Our story

Our story

When Helpful was formed in 2010, things were different.

Twitter was an in-crowd of 30m users, and only about a third of us had a smartphone. Elections were swung in TV debates, not by Facebook ads. Blogging was something niche and strange, not what leading journalists or chief executives would do to reach their audience.

A lot has changed in how we use technology ourselves, and the significance social media has driving the news agenda and spreading information.

But the beliefs which shaped Helpful in its early days are the same ones we work to today:

  1. Communicating online with confidence makes people and organisations more effective and resilient
  2. It’s a skill you can learn and practise, not something that should be left to experts
  3. You can do it well, without spending lots of money, if you have a clear purpose and are open to new ideas
  4. Getting practical experience and feedback is better than endlessly honing strategies and policies

Those beliefs are what powered our early digital projects, like hosting the online discussion which shaped the UK’s Government Digital Service or informed the pioneering Public Reading Stage for UK legislation.

They’re what supported the open source development of GovIntranet, which tens of thousands of civil servants and others use to get their jobs done more efficiently.

They carried us through some epic site redevelopments in WordPress, from the Antarctic to the Arctic.

Our passion for practical learning led us to develop Social Simulator, a world-leading platform which more than a quarter of FTSE100 firms and over fifty government agencies have used to stress-test their capability to respond to a crisis online and offline.

Working with teams to help them communicate better online is what lies behind some of the long-term relationships we’ve established with the tenants of the Canary Wharf estate, blogging ambassadors at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, or the staff of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

And our commitment to sharing skills has led us to coach thousands of people around the world in digital skills – from energy company executives and prison governors to charity press officers and customer service teams.

We’ve always been thinkers, builders and helpers – whether that’s developing a user-friendly website, running a social customer service workshop, or co-creating a digital roadmap. Having that mix of skills in one small team is what makes us truly special.

We listen and learn in order to get to the heart of what’s really happening, and offer what’s really needed, without being dogmatic about methodologies or products.

Our favourite clients and projects? Helping people to do important but sometimes low-profile work, in organisations that are adapting to the internet age.

Because now, like in 2010, we’re here to grow the capability of the people we work with, so they can use digital with confidence, for themselves.