Design Thinking: The hottest new trend in banking

Most banks and credit unions don't usually take 'the human factor' into consideration when developing their products and services. But several financial institutions are starting to do just that, using proven business management strategies to foster greater creativity and innovation. It's called 'design thinking'.

Many who hear the expression “design thinking” mistakenly believe that it is all about aesthetics — something limited to “creative types” who specialize in graphic design. But that’s not the case. It doesn’t mean that aesthetics aren’t important, but a good-looking design that doesn’t meet consumer needs or solve consumers’ problems has no chance at success.

Rather than focusing solely on style, design thinking is about applying the principles of design to the way people interact with the world. It’s an iterative process in which you seek to understand the user, challenge your assumptions, and redefine problems in an attempt to identify alternative solutions that might not be instantly apparent using more conventional methods. Design thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom you’re designing products and services. It helps you observe and develop empathy with the target user.

This is the reverse of how banks and credit unions traditionally design products and services. Instead of focusing on the consumer experience, financial institutions tend to develop products to meet their own internal processes and operational efficiencies. They then tend to put a pretty wrapper on the product and call it a day.


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