Market Gravity helps Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank with innovation lab

17 May 2017 Consultancy.uk

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks has partnered with design consultancy Market Gravity to develop, implement and launch an experiential banking innovation lab on Kensington High Street – Studio B.

The London-based proposition design consulting firm worked with the Banks’ innovation team to launch what the partners call UK’s first design-driven banking innovation lab, open to the public. Studio B invites members of the public, squads of next generation innovators and talented young designers to come in and test, trial and provide feedback on new technology, develop new products and ideas and share insights on their banking behaviours.

Based on Kensington High Street, London, the lab encourages visitors to take part in short sprints to apply their perspective to challenges to create solutions to customer problems and work with and design technology to meet the needs of changing customer behaviour, in particular the next generation of banking customers. According to recent research from Accenture, the demands of younger generations such as the millennials is forcing banks to revamp the way they service their clients, with customer services and trust they key areas of concern for incumbent banks.

Studio B, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks

”We want to create the next generation of banking services delivered by the next generation of users. Studio B is our way of reaching out to identify the challenges within banking and to draw out creative and innovative ideas for solutions”, said Helen Page, Group Innovation and Marketing Director at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks.

In the studio, young design thinkers can work with senior level tech partners to in the short sprint cycles create new ideas and concepts. Among the innovative concepts that are set to be explored are voice recognition, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Internet of Things, blockchain and robotics. Applicants can apply to join the studio through social media, design blogs, and creative networks – yet participation is subject to successfully coming through an application process.

External support

The establishment of Studio B was led by Market Gravity, a London based consultancy specialised in design thinking and customer experience. The consulting firm, which also has offices in New York, Edinburgh and Toronto, has also been tapped to coordinate the execution phase of the project, which includes overseeing the sprints programmes and collaboration with the bank’s partners.

Commenting on the engagement, Nick Sherrard, a managing director at Market Gravity, said “It’s exciting to see the concept come to life and it’s great to work with such a forward–thinking team bringing disruption and innovation to the banking sector. Studio B will be a unique experience featuring retail, experiential and interactive activities with a programme of creative and informative events to engage with audiences.”

Page meanwhile added that she is looking forward to the insights which are expected to surface, stating, “We’re excited to see new solutions that fit into modern, and future, lifestyles brought to market very soon.”

According to recent research from Capgemini Consulting, Fahrenheit 212 and Altimeter, the popularity of dedicated innovation and design centres is on the rise globally.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.