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The CivTech® pilot workshop system

The workshop system is designed to drive everyone’s understanding of what it takes to run a truly great business with public sector clients, covering both tech and business development areas. 

As we expect to be dealing with businesses at different stages – from pre-starts through to experienced SMES – we’re going to develop a culture of intelligent engagement in which we’ll encourage the complete ‘beginners’ to attend everything, and trust the more experienced to come to the ones they can benefit from. The vast majority of the workshops are half a day or less - and many of these are two hours or under. This means they can often be scheduled early in the day or into the evening, leaving a full day for tech and business development work.

The system has been designed so that pre-starts and start-ups can build their knowledge as fast and effectively as possible, but also so established businesses can use it both as a 'booster' system, and a way to build deeper understanding of how to work with public sector organisations. It's scheduled so that it creates a coherent and understandable narrative for the participants, and - being agile itself - the CivTech® pilot will adjust the workshop system in realtime to reflect the state of knowledge in the overall cohort.

Expectation of involvement - is it full time?

Some people have asked whether it’s mandatory to be at the accelerator full time. We've considered this and the answer is it’s not Monday to Friday 9-5. We do however expect a significant physical presence at the accelerator from each business on it, but we’re flexible and know that this can translate differently for different companies - particularly those outwith Edinburgh. This is something we can discuss as companies move through the stages. 

The benefits will be huge. Every week there’ll be people coming in to make connections with: mentors, public sector organisations, funders, investors and major tech players. You’ll be sharing the space with other extremely talented businesses with skills, knowledge and experience that are different to your own, and because no-one’s competing with each other, willing to share things in a collaborative manner. Plus three months of building a real relationship with your own Challenge Sponsor – so that come demo day you may well have your first/next major contract in the bag.

And in particular, we want to test the cross-pollination of innovation between 6 talented companies. What might be the ‘collider-effect’ when those working on the air quality/ flood warning develop solutions in close proximity with those working on the A9 challenges? The whole point of this pilot is to create the environment for talented businesses to come up with solutions – and what if as a result something unthought of does come out of it? New products might be created and other opportunities to deliver better public services will have emerged from it.

You get what you put in: a significant presence offers significant new networks, leads, knowledge, insight and contract opportunities.


Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring and coaching run alongside workshops. A range of people will be coming in to share their knowledge and experience: the CivTech® pilot team will be around continually, and every week there’ll be business and tech people alongside professional advisors. Again, the huge emphasis will be on people who have been there, done it, and continue to do so.


Keeping it focused

There’s a difference between giving people everything they need to know in short, sharp focused sessions, and creating a bloated programme that insists on whole day sessions because that’s what professional trainers insist on [usually because they want to justify the fee]. CivTech® pilot's approach is to say to its workshop leaders – who won’t be professional trainers but the people who’ve been there and done it – the sessions should cover everything that’s important in the most effective, punchy, interesting and time-efficient way possible. So if everything gets done in two hours, that’s fine. But if they need a day, that’s fine too.

The vast majority of the workshops are half a day or less – and many of these are two hours or under. This means they can often be scheduled early in the day or into the evening, which still leaves a full day for tech and business development work. And this means the workshop system doesn’t have to get in the way of business for the determined participant.

There’s another angle on getting on with business: we’re stacking as many of the workshops early in the accelerator as possible. Getting the basics done and bringing in key themes such as user-centric design as soon as possible means that the important things are well embedded early and can impact on the work at hand as much as possible. This approach also leaves the second half of the programme as free as possible for companies to do the hard graft - coding and business developing, building the mvp, and securing that vital first contract.


Demo Day


The Programme

This is the current workshop programme. Remember we'll be seeking to continually improve it, and adjust it according to the teams on the Accelerator - so make sure to keep up-to-date! All workshops will be delivered by industry insiders who have relevant and recent experience.

 See the full programme agenda here...

This is subject to change depending on the type of applicants and proposed solutions.

Workshop programme

duration [hours]




Team profiling

Online assessment and report of each person’s team profile and optimum positioning.


Entrepreneurial profiling

Online assessment and report of each team member’s entrepreneurial profile.


Week 1



Introduction to the CivTech® Accelerator: orientation

Orientation for the programme; introductions; the programme explained; facilities and space; practicalities; accelerator expectations; ethos and culture; collaboration and networking; Shape of a Business; introduction to the grids


Presentation 'Pecha Kucha'

Informal but focused presentation session. Pecha Kucha type format means it's short, sharp and swift


Design Thinking 1: making service design and user research central to your business and product

How great design thinking drives great products and businesses; service design principles, basics; user research; the Scottish approach to government; input and control from users

1 day

Building your product 1: Agile methodology

Agile methodology is the cornerstone of speedy and effective product development: the workshop will ensure everyone has a common understanding, and an appreciation of how it affects the product they're developing

