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British Airways

Helping derisk a £10 million investment by proving a new data-driven system could help staff make better decisions.

For customers, travelling with British Airways is a smooth experience. However, behind the scenes, hundreds of operations must work seamlessly to ensure planes depart, fly and arrive at their destinations on time. From snow and ice, to resource shortages and knock-on delays, unforeseen complications can cause major disruptions to any airline.

The challenge

“How might we reduce the time it takes staff to make a decision from 15 minutes to five minutes?"

In order to speed up decision-making and minimise customer disruption, our task was to explore and create a one-stop source of information for every department across the Heathrow operation. This was no easy task and a large financial investment for the organisation. It meant consolidating multiple sources of data into a digestible format that could provide a high-level view of the airline’s entire operations. It required British Airways to understand how data was being interpreted across their whole organisation so that a solution could be adaptable and effective for multitudes of people, roles and needs.

The approach

We decided to bring design thinking to BA, to demonstrate a faster, more collaborative way to work.

We started the project by spending the first two weeks learning and building up a rich picture of the situation. We listened in on meetings, we wrote down all the acronyms that we didn't understand, and we reviewed the latest literature on decision-making processes.

We then questioned the people who would be using the solution to understand their needs. As ideas emerged, we began sketching and designing how this tool would work and the value it could bring.

The solution

We worked across five departments and numerous stakeholders, running workshops to identify the requirements of a dashboard to help improve decision points as a first initiative. The outcome was a proven business case and prototype for a data-driven dashboard displaying information from across British Airways' operations. Our early work de-risked further investment by proving early on that the dashboard would achieve the outcomes it needed to.

The work continued and resulted in a data-driven dashboard displaying information from across British Airways' operations. The dashboard shows high-level, operational information – almost in real-time – and presents complex data intuitively. Users can then go deeper into each department, accessing detailed information on airline performance.

scalable, multi-device, real-time service used for a strategic advantage against disruption within the aviation sector.

The outcome

The dashboard is now used by a variety of people in different contexts, from big screens in the control tower to customer attendants' iPads as they travel between terminals. It was built responsively, ensuring all data displays perfectly on whatever device it’s viewed on.

British Airways' staff can easily access the data they need at any time on the dashboard. This allows them to act fast and address disruptions as they arise, ensuring the smooth running of British Airways' operations and the provision of the highest level of service to their customers.

As a result of the engagement, we delivered an evidence-based business case for the platform requirements, to display information from across British Airways’ operations. 

Value creation through design thinking

We help leading organisations solve critical business problems effectively, by exploring and de-risking the bold moves necessary for businesses to grow.