Data and Design for Civic Leaders in Košice, Slovakia

We’ve been working  with Creative Industry Košice (CIKES) to train civic leaders in a unique blend of design thinking and data skills.

Košice is a city with a growing digital sector (largely built around providing outsourced development services for western companies) alongside a strong creative sector focusing on local, regional and national issues. There was a need to link the two sectors together so that technology can find applications locally that enhance the city, and so that developers can improve local resilience in the light of likely future developments around AI and machine learning. CIKES (Creative Industry Košice) engaged us to help build a training programme with representatives of different sectors to train these individuals in data science, data management, and design thinking with data.

We combined data science and design thinking methodologies and condensed them into a five-day course that required no specific expertise on the part of the participants.

The workshops encouraged participants to bring existing challenges and content for peer review and issue resolution. During the 5 days, we used various methods to plan and execute research, develop prototypes and plan pilots; at every stage we used the emerging projects to support participants’ learning around combined data and design methods.

A vital aspect of this work came towards the end of the week as we considered the various stakeholders who might be critical to the success of the projects participants were working on. We explored how we might use a mixture of storytelling with data and understanding the motivations of those stakeholders to encourage them to be involved in the development of the projects.

Our collaborators in Košice made this great video about how the week went and the key issues.

The workshop changed my perspective. The nature of my work often forces me to look for only the easiest way of solving problems and not to wonder if the solution is the best.


The workshop was perfectly designed – only the most important theoretical issues, good tips and practical exercises. I really liked the content. I liked the training without computer, working with head, hands and heart.


Header photo © Maja Bodnárová