Working out loud is one of our Lab guiding principles and we are really keen to share both our colleagues work and their ideas. We are sharing the high-level themes which emerge from each session, rather than waiting for them to be worked up into something more substantial. Following the sessions, the next steps will be for Innovation and Insight to work up some solid test plans based on what we learned and we will, of course, be sharing more about those in due course.
The output from previous service design work formed the starting point.
Early work had determined with colleagues that all transactions (a transaction being defined as anything leading to a prescribed outcome) will be automated regardless of complexity. We will become paperless and communicate electronically except identified exceptions where the law states otherwise. Even then we will balance risk and challenge practice.
Importantly - The services that we design have to add value to our customers and make things easier for them. It is our default that outbound contact be delivered through series of alerts and apps rather than emails, but we want to keep our services as locally focused as possible - delivering services that focus on personal strengths and community connections.
Our localities approach will play a key role preparing customers for cashless transactions and helping them achieve a healthy financial life. The objective is to deliver a coaching approach that encourages customers to do more for themselves and each other.
During the workshop, we asked colleagues to choose a picture from a random selection of images in order to help us all visualise the important factors at play. We wanted to create some left brain / right brain inspirational pairings which could take us out of our current sphere of reference and help us start to think analogously about a problem.
During the conversation that followed, some key fundamental principles emerged and colleagues were keen for us to test ways to bring each principle to life:
In all, colleagues came up with sixteen high-level ideas which we boiled down into four main areas to focus on:
1. SWITCHING OFF CASH:
What would happen if we removed the option to pay in cash? How might this impact both positively and negatively on customers, and what could we do to support/overcome that?
A recent article published by Bloomberg Technology provides some interesting reading on this topic.
2. NEW TYPES OF PAYMENT / WAYS TO PAY:
Could we look beyond the direct debit and introduce a whole new set of payment options for customers? How could we introduce reciprocity and payment in kind? What might a service look like that rewarded customers for sharing skills or time to help other customers in their local community?
3. REWARDS & INCENTIVES:
Should we reward customers for not paying in cash? What might that look like?
4. TECHNICAL INNOVATION:
How can innovations like blockchain help us to move beyond direct debits and standing orders? Could we contact customers through the digital/social media channels they already use, rather than the ones we want them to use and can we accept payments through them?
Some of the 'wild ideas' included:
- What if Bromford set up their own online bank like Monzo? Would our customers benefit from using a service like ‘Bronzo’?
- What if a holographic assistant worked with you to help you manage your finances. What would it be like if a holographic David Beckham took your payments?
- What if we used Blockchain so that we could accept payments via cryptocurrency?
- What if we introduced payment in kind?
We will be working with colleagues in the coming weeks to look at developing some tests. A key priority will be around learning more about why some people still like to pay in cash, could we change behaviour if we introduced new technology/services like blockchain or Monzo and whilst the two main aspects of this question certainly aren't mutually exclusive, might it be useful to look at cashless transactions and encouraging a healthy financial life as two discrete pieces of work?
Watch this space.