Design Thinking In Fintech

By Dr. Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes, USA,

MD MBA, Healthcare Executive, Futurist and Globalist


Prior to the onset of this global pandemic experts were already predicting an exponential adoption of digital technologies and were encouraging businesses across all industries to embrace innovation and engage in the digital transformation journey.

With the dramatic worldwide economic and workforce changes we have been experiencing as a consequence of this pandemic the predicted timeline has markedly accelerated and it has now become an imperative for companies to start or accelerate their digital transformation process and build an innovation pipeline. It is now considered critical to transform and innovate in order for to remain viable and/or to retain competitive advantage in a highly disrupted, digital and virtualized environment.

Resistance to Change
Even during favorable economic times, Innovation was often encountered by resistance and the road to a successful Digital Transformation was filled with many challenges, requiring a comprehensive strategy and disciplined deployment. Given the financial pressures and disruption in business operations due to the pandemic it is now even more difficult for companies to dedicate resources to innovation projects and to design, deploy and complete all the stages of digital transformation.

Why Fintech?
Fintech is one of the industries that has the potential to be a leader in forging the path to success in the post-pandemic era, as it had already embraced digitization and virtualization at a higher degree than other industries.  Certainly, there are numerous hurdles to overcome and pitfalls to avoid, however with a state of the art strategic plan and a design thinking approach it would be possible.

A Potential Solution?
The application of design thinking principles seems uniquely suited to an industry that has to continuously adapt not only to the rapid pace of innovative solutions entering the market, but also to the complex volatile post-pandemic economic environment.

There are 7 core Design Thinking stages: empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, selection, implementation, and feedback. They allow for increased speed of implementation, improved user satisfaction and cost savings. So how would a design thinking powered Fintech Playbook look like?
Change the Culture by shifting to a human-centered mindset, encourage creative confidence in all employees and the leadership team, express empathy for all stakeholders, and embrace uncertainty.
Complete an honest risk- and voice of the customer analysis to create an Environmental Resilience Map.
Encourage all stakeholders of the fintech ecosystems to brainstorm, ideate and submit their proposals in order to create a Viable Ideas Funnel.

Design, Build and Test Minimum Viable Live Prototypes or Pilots and schedule Playback sessions with key stakeholders within the fintech ecosystem to receive valuable Feedback.
Throughout this process it would be essential to maintain transparency and open communication with all employees as that will facilitate engagement, acceptance and successful deployment.
After these stages would be accomplished the focus would shift to crafting a state of the art implementation plan in order to ensure long term sustainability and sustain revenue generation.

As stated, design thinking is only one option in the portfolio available to business leaders. However due to the emphasis on user experience and outcomes defined by stakeholders, its ability to empower diverse teams within a complex fintech ecosystem and a process that encompasses an ongoing innovative loop it is this author’s opinion that design thinking should be considered as a methodology of choice during this crisis and beyond.

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