm (GMT) on Monday 20 March 2023.
We encourage submissions from anyone with relevant skills, experience or knowledge to share with our community. We welcome and support first-time speakers.
What we're looking for
We want to attract the very best speakers and practitioners working in any area of user-centred design.
Our participants love takeaways that can be applied to their own work. This can be by participating in workshops to learn new techniques or case studies of projects demonstrating how you approached a problem.
Authenticity and inspiration
We love speakers who inspire our participants with their real-world experiences. Be bold, teach us something new, make us think, make us smile, but most of all, be yourself.
Participants like a new way of exploring familiar challenges - practical, inspiring sessions that our participants can learn from and engage with.
Topics of interest
Our audience value practical sessions and case studies, peppered with inspiration and thought-leadership that really gets the brain matter working. While many participants are experienced service designers and senior leaders looking to push forward their practice, we also have early-career professionals and people from adjacent disciplines keen to learn the basics. All are after practical skills and techniques they can apply in their day-to-day work transforming public services.
Design & service leadership
How to get the seat at the table, and what to do with it once you’ve got it. Think leadership, psychological safety, building teams, design and research ops. Think budgets, business cases, governance, org design, operating models. How do we create the conditions necessary for design to have impact? What does user-centred governance look like? How do we move from managing outputs, costs and deadlines, to managing quality, flow and value? How do we work with the invisible ‘dark matter’ of power and decision-making - whether to reform it, or to get good work done in spite of it? Practical case studies, hands-on workshops and tutorials, and inspiring thought leadership all needed.
Practical case studies on using design methods as part of policy making, and how to bring policy and delivery closer together. We’ve had quite a lot on the theory, so this year we’re keen to have more case studies from people who are putting this into practice; hands-on workshops teaching methods and frameworks that people can put into action; and case studies and tutorials on using participatory design to shift the power-dynamics of policy making and the role of the public in that process. Bonus points for speakers from the policy side of the house.
Data, Big Data, AI, Machine Learning
Are these the new materials of service design - if so what skills and knowledge do we need to develop to help public institutions apply them to best effect? How can we work better with data - to make the case for change and to embed a culture of continuous service improvement? What is our role in the ‘back end’ of data platforms, and how might we (re)imagine new services and service models based on data-driven insights into citizens and their needs? Where can Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning transform experiences? And how do we navigate the ethical minefield involved in all this? Or is ChatGP just going to make all of us redundant? Bonus points for speakers from the data and technology side of the house.
Beginners guides and workshops
Yes, many of our participants are seasoned service designers, but many are also just starting out on their journey. We welcome sessions that are unashamedly about teaching core techniques of user-centred design. And our seasoned-pros always love a session that gives them a new technique or framework to try out in their work.
Types of sessions
We're happy for you to present a session about your experiences or something you've done, but we encourage interactive sessions that generate conversation with the audience, group discussion or practical sessions.
A presentation and discussion of real-life experiences of the application (or mis-application) of relevant techniques. Case studies include some discussion of lessons learned and an indication of how new the work is.
A presentation and discussion of a specific topic or issue. Talks should include sharing of real-life examples and experiences.
A 'hands-on' working session focused around a specific topic, tool, technique or issue. Led by the speaker, workshops usually include interactivity or individual/group exercises. Tell us if you need to cap numbers.
A more informal session - like ‘goldfish bowl’, ’fireside chat’, ‘lean coffee’ or something else that allows the participants to bring thoughts, ideas, questions and problems on a topic. Be sure to indicate which type of discussion you propose when submitting and if you need to cap numbers.
SDinGov is a practical public sector service design conference that allows participants to connect and learn from their peers and leaders in the industry. Participants will include Government employees, consultants and design agencies.
The event is aimed primarily at professionals who either manage, design or develop public services including within:
- central & local government
- the 3rd sector, Arts
- Education sector services
- Health sector services
- Emergency sector services
- civic technologies
We also welcome participants who want to learn from the public sector and apply those learnings in a different setting.
