Design Engineering
Showcase 2020

Coutts & Co

Private Banking Services, Banking and Lending
Dr Hamed Haddadi
Design Intern

The placement experience at Coutts has notably excelled my professional development in engineering know-how, design thinking and business-related experience as well as my interpersonal skills, whilst creating positive impacts on the company.

At the start of my internship, my expectations were to have exposure to a cooperate environment and banking systems, learning, and seeing how my knowledge could be utilised to solve real-life problems. This internship is also my first experience working in a professional working environment where I wanted to develop my interpersonal skills, through being an active team-player, dependable and self-starter, which I believe I have accomplished.

 — Coutts & Co

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

As a Design Engineer, I am able to utilise my skills in Design, Engineering and Enterprise to not only offer innovative solutions that better understand client’s need but also have the ability to implement engineering knowledge to make and launch tangible product as well. A Design Engineer also has knowledge in human/user centred design and research, methods for structured ideation as well as several validation approaches. As a result, this adds value to the product and creating products which users love as they better serve the clients’ needs.

During my placement, I had a chance to be involved with several multi-disciplinary projects and have produced work that could be implemented into the business in forthcoming years, including an example of the Climate Portal, a website consisting of several features such as the EPC calculator and eco-saving tips to help incentivise clients to improve the carbon efficiency of their properties. I have learnt how to use Adobe XD, CSS coding to build up a website, run 6 weekly Design Thinking workshops to several members of the bank and lead several ideation sessions.

Role and Contributions

During my five months placement, I had a chance to be involved in seven multi-disciplinary projects as illustrated in the timeline in Figure 1, assisting the company in improving some of its banking systems saving time and reducing effort for the business as well as helping to enhance the customer experience in some bank processes, which can lead to increase sales well into the future.

 — Coutts & Co
Project timeline during my time at Coutts.

I would now like to talk about one of the projects I am particularly proud of: The Future Clearing Model (FCM) Project. My involvement with this project was to improve the quality and efficiency of the current cheque clearing process as it was found that there were several labour-intensive sub-processes. I am particularly proud with my contribution to this project, as it required a high level of knowledge in automation capabilities and lateral thinking to solve these complex problems. I was able to suggest both quick wins solutions and longer-term solutions that the bank could be looking to implement over the course of the years. This will undoubtedly help save both time and effort required from the employee as well as being able to enhance the quality and precision of cheque clearing when automation is introduced.

I started off with background research and Competitor Analysis on Future Clearing Model to better understand how other competitor banks are improving their cheque clearing process. I have also carried out interviews and shadowed three stakeholders to identify the underlying pain points and any opportunity areas for improvements. High-level process map of the cheque clearing process shown in Figure 6 was also created to illustrate the wider journey and where the pain points arise in context. After that, ideation sessions were carried out to identify potential solutions. Throughout the project, I was given full autonomy to plan for project deliverables and timeline. Due to this, I have worked closely with my product owner to negotiate plans and project deliverables to ensure that both quality and quantity are of expected.

At the end of the sprint, I was able to deliver high-quality presentations on the potential solutions that the company could implement to improve the quality and efficiency of the current cheque clearing process, gathering positive feedback from the stakeholders.

Another great opportunity that I and the other five interns were given was a chance to lead six weekly one-hour Design Thinking workshops for employees across the bank. Our main objective for the workshop is for the attendees to gain a better understanding of Design Thinking practices, why they are important, how these practices could be applied to their real-life projects and the chance to experience ideation first hand. As a result, these employees will be able to generate solutions to problems or creating product/systems that is more human-centred enhancing user experience with their products and systems.

 — Coutts & Co
A brief summary of the Design Thinking workshop task.


My time at Coutts has proven that I could produce high quality project deliverables under pressure within an unfamiliar environment, projects, and teams. This has greatly boosted my confidence that I can work effectively and efficiently within several multi-disciplinary projects and teams. I have also grasped the importance of communication across varies parties within a project and respecting each team members’ opinions to maintain strong relationships, significantly boosting my confidence going into employment in my future career.


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