1 day

Digital strategy and planning

Overall approach to thinking about building and growing a digital business


Business Planning

Business planning basics; the role of the business plan; the business plan explained; done by company who have scaled up eg Skyscanner


PizzaTech Evening



Week 2



Data Analysis basics

How to gather and utilize data: including data for digital marketing


The Public Sector landscape

Briefing workshop in regard to how government and the public sector works, focusing on culture, rules, regulations and new initiatives, including the Scottish approach to procurement


Continuous delivery

How you organise the technical delivery of your product so that you can release early and often, to gain immediate feedback from real users


Law - introduction, IP

Basic on company law; focus on IP, IP protection and exploitation


Building your product 2: Digital First Standards

Scottish Government standards for digital product; vital in regard to procurement and delivery; relationship to brand


Cyber security 1: the public requirement and the hacker perspective

The public sector [government] approach to cyber security; followed by the perspective from the other side of the fence: what you can learn from ethical hackers


PizzaTech Evening



Week 3



Mission, Vision, Values

The importance of Mission, Vision and Values; impact on business performance; examples


Sales and marketing 1: public sector focus

Sales and marketing basics with a domestic [Scotland and UK] public sector focus; public sector sales and marketing is different to a B2C product. For example, Scotland has just 32 councils - fewer, bigger clients.


Growth Hacking 1: technology driven growth

Building users at low cost by means of technological integration; low-cost alternatives to traditional marketing eg social media and viral marketing

1 day

The technology routemap from pre-start to high growth

How to plot a technology adoption strategy taking into account company development from start-up to scale


PizzaTech Evening



Week 4




Basics; what is a brand; principles of brand development; brand as a genuine reflection of what the business is, does and believes; branding for the company; branding for the product; exemplars; relationship with Digital First Standards and white labelling; exemplars


Design Thinking 2: one-on-three mini workshops

Deeper investigation of design thinking focused on individual businesses on the accelerator, aided by other participants and workshop leader


Growth Hacking 2: reputation management

Ensuring that your brand and personal reputation are as effective as possible


PizzaTech Evening



Week 5



Checkgate 1: progress review

Single team sessions; CivTech® team / Challenge Sponsors and others assess teams' progress against agreed targets; business plan reviewed; achievements and catch-ups noted; forward plan adjusted, agreed; linked to finance payments.


Building your team

The HR routemap from pre-start to high growth; good team culture;  becoming an employer brand


Understanding your accounts 1: basics

Focused on financial management for non-financial managers; finance and accounting basics; P&L; balance sheet; cash flow



Leadership principles; difference between leadership and management [Vision, Mission]; leadership throughout the business concept; Level 5 leadership


PizzaTech Evening



Week 6



Investment readiness 1: what investors really want

Investment from an investor's point-of-view; what they want and how they think; the terminology and language used; good and bad approaches


Pitching for investment 1: presentation skills

Focused on presentation as performance; presentation basics; slidedecks; understanding the mindsets; performance techniques;

1 day

PizzaTech Evening



Week 7



Understanding your accounts 2: one-on-three mini workshops

Follow up session focused on practical matters, team by team


Investment readiness 2 - anatomy of a term sheet

Often the first time a company sees a Term Sheet is the point of signing on their first investment round. Not good. This workshop solves the problem, and introduces teams to what Term Sheets are, and what they should look out for


PizzaTech Evening



Week 8



Investment readiness 3: the share capital journey

Scaling companies may have multiple rounds of funding - it's important to know what it looks like; extra-normal funding; effects of various types of funding on the shareholder journey; investment from larger companies - implications


Access to finance [SIB]

What SIB can do to help finance; co-investment funds


The Grids

The Grids - a key tool in business planning and development; proposition, USPs, competition etc; defining product possibilities; defining revenues streams


PizzaTech Evening



Week 9



Branding 2: one-on-three mini workshops

A review workshop of the brand development work


Investor mentor sessions

Sandy Finlayson's angel networks


PizzaTech Evening



Week 10



'Checkgate 2: progress review

Single team sessions; CivTech team / Challenge Sponsors and others assess teams' progress against agreed targets; business plan reviewed; achievements and catch-ups noted; forward plan adjusted, agreed; linked to finance payments.


Pitching for investment 2: presentation development day

Development day for pitches; multiple rehearsals; mentoring

1 day

Sales and marketing 2: international public sector export

Sales and marketing for international markets: [1] public sector expertise / perspective and [2] selling to the public sector expertise in the room, appropriate to each company's target sector


PizzaTech Evening



Week 11



Contingency Workshop 1

If other things come up...


Presentation rehearsals [as needed]



PizzaTech Evening



Week 12



Contingency Workshop 2



PizzaTech Evening



Week 13



Contingency Workshop 3



PizzaTech Evening



Week 14



Contingency Workshop 4



PizzaTech Evening



Week 15



Presentation Day

Day to be arranged as early as possible to ensure as many public sector organisations, investors, mentors, press etc will be there




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