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Smooth operations at Heathrow.

We helped BA derisk a £10m 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.

In order to speed-up decision making and minimise customer disruption, BA wanted to 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 all of BA’s data into a digestible format that could provide a high-level view of the airline’s entire operations. It required BA to understand how data was being interpreted across their whole organisation.


Involving the various stakeholders and departments at every opportunity allowed us to fully understand the context of their needs.

Matthew Jackson

Design Lead - Big Radical

Our first assignment

Big Radical were tasked to explore the question, how could BA reduce the time it took staff to make a decision from 15 minutes to five minutes? As the focus was operational, this helped to shape the direction for our user-focused and user-driven exploration.

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 it in order to understand their needs. We then 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. As ideas emerged, we began sketching and designing how this tool would work and the value.

The outcome was a proven business case and prototype for a data-driven dashboard displaying information from across BA’s operations. Our early work de-risked further investment by proving early on that the dashboard would do what it needed it to do.