Our review process
Our review process takes approximately 2 to 4 weeks. After the deadline closes, our selection panel will review all submissions. These submissions will be anonymised.
We’ll contact you and let you know, even if you’re not successful this time.
To help us ensure personally identifying information is not included in the process, do not include this information in your session descriptions. These include links to blogs or recordings.
If you’re a new speaker and would like an extension and/or mentorship, contact us as soon as possible.
We want to hear your story - the first step is to submit it.
Inclusivity & diversity
We aim to be inclusive and diverse - in terms of our speakers and our participants.
We’re committed to creating a safe space for everyone to share ideas, try something new, get feedback, and engage with a knowledgeable, open-minded audience. We want to ensure participants can connect, network and learn from their industry peers in a positive environment.
We provide a safe and fun place to share ideas and try something new. Our 'Code of conduct' describes expected behaviour.
Our review process is anonymous - to ensure selection based on merit and not how well a speaker is known. This is an opportunity for both experienced and first-time speakers to share experiences of the practical application of agile and lean techniques.
If you’re still in the early stages of your speaking career and would like some help, contact us as soon as possible to discuss options for how we can support you.
Free speaker tickets
We offer a free ticket for every session selected to be on our conference programme. However, as we have to cover speaker costs with the income from tickets - we allocate these tickets in relation to session duration:
- For a 45 minute session, only the first named speaker pays no conference fees. Additional speakers must purchase a special low-cost ticket.
- For a 60 minute session, only the first two named speakers pay no conference fees. Additional speakers must purchase a special low-cost ticket.
- For 90+ minute sessions, only the first three named speakers will pay no conference fees. Additional speakers must purchase a special low-cost ticket.
Included in your ticket are:
- participation in the full event programme
- refreshments at scheduled breaks throughout the day
- free Wi-Fi at the conference venue
For more details or if you have any questions, contact us.
We aim to cover all speaker travel and accommodation expenses, if requested and in line with our ‘Speaker reimbursement policy’.
Part of the decision on whether to accept a session or not involves considering its financial costs. On your session proposal, tell us what financial support you’d need. This could be how many nights’ accommodation you’d need, and how far you’d be travelling to the event.
If your session is accepted, we’ll suggest a financial amount to you, based on our understanding of your costs to come to the event.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept requests for additional financial support after you’ve agreed to that amount. And we cannot pay expenses that we have not agreed to pay in advance of the event.
If you’re travelling from outside the UK, think about any visa requirements for your visit to the UK - you can find useful information at GOV.UK.
We provide standard supplies for sessions - like sticky notes, markers, pens and paper. We’ll cover costs or supply directly any additional materials you require to conduct your session - such as printing. Just let us know when submitting your session.
We need to hold information you provide on computer databases for administrative purposes. Summary information, which could include contact data, will be published for all session leaders.
Information about participants will be made available to organisations involved in administering, organising or supporting the event - this may include organisations outside the European Community.
The organisers are not responsible for the views or opinions expressed by speakers, sponsors or other participants.
Inclusion of a session in the programme will be at the sole discretion of the conference organisers. By agreeing to have your session included in the programme, you agree to participate in the conference and in all pre-conference quality control activities as deemed necessary by the conference organisers.
You also agree to promote your session and involvement in the build-up to the event. We’ll provide a range of assets to support any promotional efforts.
The organisers reserve the right to remove a session from the programme at any time. Speakers will no longer be eligible for free entry to the conference and so will have to pay the current non-speaker rate if they wish to participate in the conference.
The organisers will not be responsible for payment of any kind on behalf of the speaker in this event.
Ask us if you have any queries. We can also advise you about how best to get to the event and where you can stay.
Submit your session
We're accepting session proposals via WeReview, a submission and review platform which is currently in public beta.
Head to WeReview to submit your session(s) now!
Need some help?
Read our tips for submitting a proposal.