Digital service design for learning: ICCA

In early 2017, the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) asked Unthinkable to help it develop plans for an online service for barristers’ continuing professional development. ICCA’s ambition was to set global standards for the provision of advocacy training, through the development of an online proposition that will have genuine quality and impact.

We agreed with ICCA to conduct a swift process of consultation with some concrete outputs that would provide the focus and foundation to ensure that ICCA is fully equipped to proceed with key decisions and activities.

We conducted research with barristers across various areas of practice and levels of seniority, from pupils to QCs, through an online survey, a series of interviews and a workshop, to build a clear understanding of the context for the proposed service: barristers’ understanding of their own learning needs, but also their habits and timetables, their constraints and the culture and content of learning and development that already exists. Piecing this picture together, while working closely with ICCA to understand the nature of advocacy skills and how they might be organised into a curriculum, we were able to make some clear recommendations on vision, content and platform.

We began by articulating a clear mission statement and user proposition for the platform that ICCA planned to create. We then delivered a blueprint for the development of an online curriculum, building out from a core of pilot content to scale the application of a compelling format across all topics in a cost-effective way. We also assessed available platform technology before recommending the deployment of a specific platform, with a clear set of requirements around all relevant areas including content delivery, pedagogy, user identity and back end workflow. Our work also included a set of budget estimates for technology implementation, content development and service delivery.

The environment in which I work is complex and labyrinthine, and I have been thoroughly impressed by how quickly Unthinkable assimilated those complexities into their advisory work and how they developed an acute understanding of our business needs. Unthinkable bring a fresh perspective to what can sometimes feel like an ordeal. They have worked in a collaborative and organic way, with us, adapting to our changing needs and whims to enable us to make very sound decisions, rooted in accurate research. I have enjoyed working with Unthinkable immensely and feel completely confident following their advice. I cannot recommend them more highly.
Lynda Gibbs, Programme Director, ICCA

The picture at the top of this article is by Chensiyuan, CC BY-SA 3.0