Learning from Customers: Human Center Design and Financial Inclusion

Human-centered design (HCD) is defined by IDEO.org as a process that starts with people you are designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs. For the last few years, HCD has been embraced by many industries as a creative approach to problem-solving. Even though, the adoption of this mindset in the social sector is quite new, more and more organizations working to tackle problems like poverty, gender equality or the lack of clean water, believe that the people who face those problems every day are the ones who hold the key to their answer.

In the financial inclusion area, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) has become a key actor and knowledge leader on the importance of learning from customers as an entry point for designing more effective products and financial services. In September the CGAP launched the Customer-Centric Guide – a web-based collection of toolkits and experiments aimed at facilitating the journey to customer centricity and to help financial service providers deliver products and services that better meet the needs of low-income customers.

The guide is divided into four main sections that follow the HCD distinct phases –Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver, which is commonly represented by the Double Diamond model designed by the Design Council:

  1. Why go Customer-Centric: Put customers at the center and move your organization toward long-term competitive advantage.
  2. Learn from Customers: Learn how to understand your customers’ behaviours, needs and wants and generate the insights you need to start delivering the right solutions.
  3. Develop Design Solutions: Build products and services with customers in mind. Once you draw insights from your customers, you can design for better adoption and use.
  4. Organize for Delivery: When customer insights drive strategy, products, and experiences, your organization can be fully customer-centric.

If you are interested to learn more and understand how HCD can help your organization to design and deliver effective financial services for low-income customers, have a look to CGAP toolkit here.

Furthermore, next year the SPTF Annual Meeting will be accompanied by the Learning Event entitled Customer Centricity: Enabling Financial Choices and Positive Outcomes for Low-Income Customers, an event jointly organized by SPTFCGAPDvara and LeapFrog Investments.

Both events will take place in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India, from 19 to 22 February 2018. You can already register at the SPTF website here.