As non-banks enter the financial services marketplace through innovative payment and banking offerings, it is vital for the financial services industry to establish design thinking and innovation as an underpinning of their business model to incentivize the customer loyalty necessary to regain competitive advantage in banking.
Christopher Whitlock, Vice President, Executive Creative Director at Fidelity Investments recently spoke with marcus evans about key topics to be discussed at their upcoming Design Thinking for Banking & Financial Services Conference, November 5-6, in New York, NY.
In your experience, what goes into unlocking the potential for design thinking throughout the organization?
CW: I think Design Thinking is most successful in converting believers when the scope of the exercise is clearly defined. “Improving the banking experience” is perhaps a little broad. “Improving the account opening experience” is easier to get your head around. When a team has a clear task or challenge you have the opportunity for having epiphany experiences. Greater adoption happens when bite size challenges yield incremental yet valuable innovations. Soon the appetite for using the methodology on larger projects grows. The other critical point is to have facilitators or trainers who are well versed in the practice to help the team along.
In what ways do you recommend a company should use the value of design thinking principles to enhance their culture?
CW: Design thinking is not just for innovating on a process or a product. Design thinking can be applied to bring about cultural change in an organization. You can use a design thinking exercise to figure out how to make meetings be more productive, to come up with a better seating plan, or how to improve the atmosphere of the office. All these have an effect on the culture of the organization.
In your experience, what do you find to be the biggest hurdle of this new way of thinking within organizations you have worked for?
CW: A program that espouses the merits of “Failing Fast" can put a few people off. It's not usually what one aspires to at work. Designers, writers , composers... creative types, we are used to having a wastebasket full of ideas that weren't going to go anywhere. It's a process and philosophy we embraced since childhood.
What do you look forward to gaining/learning from this conference?
CW: I find this is a great way to work. The Design Thinking community truly believes in the positive results you get from "Radical Collaboration." I see this as another opportunity to share and learn.
Chris has worked in digital UX design and marketing for over 25 years. He’s directed design on every technology platform from digital video-disk to the iPad, for consumer and B2B, with employers ranging from publishing companies to start-ups. Chris’s clients have included FedEX, Microsoft, Harcourt, and Mayo Clinic.
Chris is currently responsible for leading a team of creative directors at Fidelity Investments that define the look and feel for the user experience across multiple business units and platforms.
Over the last 5 years Chris has been part of Fidelity’s core design thinking practice. He has helped evangelize and institutionalize design thinking as a tool to improve user experience for customers as well as his staff.
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