Nationwide UK charity

Compassion at scale

We helped build the digital capability for a nationwide UK charity, demonstrating how to solve complex problems for people without human intervention.

Photograph of a person in motion blurred in front of a wall with posted storyboard sketches and notes.
"IF understood how to deliver effective and efficient services, that also benefit vulnerable consumers. The team used practical examples to help us understand the opportunities emerging technologies offer for transforming the way our services operate in the future."

[.quote-author]Director of Customer Journey[.quote-author]


Our client wanted to understand how to automate advice workflows, to increase capacity and drive down costs, without compromising their ethical standards. They knew that services that result in extractive, tiered or unfair experiences would simply not be ok.

Our job was to help the charity grow the capabilities for trustworthy use of technology and automation. At the time this was an approach that was fairly rare among charities. Ultimately we needed to demonstrate how digital advice could help them deliver services that were more resilient, adaptable, and accessible.
Alongside this, our client wanted use cases and examples to make the investment case for a Lab, a new part of the organisation that would research, prototype, launch and scale innovative propositions. Our work was also to inform their methodologies, and help leadership understand how that change could be embedded longer term across the organisation.

This was a series of projects completed over a one year period. We ran projects in a variety of policy areas including energy, welfare, debt and financial planning and immigration advice.

A photograph of a wall of pink post-it notes. Each post it note has insights from user research sessions. The post its are being sorted into categories.
Synthesis from user research sessions
“IF helped us to visualise how our services could be different. It helped us think big. It was one of those rare pieces of work that captured people's imaginations so that people kept referring back to it, even many months later.”

[.quote-author]Director of Policy and Advocacy[.quote-author]

Photograph of a person holding a paper prototype in the shape of a smartphone.
Testing with paper prototypes.

Our approach

Design research

We started understanding the context through site visits and design research. We created prompts, and eventually prototypes, to use within user research lab sessions to understand people's responses and ideas towards the use of automation within services. This gave us the insights we needed to develop more refined prototypes but also recommendations to the client. Members from our client team often joined our user research sessions, to help the team build muscles in consentful research practices. Throughout the research we were bringing to life people’s stories, helping the team hear how care, or a lack of care, transformed their ability to confront and solve their own problems.

"You very quickly got to grips with things that took the whole sector a few years to work out, and arrived at novel insights."

[.quote-author]Head of Money Advice[.quote-author]

Full stack design and development

We quickly connected our design research work into the proposed technical architecture alongside the needs of the policy team. From these ideas we developed higher fidelity prototypes that could help us tell a story to leadership teams internally.

Hand drawn diagram showing documents, forms, Saxford Building Society via an open banking API, Credito, Statutory report and freeform notes all as inputs.
Diagram of the different inputs that give information about a customer’s situation.

Capabilities for trust

We worked in close collaboration with our clients teams, including running codesign sessions and workshops to embed knowledge within the team. We were showing how user research, design, agile working and solving problems in experimental ways could help set the Lab team up for success. At the same time we were showing how to embed care into the technology, by creating strategic stories that landed in the hearts and minds of teams.

3 vector prototypes of mobile phones showing a debt advice service. Each screen is part of a user’s journey to getting more guidance online for their debt challenge.
Early stage prototyping of a fictional debt advice service.
“IF showed where automation could support specialists to have more time to spend on what they do best, and how this could be done in ways that are transparent and accountable. The team brought a deep understanding of how to show care through services that respect people’s emotional needs.”

[.quote-author]Head of Lab[.quote-author]

3 vector prototypes of mobile phones showing a service that helps people understand their energy bill. Each screen is part of a user’s journey to getting more guidance online about what to action from their bill.
Early stage prototyping of a fictional service that helps people understand their energy bill. No customer or live data was used.


The outcomes of this work remain confidential, however we can share that the Lab continues to run today using and growing the capabilities for trust that we helped to start. The belief that care and trust should be embedded within the product development process continues.

In 2023 digital advice helped to serve 1/5 of all requests for advice to the charity.

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Block quote

Ordered list

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3

Unordered list

  • Item A
  • Item B
  • Item C

Text link

Bold text




This is some text inside of a div block.

Get in touch

Looking to reduce risk in a product? Have an idea you want to realise?

Book a call  →