OpenIDEO Financial Longevity Challenge (2016)
OpenIDEO opened this challenge in September 2016 called "How might we create financial services that support the dreams and obligations of those 50 and older?" It aimed to improve financial services to cater people over 50 years old. The sponsors were CO-OP and Mastercard, so our product would have to cater mostly to credit union customers. Myself and three other NYU students participated as a service design team, as part of a 'Design Thinking' graduate course.
Service Designers: Sara Camnasio, Qyana Agina, Caner Ozcan, Nirja Shah
Design Mentor: Anne-Laure Fayard
We started researching by interviewing users and stakeholders: people between the ages of 50 and 90 and financial advisors. We also researched innovative ways in which other companies were catering to people who are 50 and older. We wrote up our research insights on the OpenIDEO platform. We also surveyed around 30 people that fit our demographic of interest about their financial habits.
The main insights from our research were that people who are 50 and older:
can be subdivided into two categories, based on their overall goals, hopes & dreams and financial habits: 50-70 and 71-90+
- unless they have worked in finance, they don't know much about financial jargon and the most effective ways to save money
- don't care too much about frills when it comes to service, it just needs to get them what they want, and quickly
- want to focus on family, unfulfilled dreams, and saving up to retire or for the next generation in their family
- care a lot about trust and personal connection when dealing with financial institutions
These insights informed the goals and guiding principles for our product, which were:
- Ease of Use
- Human interaction
- Community Building
We brainstormed for possible solutions based on these goals:
We came up with two prototypes to address the need for better financial services for people who are 50+.
1. HEADS UP
Let the bank run your errands
One of our ideas consisted of a service provided by a financial institution such as CO-OP which would make the in-person banking as well as online banking experience more personalized and accessible for everyone. It would be an added feature to an already existing banking app which would allow the customer to “check-in” online at a local branch before they run their errand. The feature would allow them to select the type of service they need to access so that when they go to the bank, even before they arrive at the teller window, the teller would already know what the customer needed and would be able to run the transaction much more quickly. If the customer, instead, went to an ATM machine, they would be able to punch in their security code or scan a QR code sent to their phones and access a personalized interface with the desired transaction already set-up for them. All they would have to do is hit “Done.”
2. Branch on Wheels
A semi-mobile solution
Based on our discussion with a physics professor, we realized an unmet need of the elderly: many 50+ customers are immobile and getting to the bank may not be feasible on a regular basis. Additionally, Credit Unions tend to have less branches than regular banks, thus making financial errands extremely inconvenient to run for customers.
For our second prototype, we focused on creating accessibility and convenience for our customers. We came up with “Branch on Wheels”, a mobile banking system that allows customers to have their financial errands delivered to their door or to their neighborhood.
Branded trucks would move around town at selected locations (e.g. supermarket parking lot) on a fixed schedule and in areas where there aren’t any credit union branches. The trucks would move to a different location every day of the week from Monday through Saturday, then repeat again on Mondays. These trucks would effectively act as bank branches, without the costs affiliated with a permanent location and with the added benefits of mobility and more convenience for the customers. The semi-mobile trucks could also act as a place of gathering for community organizations, or vice versa could “show up” at community events to promote certain services.
After getting feedback from the OpenIDEO moderators, we decided to go for prototype #2: Branch on Wheels. We created a paper prototype and presented it to OpenIDEO moderators in a Skype call.