Design Engineering
Showcase 2020

Coutts & Co

Change Management
Dr Hamed Haddadi
Design Engineer

Coutts, is the private banking arm of the NatWest Group, offering Private and Commercial Banking alongside Wealth Management services. Coutts is the eighth oldest bank in the world and needs Design Engineers to help pull it into the 21st century by implementing change within banking products and systems.

Personal expectations included learning new technologies, using analytical and empathy skills and improving banking systems. These expectations were all met, with major achievements including learning automation software, presenting UX/UI work to the CEO, and creating detailed optimisation plans for banking systems.

 — Coutts & Co

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

During the placement 5 major design engineering skills were developed:

Research/ training – Due to the high levels of regulation in the financial sector researching standards and completing training courses has been vital to ensure the viability of new products. Also understanding existing solutions has been useful in providing direction for primary research.

System analysis – Using data analysis and interviews to map a process that had never been mapped before, allowed improvements for both colleagues and clients to be implemented. On top of this highlighting 6 specific processes which could be automated and developing in-depth plans including example code helped show colleagues what is possible with new technology.

Communication – To effectively communicate with colleagues, significant knowledge was gained around terminology and the products Coutts offer and the banking industry. Also, presenting to different stakeholders within the bank, including other team members, managers and the CEO, has offered fantastic exposure and greatly developed communication skills.

New technology – Developing new knowledge of automation software UiPath, allowed an understanding of what would be possible to achieve when automating systems. Also being given exposure to UI design within the design team, allowed skills to be developed in Adobe XD, which was then implemented to make prototypes of different concept features.

UX/UI design – Working on new investment products user feedback data from interviews and surveys was used to suggest changes for features and develop new concepts. Concepts were then developed through sketching user journey’s and using Adobe XD to develop prototypes.

Role and Contributions

As a Design Engineer at Coutts there was the opportunity to work on seven different projects across the Innovation, Design, and Operations teams.

Major contributions in the innovation team:

  • A proof of concept for a new ESG (Environmental Social Governance) engagement feature, that consisted of surveying clients and analysing data. Resulting in rejecting the feature but taking forward one element, transparency, for further testing.
  • A promotional video that summarise a new pension product. The video was sent to time poor Coutts executives and resulted in the approval of the concept.

Major contributions in the Design team:

  • Compiling insights from interviews and generating concept journeys helped to understand how comfortable clients felt with investing, while using the different features. The best features were then taken forward in the hope that they would increase the number of clients investing.

Major contributions in the Operations team:

  • Analysing 14 different asset transfer processes, identifying areas for automation.
  • Mapping out the drawdowns process to solve pain points for colleagues and clients.
  • Solving discrepancies highlighted between commercial and private processes, by implementing changes to information requests and reducing paperwork for clients, improving the experience Coutts offers.

Major contributions in the Change team:

  • Delivering a design thinking workshop to an audience with a range of experience. The workshop received a feedback score of 9.5/10 over 7 sessions and resulted in upskilling and inspiring staff.
 — Coutts & Co


Overall, the placement at Coutts was a fantastic introduction to a corporate environment, even over the internet! Coutts went the extra mile to provide opportunities in projects where interns interests lie and were never afraid to put them on real life projects. Coutts trust interns to implement significant changes to banking products and systems making it an extremely rewarding place to work! For anyone interested in multidisciplinary projects across UX/UI design, system optimisation and coding it would be an opportunity hard to miss.


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