Leading in a Digital World

Lee Dunn, Head of the Scottish Digital Academy


Scottish public and third sector leaders have a commitment to deliver on Scotland’s National Performance Framework and digital is a key enabler in driving the realisation of these outcomes.

The Digital Champions programme, now titled Leading in a Digital World, is designed to support leaders in championing and driving transformation in their own organisations and across the wider public sector. Our flagship programme aims to build confidence to lead in an increasingly digital world and to take full advance of digital technologies that improve services for the people of Scotland. Since its inception in 2013, the programme has been delivered through varying degrees of partnership and more than 300 public sector leaders have now completed it.

Living, working and leading in a digital world can be complex.  We must be able to quickly adapt and change as a result of influences often out with our control.  We are building on Digital Champions by developing new content commensurate with the needs of senior leaders. Last year, the Scottish Digital Academy procured the services of TPX Impact (previously FutureGov) to undertake user research and to design and deliver the next iteration of the programme.

Through this research, we explored:

  • Digital leadership: what is it?
  • Needs, gaps and motivations
  • Digital transformation and status
  • Digital challenges
  • Network membership and needs
  • Preferred approach to learning
  • Programme expectations
  • Programme content

We discovered that senior leaders require a holistic awareness of the digital landscape and that interactions, behaviours and culture is really important. Supporting innovation and developing confidence is central to exploring the art of the possible. Other common traits are flexibility, dealing with uncertainty, risk mitigation, future thinking and data. To this end, our new 2022 programme will have a greater focus on people; the values, behaviours, culture and systems required to embed digital. There will be a focus on digital skills as well as capturing the broader benefits of implementing technology.

Applications will be invited from 17 January 2022 and recruitment onto the programme will remain free.

The high level programme content will include:

  • Public sector transformation
  • Service design, agile and innovation
  • Digital culture
  • Shaping the environment
  • Investing in a digital culture
  • System leadership in a complex environment

For more information regarding the programme and application process, contact digitalacademy@gov.scot or follow us on Twitter @ScotGovSDA for updates.

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