CIBC – Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.


Service Designer Co-op.


4 months – May 6 - August 23, 2019.


Myself and 7 other multidisciplinary Service Designers from various backgrounds (anthropology, process engineering, behavioural economics, and graphic design, to name a few).


Joining the newly formed Service Design Team at CIBC, it was my job to be a collaborative team member throughout the Service Design process of ongoing projects, and to contribute to the continued growth of the Service Design practice within CIBC.

This included, but was not limited to:

  • supporting and conducting primary and secondary research
  • synthesizing data sources, deriving actionable insights and turning them into artifacts
  • conceptualizing, building, testing and refining iterative prototypes
  • turning findings and insights into artifacts that tell compelling stories
  • presenting these artifacts back to internal and external stakeholders
  • collaborating on the design, preparation and facilitation of workshops and Community of Practice

The feedback I received from the team and my direct managers was overwhelming positive, and I truly feel that I made a positive impact during my short four months at CIBC.

I’m particularly proud of the main project I worked on, as I played an integral part in the conceptualization, building and testing of the prototypes, and was one of the main actors in handing over our findings and insights to the team that was going to be building out the project.

The Process.



While I can't name or show the products and services, I will talk about our process and some of the methods we used throughout the project journey of the main project I worked on throughout my internship.​


Discover, Define, Develop & Deliver.

If we’re looking at the Double Diamond model, I joined the project team just after they finished the Discover phase and were going through the Define phase.

The team got me caught up on what they discovered, I hopped right into the Define phase with them.

Project Team

For this project, the team consisted of 8 people:

  • Myself, and three others from our Service Design Team
  • Two people from the department for which the project was for
  • Two Innovation Designers from The Moment.
Double Diamond Model – Source.


In my first two weeks, I was part of two co-creation workshops:

  1. one with only internal stakeholders
  2. one with  internal stakeholders & customers


Since I had just joined the team and was just getting familiar with the project, my role was to take notes, observe, and help facilitate and ask questions as I got more comfortable.

1 - Internal Stakeholders

We had multiple tables where internal stakeholders from different departments would choose random envelopes we had prepared with potential ideas in them. As facilitators, we would open the envelope, describe the solution to them, and discuss things like:

  • Who would be involved in implementing the idea?
  • How much would it cost?
  • How long would it take to develop and implement?
  • How much of an impact it would have?
Tool: Impact/Effort Matrix

We finished by having the internal stakeholders plot the idea on an impact/effort matrix. After the session was done, we plotted each idea card onto a larger impact/effort matrix for our project team to synthesize.


This tool was best for this situation as it allowed us to visualize all of the ideas in one place, and see which ideas the internal stakeholders thought would be least and most effective, and why.

We took a few of the ideas that had the highest impact and lowest effort, and we brought them to the co-creation sessions with current and potential customers.

Impact/Effort Matrix

2 - Customers & Internal Stakeholders

For this workshop, we recruited people that were either current or potential clients. We remained anonymous for the sake of clients remaining impartial.

Tool: Board-Game

Essentially, we created a board-game:

  1. Clients would create their ideal product from a list of possible features
  2. We presented additional potential services to them that could help them maximize the use of their designed product and asked if they would like them or not
  3. We used different scenario cards that we created, chose them at random, and we asked the clients how they would react to the random scenarios using the products and services they chose


We found this would be the best way to get honest feedback from the clients. Rather than just asking them, we wanted to put them in a real-world situation as best as we could and see:

  • How the client designed their perfect product, and why?
  • What additional services would they benefit from?
  • How would they actually respond to various scenarios, with the product they chose?

We ensured that internal stakeholders from CIBC were present to help takes notes and observe first-hand how the customers reacted throughout the process, and to receive their feedback after the session ended.


Synthesis, Narrow & Playback.

We took our notes from these sessions and synthesized all of the data as a team.

From there, we were able to narrow down 8 key opportunity areas that would help improve either the main product or the services involved, both on the front end and the back end.

Each of these opportunity areas would have taken too much investment to bring them all to fruition, so we needed to present our findings back to the product leaders and executives to let them decide which areas they’d like us to focus on and research further.

