After the flood Financial Disruption Workbook

Financial Disruption Workbook

“We need a hands-on training aid for global law enforcement.”


UK Foreign Office for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime

The Problem

How do you teach an extremely complex problem space has no clear entry point?

Our Solution

Intuitive forms that guide users through their workshops and clarify the work to be done

“We need a hands-on training aid for global law enforcement.”

We worked with the UK Foreign Office on behalf of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to create a workbook for use in the training of law enforcement officials across the world in countering illicit financial networks.

Financial disruption is the practice of targeting terrorists or criminal operational finances in order to disrupt their operations and organisations. This practice compliments other more traditional techniques such as surveillance and capture operations but is increasingly seen to be the best way to counter increasingly complex entities such as terrorist groups and organise crime organisations. The United Nations does not carry out operations as such. It facilitates and trains countries to bring everyone up to a better standard.

The United Nations does not carry out operations itself – it facilitates and trains countries to bring everyone up to a better standard. The workbook we designed is meant for government officials and law enforcement officers who are being trained in techniques of financial disruption. The trainees use these books to work through real-life exercises in workshops run by specialists from the United Nations. As a result, the structure of the books echoes that of the lessons, providing a space to test out ideas and methods with instructors. 


The workbook guides the user through help sections that are placed when and where new information is needed. These sections provide hints and tips along with examples of how to use the forms.

Help sections provide both further expalantion of the section’s purpose and examples of how to fill out the forms.

In addition to further information about the individual steps of the process, we introduced sketchbook pages at particularly complex points in the process to allow users to work out their ideas without committing to the final forms.


Much like building a digital tool, we prototyped all of the forms in the workbook, checking how they felt with a pen in hand. The daily workshop with hourly modules was the main context we had to support. Small differences in the page arrangement or the size of individual fields make a huge difference when trying to work your ideas out on paper, and with a robust set of content to work through, we wanted the process to be as easy to follow as possible.

The Design of a Framework

The careful design of forms for people to work out their ideas is related to but distinct from designing data visualisations. It is much like designing the field of play for sport – the ground upon which users can create a figure. The ground suggests what the space is for and how to engage, but leaves the user with room to think and answer the questions at hand.

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