Develop your creative practice, business, or cultural organisation by harnessing the power of your data to develop insights and inform decisions, and maximise your creative service, product, or experiences for audiences.

Wednesday 23 September–Wednesday 11 November 2020
Caroline Parkinson, Sector Engagement Manager, Creative Industries, Edinburgh Futures Institute
Prof Chris Speed, Chair, Design Informatics, Bayes Centre/ECA
Shannon Vallor, Chair, Data Ethics, Edinburgh Futures Institute
Adam Carter, Programme Manager, Edinburgh Parallel Computer Centre
Ewelina Lacka, Lecturer in Digital Marketing and Analytics, University of Edinburgh Business School
Ian Gordon, Director of Impact Enhancement/Dissertation Advisor, University of Edinburgh Business School
Sam Rhynas and Jo Watts, Directors, Effini


This 6-week programme will provide 1.5 hours of weekly subject input from data experts, supported by online resources and case studies from creative companies. Each week a correlated question will be posed for you to explore in your own organisation.

This course is designed to:

  • Build your data knowledge
  • Develop confidence in handling your own data
  • Create a self-directed action plan supported through the course

You can test your thoughts and emerging plans through engagement with your peer group and live Q&A with tutors, as well as learning from creative industry case studies. This is a guided process to allow you to confidently explore alone or with your teams the observations you have made, and move towards an agreed action plan you can implement at a specific time to suit your creative organisation.

Is This Course For You?

This is a non-credit-bearing course for company leaders, including those leading their own business as a sole trader, and for heads of department within cultural or creative organisations.

What You'll Learn

  • How to recognise the different types of data in a creative business and the range of creative technology that uses or generates data.
  • How well the data you collect aligns to your business objectives and supports their achievement.
  • How to identify and address any data strategy gaps, and the skills and/or design development that may be required.
  • How to manage data, processes and protocols, design interactions with other data sets, and data protection, ethics and governance.
  • How to understand who's who in data; exploring the various roles, demystifying functions, responsibilities, titles, skill sets.
  • How to move from spreadsheets to dashboards and use data visualisations as a tool for decision making, and how to layer other data sources for greater insights.
  • How to find out what else lies ahead in data driven innovation.
  • How to use other resources, support, learning and research/innovation collaboration.

About the Course


6 weeks with post-course follow-up

Wednesdays: 15:30–17:00 (online delivery)


  • 1.5 hours input per week
  • Exploring data questions in your workplace, approximately 1 to 2 hours per week


The course will take place online. It will be delivered through live sessions and some self-directed learning.


Week Date Description
Pre-course questionnaire
Week 1 Wednesday 23 September
  • Data in the creative industries
  • What is the potential of data?
  • Where are you with your data?
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning question
Week 2 Wednesday 30 September
  • Examining business objectives and collected data are in alignment
  • Gap analysis
  • External sources of data
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning question and creative task with video instruction
Week 3 Wednesday 7 October
  • Making good data visualisations
  • Data metrics and visualisations as decision-making tools
  • From spreadsheets to dashboards with demo
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning task
Break Wednesday 14 to 21 October No sessions
Week 4 Wednesday 28 October
  • Managing data: processes, protocols, ethics, security, storage, data flow and design
  • Data ethics
  • Self-directed learning task
Week 5 Wednesday 4 November
  • Leading digital/data transformation
  • Planning for change
  • Case study
  • Self-directed learning task
Week 6 Wednesday 11 November
  • Action plan development and sharing (voluntary)
  • What's next in data-driven innovation for creative innovation?
  • Signposting to further support
Week 10 post-course follow-up with Facilitator, Caroline Parkinson, to support any queries, concerns, signposting to further learning, or research innovation funding

Case study interviews by Jessica Armstrong:

  • Brendan Miles, The List Magazine
  • Michelle Waddell and Rob Innes, Wyoming Interactive
  • Angus MacFadyen and Will Cavendish, Pufferfish
  • Varun Nair, Two Big Ears


Participant Price
Sole Traders/Freelancers £200
Companies with 2–50 individuals £250
Companies with over 50 individuals £500

This course is run by the Edinburgh Futures Institute in association with the University of Edinburgh Business School and Design Informatics, with industry contributions from Effini.


Please make sure to register before Friday 18 September at 16:00 to ensure that you will be able to join the course.