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DWP applauds the value of techUK Innovation Den.

DWP applauds the value of techUK Innovation Den, with Xanalys down selected for Management Reporting challenge.

This blog was originally posted on the Department for Work and Pensions intranet, and refers to the ‘SMEs Transforming DWP Innovation Den’ which took place in August.

What is an Innovation Den? It is something that techUK have promoted with some of their members as a way of getting small and medium companies in front of a large IT user like DWP; where they can pitch new ideas and products to an audience they normally wouldn’t reach. Success would see a follow-up meeting that could lead to future work.

Background: A few months ago DWP were approached by techUK to look at the possibility of having an Innovation event. David Blair (Head of IT Design) takes up the story. “Having been approached and with an understanding of the concept we looked to DWP business colleagues to identify a few ideas that we could explore. After some discussions we came up with three problem areas to take forward – Assisted Digital, Complex Case Management and Management Reporting. We provided a brief description of the challenge areas which techUK then circulated to members who responded with a two page proposition.

[pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]We then did an internal sift of all the proposals and selected four companies for each challenge based on the level of innovation in the solution and potential benefit to the business.[/pullquote]

“On the day of the event each company was given 8 minutes to pitch their offering and then 12 minutes to answer questions from us. The panel from DWP consisted of Angela MacDonald and Dave Barrow from Operations, CTO Jon Ayre, Head IT Commercials Frank Tudor, Mark Bell from our Account Team and myself and Mike Ratcliffe from IT.”


  • The 1st challenge, Assisted Digital, was looking for solutions that are used to keep people using a digital service rather than drop out. Technologies such as Web Chat, Talk to an Agent and Intelligent Voice Self Service were amongst those offered.
  • The 2nd challenge was looking for innovation that would allow local managers and their teams to produce meaningful Operational and Analytical reports without the need for scarce technical knowledge or the need to access our full data warehouse. A variety of Data Analysis and Reporting tools and techniques were offered.
  • The 3rd challenge around Complex Case Management was looking for ideas to manage processes and cases in complex areas like Fraud and Complaints Management. We saw an Artificial Intelligence product and tools that allowed processes and tasks to be set up and modified without any programming skills or experience.

At the end of the three sessions we agreed that there were four companies, Celaton, Fivium, Xanalys and IEG4 that we would like to do some further work with. These sessions will be set up in the next few weeks.”All on the panel agreed that it was a very enjoyable and valuable day.

Angela MacDonald, DWP Operational Excellence Director, summed it up when she said, “We are constantly looking to improve the service we offer to our customers and to reduce our costs. The opportunity to get fresh input and see the ideas and innovation that small and medium sized companies could offer was fantastic. I am really looking forward to seeing how we can rapidly develop our service to customers with some of the people that we have talked to today.”

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