Design Engineering
Showcase 2020

Coutts & Co

Hannah Imrie
Banking & Lending
Dr Connor Myant
Design Engineering Intern

Coutts is a UK based private bank that caters to high-net-worth-individuals with links to the UK. It has gained a world-renowned reputation for its exceptional service and personal approach to private banking and wealth management.

I applied to Coutts to gain a better understanding of how design engineering fits into a larger corporate company and expand my experience on realising design concepts within complex and highly regulated industries. Throughout my placement, I have worked on a wide range of projects including testing new digital investment applications, running design thinking workshops and redesigning the onboarding client journey experience.

 — Coutts & Co

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking

I have really enjoyed my time at Coutts and I’ve had the chance to work with many different departments, which has helped me develop a wide variety of skills throughout my placement.

I developed my knowledge of commercial automation technologies and best practises through discussions with members of the RPA team. I also completed a foundation BA course on the software UiPath to develop my understanding of the capabilities of this technology further. This helped me identify and provide better tailored and more complex solutions.

Throughout my placement, I had the opportunity to interview and shadow a wide variety of process users, which has allowed me to develop my user research techniques and learn how best to adapt my interview techniques to each user type. Coutts’ clients are very different from most I have designed for and so it has been really interesting to get into their headspace and figure out how best to meet their unique needs.

I have developed my system design skills immensely during this time, analysing real processes that have been in place for a long time has helped me to understand and appreciate how processes and systems can evolve and grow over time. This is something that I will take with me when I propose process solutions in the future, to ensure my designs are forward-thinking and can adapt easily to future needs.

Role and Contributions

During the first month of my internship, I worked in the innovation department with two other interns looking at potential features for a digital investment app. We created and ran a proof of concept trial that resulted in the application we were testing been rejected as unsuitable. Using rapid prototyping we created 6 low fidelity and 3 higher fidelity wireframe prototypes, which were used to aid in the visualisation of alternate concepts for user testing and passed on for further development.

After this, I worked on two solo projects in operations. I lead Project Affluent with the ‘I want to join the bank’ team to improve the referral and prospecting journey for clients coming to Coutts from NatWest Premier. Through user research, stakeholder interviews and system analysis, I mapped a system diagram for the process and created a prioritised list of recommendations for a more efficient and improved client journey.

My second project was to identify and help implement, process and client journey improvements for the Commercial Onboarding process. One of my solutions was to design and create a series of HTML templates for the onboarding team, which elevated the client journey experience, reduced complexity, and improved comprehension. It will also reduce the FTE time spent answering client questions by over 20%, which will save effort and reduce overall end-to-end time.

I along with the other interns ran a series of design thinking workshops to encourage the use of design thinking practises within Coutts. I also ran a personalised extended ideation session for a few teams within operations that focused on finding the best ideation methods to work with their teams. This was highly successful in spreading design thinking practises as many attendees emailed after to find out how they could bring these methods to their wider team.


At Coutts, I’ve had the chance to work with many different teams and disciplines across the bank to make real change happen and as a design thinking expert, I’ve lead meetings and workshops educating colleagues on design thinking practices and methods. If you want to experience being a design engineer in a big corporate environment or are interested in system or UX/UI design this would be a great choice.


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