About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Data Dialogues' participatory futures projects announced

Nesta has had a long-standing interest in how data can transform the way citizens interact with public services: our EU-funded project DECODE (Decentralised Citizen Owned Data Ecosystem) provides tools that put individuals in control of whether they keep their personal data private or share it for the public good; our Centre for Collective Intelligence Design is exploring how human and machine intelligence can be combined to develop innovative solutions to social challenges; and the Healthier Lives Data Fund is showcasing the potential of a new generation of data-driven, people-facing digital technologies.

Alongside this we have developed a body of work exploring new ways of engaging and involving citizens in decisions about the future - from our work on digital democracy and involving more people in innovation, to our recent research into participatory futures.

Continuing this thread, Nesta, in partnership with the Scottish Government, launched the Data Dialogues programme at the end of last year with a call for suppliers to engage with a diverse range of Scottish citizens to:

  1. better understand their views, opinions and ideas for the use and sharing of health and social care data, now and in the future,
  2. explore and codesign possible futures for the use of health and social care data to benefit all,
  3. test and evaluate innovative methods of engaging and involving the public.

We are excited to announce the five successful projects. Using a range of participatory futures methods - including immersive theatre, online social games, speculative designs and pop up installations - the partners will be engaging with diverse groups from different places, ages, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, as well as people with different experiences of health and using care services.

If you would like to get involved in any of the projects below, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in contact with Sinead Mac Manus, Senior Programme Manager, Health Lab.

Doteveryone is the responsible technology think tank.

Building on their previous work on the opportunities and challenges of technology in social care (Better Care Systems), Doteveryone will focus on how data shapes how social care services are designed and delivered in the future.

In creative and accessible workshops in Glasgow and Aberdeen, they will facilitate groups of people who experience care to talk about what’s happening now, before imagining and designing a better care future, including designing new ways to work with social care data. After the workshops, the team will turn the ideas into speculative designs and use those to support a creative, accessible debate about care data in location across Scotland.

fanSHEN make unforgettable creative interventions which are participatory, playful and political. Describing themselves as a recovering theatre company, they now design and create audience-centric experiences which involve elements of performance, game and installation.

fanSHEN are co-designing an immersive experience, played on individual iPads in a group setting, allowing participants to get closer to real-world, data-sharing scenarios. The immersive experience will be played by groups of young people and those over 60 in a range of community and cultural settings in Aberdeen and Dundee.

Shift is an award-winning charity that designs products and builds social ventures to help solve social problems.

Shift will work with their partner in Scotland, Dartington Service Design Lab, to recruit young people for co-design workshops to create an online social game which will lead players through different scenarios and choices around future data sharing scenarios.

The online game will be deployed across Scotland via social networks, schools and organisations working with young people, for individual and facilitated play.

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) is the national third sector intermediary for a range of health and social care organisations. They have over 2,900 members including large, national support providers as well as small, local volunteer-led groups and people who are disabled, living with long term conditions or providing unpaid care.

The ALLIANCE is partnering with the Digital Health and Care Institute to run six futures workshops across Scotland with diverse and seldom heard groups exploring trust and value in using data that sits outside of clinical care e.g. citizen-generated data, statutory data etc.

They will take the insights from these workshops to a wider audience across Scotland via an interactive online survey linked to co-produced explainer video and podcast.

The Liminal Space uses art and design to create unique experiences that transform what people think, feel and do, and they help organisations translate complex topics into tangible forms for public engagement.

They will design, develop and host a pop up installation, based on the idea of a pharmacy of the future, that will reside in a busy shopping mall in Glasgow for 10 days to spark conversations with the public about future uses of health and care data.

Part of
Data Dialogues


Sinead Mac Manus

Sinead Mac Manus

Sinead Mac Manus

Senior Programme Manager, Digital Health

Sinead was a Senior Programme Manager for Digital Health in the Health Lab.

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