The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) is the representative body of the four Inns of Court, the professional associations that represent all barristers in England and Wales. Michael Stevenson, a friend and some-time associate of Unthinkable, worked with COIC in autumn 2014 to advise the organisation on possibilities for using digital technology to strengthen the provision of advocacy education and training. Michael approached Unthinkable to carry out a swift and highly focused piece of research, and to offer a set of recommendations for possible platforms for the education and continuing professional development of barristers, focusing on the question of ‘buy, build or partner’ at various stages of the profession. We had just over a week to learn about the specific challenges of the profession, research the market and offer a clear set of evidence and recommendations back to COIC.

Fortunately, we were able to play in EdTech sector expertise that we have gained through our work with such clients as FutureLearn and GCU. We supplemented this by running a one-day workshop with Michael and COIC to establish a shared understanding of the problem space, and by carrying out some desk research and conversations with a range of educational platforms. At the end of the week, we delivered a feasibility study that included a survey of platform options, suggested approaches to content creation, and likely associated costs, features, risks and benefits. We also offered a proposed roadmap as a straw man for how these options might be combined in order to move COIC’s aspirations forward.

Our work gave Michael and COIC a clear sense of the potential of digital platforms to support their ambitions.

Unthinkable got quickly to the heart of the issues and laid out clear options and recommendations: exactly what was needed in a digestible and implementable form.
Michael Stevenson