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22 March 2023

From user-centred vision to trusted digital services partner: The story of Hippo


Hippo is a digital services partner that can support you in delivering the very best experiences for your users.

With a team of over 300 specialists, we deliver meaningful transformation by combining data-informed evidence, human-centred design and engineering to support organisations like yours to scale digital delivery and upskill internal teams.

Founded in 2016, we’ve done this for nearly a decade with some of the world’s fastest-growing and most recognisable organisations, each relying on us to drive their digital ambitions from concept to reality and beyond.

Located in offices throughout the UK, our expert teams – working across design, engineering and agile product – can support you every step of the way to deliver high-quality digital projects and the processes and people you’ll need to grow and sustain them.

Our story

From user-centred vision to trusted digital services partner. Hippo brings user-centred practices into complex, large-scale Agile deliveries.

At Hippo, we believe that delivering user-centric experiences in large-scale Agile projects is not just a matter of design but a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of delivery. This pragmatic approach was born from decades of experience of the forward-thinking co-founders Adam Lewis and Robert Coop.

It all started back in 2011 when Adam was leading the delivery for an NHS project and needed to appoint a partner with User Experience skills (amongst others) that would deliver not only wireframes and concepts but also lead significant aspects of the project to ensure that the user’s needs were always at the forefront. 

Unfortunately, he found that many User Experience companies were used to working in a way that required the hand-off of the delivery aspect to third-party engineering firms, which went against the principles of Agile delivery, which advocates integrated, multidisciplinary teams.

After failing to find that partner, Adam decided to build his own team, integrating capabilities from several suppliers. Rob was brought in to lead the Experience Design work. 

Fast forward to 2016, when they successfully delivered the Identity and Access Management service. The Government Digital Service released the Service Standard, mandating agile and user-centred design for all public-facing government projects. They both knew from there that what they could offer would be in massive demand, and they could do it better and with more transparency than a lot of other companies. And that was the birth of Hippo.

Today, we have built a reputation for delivering fresh and forward-thinking solutions that solve complex problems and bring value to our clients. We have deep and long-lasting relationships with many major organisations and brands, all based on the highly-skilled, highly-motivated specialists we bring to the table. We are more than just a consultancy. We are a trusted digital services partner that delivers real impact for our clients.

What’s in a name?

Rob and Adam were determined to find a name that was simple and memorable. 

Their goal was to create a brand that was easily recognisable and made a lasting impression on everyone who came into contact with it.

Hippo was Rob’s suggestion. Being connected to the iconic semiaquatic mammal gives us an immediate talking point, especially with all the hippo-related artwork around our offices. When people join us, they become a hippo and part of our herd, which reinforces our brand and makes us feel even more connected to our name.

While in real life, hippos have a reputation for being dangerous, they’re also tenacious, and once they start moving, they develop huge momentum. These are both qualities which we as a company have demonstrated over the last seven years of working on some of the biggest and most interesting projects across the public and private sectors.

Are you interested in joining the Hippo herd?


An image of a Hippo with the words Join the Hippo Herd