Imagining the future

What's next for Scotland's social services? An animated exploration.
By Iriss
Published in Online learning materials on 17 Jan 2014

What might social services look like in 2025?

Imagining the future

Note: A subsequent development of Imagining the Future saw the creation in November 2014 of a Imagining the Future scenario planning tool in which we explore four different worlds that might emerge depending on the interplay of social, political and economic factors.

This Imagining the Future what's next for scotland's social services animation explores the technical, medical and cultural forces that will shape the future of care. Alex Chisholm is a man in his in his 70s with multiple conditions, poor diet and high alcohol consumption. We use episodes in his life to explore what care might look like in ten or fifteen years. We suggest that by 2025 there may be greater opportunities to offer older people richer, less isolated lives in which they are able to exercise more choice and control.

It is based on a series of workshops Iriss ran in 2013 to produce three 'think pieces' or reports, on citizenship, the workforce and technology.

As the animation progresses, you are invited to follow links to relevant sections of the three reports, as well as external sources, for more information and discussion.

Background to the Alex Chisholm animation

We began by identifying three key themes from each report.


  • active, equal citizens determining own future on a human rights and relationship basis
  • not just professional solutions - innovation in the way we use resources
  • principled leadership - national, local, community


  • person-centred - supporting people to achieve their personal outcomes
  • new ways of working - strengths-based approaches
  • greater integrated working across health, social care, housing, education

Enabling technology

  • internet of things and quantified self. The quantified self is driven by the inexorable rise in smart technology. Importance of data literacy
  • universal broadband
  • networked communication and mobile health and social care

We then devised a character based on some of the vignettes from the Enabling Technology Think Piece.

Alex's story is intended provide an alternative way to explore and think about the ideas and predictions described the reports.

The Think Pieces in full