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Innovate to survive (or making banking fun)

Alex Christie

22 August 2008

Inspiration can come from many places. One of my personal favourites of late is the Technology Review published by MIT.
Many of the videos are centred on creativity, innovation, the processes that support them and some stories about successes.

I especially enjoyed “Bruce Sterling on Design”. Bruce discusses why so many technologies seem hostile. The discussion about humanising or making places into creative environments that are not traditionally “soft” is interesting and
is very applicable to the online environment.

With this in mind I started thinking — is it possible to make banking
or purchasing insurance enjoyable? fun? interesting? Would users even want
that on their banking site or when applying for insurance?
I think that if a customer has the choice between two interactions, that
are equally useful and easy to use, but one is more elegant and delights in an
unexpected way (perhaps using technology in an innovative way), then this will
be the preference. However, the latter choice will require these sorts
of organisations to support research, innovation and creativity to do it.


I came across the site http://smartypig.com which
is using trends in social media (e.g., see your friends savings goals) and
traditional e-commerce marketing ideas (gift cards) to target the younger market
and encourage them to save – and to save specifically with them.

You can get
the latest news on their blog, follow them on Twitter (and enter to win cash
prizes), become a fan on Facebook.

Locally, Virgin Money has started down this path, so it is seems that the old
traditional types will have to innovate (quickly!) if they want to stay



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