Tool: Gallery Walkthrough

To do this, we actually created a gallery walkthrough. We printed each of the 8 key opportunity ideas out as a larger posters that included:

  • The name of the opportunity area (or value proposition)
  • A brief description
  • Why it’s important to clients
  • Business outcomes
  • Validated concepts on how to action it

We gave each of the leaders and executives a clip-board and a sheet for each opportunity area that included:

  • A place to take notes
  • A scale to rate the idea (1-10)
  • A place to write what they liked and didn’t like
  • An impact/effort matrix for them to place the opportunity area in


Engagement. Rather than having a PowerPoint Presentation and hoping to keep all 8+ people in attendance interested, the gallery had each person actively engaging with and absorbing each opportunity area at their own pace, and each team member stood by to answer any questions they had.

This took the first half of the meeting, and the second half was reserved for a group discussion amongst the team and the leaders and executives where they advised us on where to go next.


Team Split, Research & Ideation.

The product leaders and executives chose two opportunity areas that they felt would provide the most value and would be most feasible regarding budget and timeline.  

To tackle both areas at once, our team of 8 divided and conquered – while four others worked on one area, myself and three others focused on an area that required a digital solution.

Tool: Competitive Research

We started with competitive research. We looked at what the industry leaders were doing, and we took note of what we liked, what we didn’t, and what key components we could learn from and adopt to suit our solution.

I printed out screenshots of the competitors, and posted them to a foam board. As a team, we all added our own sticky notes and discussed what we thought.


Since we were four people working together, this was the most effective way to have everyone engaged and on the same page.


Next we began ideating, focusing on what they key ideas and features we wanted to include in our prototypes for testing.

We split up and each hand-drew what we envisioned the potential solution could look, then we combined them into one solution that we wanted take into user testing.


Build Prototypes.

Tool: ADobe XD

Since I had experience designing screens and building clickable prototypes, I was given ownership of putting together the medium-fidelity prototypes that we would take into testing.

We knew our solution would be a digital one, but we weren't sure if it would be solely through a website or if a mobile app would be required as well. Given a limited budget and resources to actually develop a potential solution, we thought we’d focus on the website for the first round of testing to see if the solution could be implemented solely through that channel.




This allowed us to test with the most amount of users possible in the shortest amount of time.  

For those unfamiliar with the platform, we essentially created a test that shows users a screen and asks them to complete tasks, while asking them other questions while they do it. We upload our test to, fill out the criteria for the demographics we want to test with, and then it’s sent out for people to go through and test. The users record their screens and audio while they do it, and the final video is uploaded for us to watch and go through.

It only took about 24 hours to get 10-12 completed tests, all done in the background while we focused on other work – much faster than we could have recruited and tested on our own. We did this for 3 rounds of testing.

Synthesis, Refinement, Repeat (3 Rounds of Testing)

We split up the duties of going through the recorded tests and highlighting key quotes from users ( is amazing for this by the way – their platform facilitates this process incredibly well).

Tool: Affinity Diagram

From there, we came together to share our findings and synthesize the data, which we did by grouping quotes from the user testing together into common categories. I exported the quotes and notes from, printed them, cut them up, and we all participated in sticking them in groups on the boards.

Again, being four people working on the same thing, this was the best way for us all to remain engaged and on the same page.


Conclusion & Share-back/Handover

Turning our findings into artifacts that tell compelling stories

When it came to handing over our insights to the team that would be building out the digital version of our project, the team thought it would be a great opportunity for me to put my presenting skills to the test and lead the share-back, especially since I was the one in charge of building the designs.  

Tool: Slide Deck & Gallery Walkthrough

For the share-back and handover, we started by presenting a slide deck that gave a brief overview of the project, followed by a focus on each of our 11 key insights that the final project needed to consider. For each insight, we included:

  • A description
  • What it looked like in the prototype
  • Various quotes pulled from user testing from which we gathered the insights

We finished the meeting with another gallery walk through so they could discuss ideas and ask questions.


Since the previous gallery walkthrough we did with leaders and executives resulted in lots of collaboration, involvement and feedback from everyone in attendance, we did the same to present back our findings from UserTesting.

They were thrilled with our findings, and were immediately looking forward to making the changes as they saw the potential of what they would bring not only to our clients, but the business as well.  They are currently working on building it out, and I’m looking forward to the day I get to see it go live!

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