Prototyping the Wisdom Bank


A digital and interactive prototype that allowed pioneer groups to share knowledge and collaborate (which was subsequently awarded a £250,000 grant by the BIG Lottery).

Wisdom Bank


An online platform using digital tools to unleash human potential.

In 2011, Torfaen County Council’s Local Service Board launched a pilot programme to explore whether they could unleash the huge under-used potential of peoples’ wisdom.

Aware of our service design playground for developing digital and interactive services, we were invited by Torfaen’s technology partners Cisco to explore how pioneer groups might use video and communication to unlock their wisdom, communicate and mentor.

Through rapid prototyping with service users, we developed a customized ‘proof of concept’ website for Torfaen and Cisco – the “Wisdom Bank”. This digital bank enabled individuals to connect with others and exchange their wisdom through live video and chat.

Our real-time prototype helped the project team and pioneer groups to develop their understanding of how online interaction, especially the use of video over high-speed broadband connections, could add value in desirable and relevant ways.

Our pilot concentrated on mentoring by people with experience of career transition to those who are approaching or considering career changes. The prototype helped Cisco and Torfaen to assess the relevance of the Wisdom Bank for a range of difference use-cases.

Around 100 people participated. They engaged through user experiments, group sessions and wider consultations over a four-month period. The Wisdom Bank prototype enabled role-play and learning, and created an early feel for what could be possible.

Torfaen and Cisco concluded that the Wisdom Bank concept was relevant; and so did the BIG lottery, who subsequently awarded Torfaen a £250,000 grant to develop a full-scale application.